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Developer donates land for new Y branch in Ashland

The MetroWest YMCA’s plans to build a new regional full-service branch took a major step forward when a local developer gifted land in Ashland for the facility.

Bob Gayner is donating a 12.5-acre site in a wooded area off Route 135, overlooking the Boston Marathon route, according to YMCA officials.

“We are very grateful to Bob Gayner for his tremendous generosity and to the town of Ashland for pulling the YMCA into the fabric of their community with open arms,” Rick MacPherson, MetroWest YMCA’s president and CEO, said in a statement.

He said the donation brings the organization one step closer to fulfilling a goal of providing a facility to meet the needs of the Ashland, Holliston, and Hopkinton region.


No time frame for the building project has yet been determined since considerable planning will be required before it can move forward, according to Peter Waisgerber, the Metrowest YMCA’s chief development officer.

“This site in the Ashland Rail Transit District couldn’t be more perfect for locating a new regional YMCA. It has easy access to Hopkinton, Holliston, and Framingham from Routes 9, 135, 495, the Mass Pike, and the [adjacent] MBTA Commuter Rail Station,” Gayner said in a statement. “My son was born and brought up in Framingham where we were Y members.”

The land donation came as the YMCA is launching a major renovation and expansion of its Framingham branch. The YMCA also maintains a family outdoor center in Hopkinton, and operates various programs throughout MetroWest.

John Laidler can be reached at