Mary Free Bed YMCA opens doors


West Michigan is now home to a “first-of-its-kind” YMCA.

The new Mary Free Bed YMCA in Cascade Township will be the first YMCA facility in the world to receive a Universal Design certification, which recognizes the “revolutionary” architecture of the building, specifically designed to equally serve all people, regardless of their abilities.

Universal Design (UD) is an approach to design that increases the potential for developing a better quality of life for a wide range of individuals. It is a design process that enables and empowers a diverse population by improving human performance, health and wellness, and social participation (Steinfeld and Maisel, 2012). It creates products, systems, and environments to be as usable as possible by as many people as possible regardless of age, ability or situation.