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Visualizing the YMCA

More than 100 people ventured into the brisk air Saturday morning to get an inside glimpse of the YMCA of Harrison County that’s under construction.
‘I heard very positive comments,’ said Catherine Turcotte, executive director of the Y. ‘They could actually visualize where things will be.’
The 49,000-square-foot building, off Old S.R. 135 in north Corydon, will have two indoor pools, a fitness center, two gymnasiums, locker rooms and classrooms.
Of course, everyone has their own interest in the building, so some reactions were more about the six-lane competition pool. Another person inquired about the walking track.
‘While the tour was a great event for the public, it was really great for our staff to hear how positive everyone was. It reminds us of why we’re doing this,’ Turcotte said.
The group behind the YMCA first met in August 2000 and has worked steadily to realize their dream of an indoor recreational center.
Although construction began about a year ago with a groundbreaking ceremony, the 21-member YMCA board has much to do.
‘We still need $400,000 to finish the building,’ Turcotte said. ‘I know we will achieve that goal. It’s a very small percentage of where we’ve come from.’
During the preconstruction phase, Harrison County YMCA board members visited several other facilities.
‘We were told that once we raised 80 percent of the funds we needed,’ Turcotte said, ‘that next 20 percent would be the easiest money to raise, once people could see the facility.’
The Y is on 15 acres donated in 2001 by Dennis and Kathy Jenkins of Floyds Knobs, owners of nearby Arc Weld.
South of that property is 44 acres the Y and Friends of Harrison County Youth hope will be the site of six baseball fields and eight soccer fields.
Keller Manufacturing Co. initially signed a 35-year lease with the Y and Friends for $1 in early 2002. But late this summer, following a change in top management at the Corydon-based furniture manufacturing company, as well as an announcement that the Corydon plant will close at the end of the year, Keller has decided it needs to sell the land.
The Y and Friends are hoping to purchase the property, but negotiations are suspended while those two groups get the site appraised. (Keller has completed its appraisal.)
Turcotte said there is still some confusion over the two separate projects underway: the YMCA facility, and the sports park complex where the ball fields are to be located.
‘Those 15 acres (donated by the Jenkins) are not in question,’ she said. ‘What we’re concerned about is the 44 acres owned by Keller. The Y and Friends are trying to save that project.’
Several thousands of dollars have already been spent to improve the property that has been used for many, many years by the Harrison County Youth Soccer Association and the Harrison County Ministerial Association for summer-league softball.
‘We have spent money on clearing, grading and seeding,’ Turcotte said. ‘We’re within a half-year of being ready to use those fields.’
As of yesterday, she said, there are ‘no visible sources’ of financial contribution for the sports park project.
Turcotte remains optimistic that they will work out an agreement with Keller. She believes the two projects were destined to be located there, together.
‘You come around the corner (off Old S.R. 135 at the entrance) and see all those green fields ‘ what an incredible miracle,’ she said. ‘It wasn’t any person’s grand scheme … It was God’s plan. It’s a gorgeous site.’
The 500 boys and girls served by the Friends of Harrison County Youth had their season at Rice Island, the long-time home of summer baseball and softball. Soccer games were played this year on property owned by Community of Hope Church of Nazarene, west of downtown Corydon.
Until the YMCA facility is complete ‘ possibly in July ‘ YMCA programs are being held at various locations in the county. A fitness center is located at 426 N. Capitol Ave. in Corydon.
‘We’re still continuing to do the best we can … servicing people,’ Turcotte said.
There currently are 358 membership units totaling over 800 members. ‘We have people joining every day,’ Turcotte said.
For more information about any YMCA-sponsored program or to make a donation to either the building project or the sports park project, call 734-0770.