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A generous gift, a perfect site

Maybe it’s the influence of “Harry Potter,” but the happy YMCA saga has some of the characteristics of a fairy tale. Good wishes (some would say miracles) just keep coming true.
The hard-working and inspired YMCA site selection committee announced some fabulous news last week when they disclosed that Dennis and Kathy Jenkins of Floyds Knobs, who own the Arc Weld welding supply business next to El Nopalito restaurant on Old S.R. 135 in north Corydon, gladly donated 15 acres of prime land for the YMCA location. It is an excellent and valuable site, close to Big Indian Creek, close to the Keller soccer fields, and close to town, with its water and sewer systems.
It was also free, thanks to the Jenkins’ good hearted, generous community spirit. Dennis Jenkins said frankly that his family has been blessed, and they want to give back. Wow. Wouldn’t you like to hear more of that from others in the community?
Doug Sellers, a member of the site selection committee, said at last week’s press conference-announcement, “During the whole process, we were praying God would guide us to the right site.” He said the committee kept getting “signs,” like a spectacular sunrise and the appearance of deer when they visited the Jenkins’ property. Hmm. Looks like prayer works.
Outside experts, brought in to evaluate several possible sites, said the Jenkins’ land was ideal; there was no rock problem and it had a great view, to boot. The Jenkins own other land nearby. We wonder if that land might be suitable for the Friends of Harrison County Youth baseball and softball fields, the location of which seems to be in limbo now. And wouldn’t it be nice if the Indian Creek Trail project could lead from Corydon along Big Indian Creek all the way to the YMCA, enabling youngsters and oldsters alike to walk or ride their bikes from the middle of town to the YMCA without having to deal with busy highways and heavy traffic? What a magnificent recreation center for all of Harrison County that could be!
The YMCA board, chaired by the capable Catherine Turcotte, has done a tremendous job from the outset, setting goals and going after $300,000 of seed money, which literally poured in in record time. Harrison County Community Foundation Executive Director Steve Gilliland said what a lot of people think: “It’s been a great project to watch from the start.” (The foundation helped the Y start an endowment fund.)
Now that the site has been established, the real work begins, raising $4 million to build a 35,000-square-foot facility that will include — have you bought your bathing suit and gym shorts yet? — a swimming pool, big warm-water therapy pool, gymnasium, weight room, indoor walking and jogging track, child care, maybe racquetball courts, and so on.
The Y hopes to break ground on the facility next summer and possibly open in the fall of 2003, and it will be a magnificent addition to our community.