Columbus City Council made its first investment into the West Side Community Fund that supports West Columbus neighborhoods around the Hollywood Casino.
$125,000 will be used to support the Hilltop YMCA. Penn National Gaming, which runs the casino, said it matched the investment.
"We're proud to partner with Hollywood Casino to invest in the great neighborhood that surrounds it," Columbus mayor Michael Coleman said. "The Hilltop YMCA has been a valuable community resource on the West Side for more than half a century, and it is highly deserving of this first major investment."
The money helped the Hilltop YMCA expand its facilities including: new gym space, childcare area and rooms for health education and programs.
"A lot of people have talked about the west side as being a community in need," said Andrew Roberts, CEO of Central Ohio YMCA. "We're not the only solution, but we're happy to be here and offer our humble contribution to the quality of life."
Eventually, the city and casino hope to invest millions of dollars back into the community. They city wants the West Side Community Fund to hit $5 million within the next two years. The city and Penn National Gaming will split the cost to reach the goal.
Local business owner Benny Phillips said he's hoping for a spark that helps revitalize the West side.
"I know what businesses used to do here," he said. "I'd like to see it get back to that point again. And I think it can."