When the Segerstrom family decided several years ago to convert the last of Santa Ana's farmland into a residential community, it offered land to the YMCA for a facility.
This week, the developer family made good on its promise and signed over 2.5 acres to the organization.
About 80,000 people under the age of 18 live within two miles of the planned facility, which will be constructed at Alton Avenue and Raitt Street, officials estimate.
The $15-million facility will be part of a new Santa Ana community called Armstrong Ranch, named for owners of a farm that produced alfalfa, corn, tomatoes and lima beans.
In 1931, the Armstrongs sold the 90-acre property to the Segerstrom family, which bought adjacent parcels in 1936 and 1955.
The Segerstrom donation has been lauded by city officials because more youth facilities are needed in Santa Ana. The city's median age is 26, making its population one of the youngest for a city its size in the United States.
The new YMCA will include a rock-climbing and ropes course, a soccer arena, an aquatic center and a 32,000-square-foot community/fitness center.
"It is going to be a hopping place," said YMCA spokeswoman Libby Borgen. "We expect this to be a real draw in the community."
The value of the donation was not disclosed.
The gift signals the beginning of a campaign to raise money for construction, Borgen said. The YMCA will also establish an endowment to provide assistance to families.
Paul Freeman, director of the community and governmental relations for C.J. Segerstrom and Sons, said in a written statement:
"The Segerstrom family has long supported the mission of the YMCA and this was a great opportunity to help establish a new facility in Santa Ana, which has been in need of such a resource for some time."
The donation will be recognized during a program at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Presbyterian Church in Newport Beach.