YMCA to open ‘with a BANG!’
The dream began with 18 people at the first planning session. Now, almost four years later, the number of people involved in building the YMCA of Harrison County has exploded into the thousands.
The YMCA in Corydon is set to open Saturday morning with a bang.
‘When we sat around that table … in August 2000, I don’t think any of us had a concept of what this whole YMCA movement would mean to us as individuals or as a community,’ said Catherine Turcotte, one of the trio who organized that first meeting. She is now the executive director of the Y. ‘We just started down the road in faith and took one step at a time.
‘And here we are.’
At the end of the day on June 15 ‘ the last day people could become charter members of the Y ‘ there were 2,487 members. Construction coordinator Jerry Collins won the employee contest by coming closest to what the actual number would be ‘ his guess was 2,460.
After establishing programs at various locations throughout the county and operating a fitness center in a rented building in Corydon, everything will be offered at one site ‘ 198 Jenkins Court NE in Corydon ‘ beginning Saturday.
The grand opening will run from 9 to 10:30 a.m. with a short program outside the 40,000-square-foot facility.
‘Instead of your traditional ribbon-cutting ceremony, we will have fireworks,’ Turcotte said. ‘We’re going to open with a bang.’
Speakers for the program include Jerry Reinhardt, president of the local Y board; Gordon Pendleton, chair of the Harrison County Community Foundation, and Mark Shireman, project designer/builder.
After the program, the Y will be open for use.
In fact, ‘Every room in the building will be in use when we open,’ said Turcotte. And it will be impressive. ‘There will be water aerobics and swimming going on, with a scuba diving demonstration in the deep end, basketball and volleyball games, aerobics in the multi-purpose room.
‘We want to show people the Y in use,’ she said.
The program will end in time for everyone to go down to Corydon town square for the Old Capitol Days’ parade at 11 a.m. Penny the Trolley will be available to shuttle people between the Y and downtown.
Following the resurrection of the old Sink or Swim (SOS) group in 2000, many meetings were held before the group decided in February 2001 to become a YMCA affiliate. Dennis and Kathy Jenkins of Floyds Knobs donated 15 acres for the YMCA site overlooking Big Indian Creek. A groundbreaking ceremony took place in November 2002, and last year the structure began to take shape.
‘When I think back over the adventure, I see so many people’s faces who helped along the way,’ Turcotte said. ‘God always sent the right person at the right time.’
To prepare for the opening, the fitness center on North Capitol Avenue closed Saturday at 4 p.m. so equipment could be moved to the new facility.
‘It’s a logistics nightmare,’ Turcotte said.
‘There will be a lot of new equipment,’ she added, including ‘a lot more free weights, more of everything, which will reduce the time people will have to wait to use equipment.’
‘This is a fantastic building,’ Collins said. ‘It will be easy to add on to … and I think this YMCA will expand within two years.
‘I love to see new people come in the building and hear their comments,’ he said. ‘They are always amazed. It will be exciting to see it grow.’
The YMCA hours are Monday through Friday, 5 a.m. to 9 p.m.; Saturday 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., and Sunday 1 to 5 p.m. Child-watch hours are Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to noon and 4 to 8 p.m., and on Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon.
Turcotte said the YMCA will be closed for Christmas and Easter.
The YMCA will employ at least 65 people; all but seven are part-time.
During the past week, Turcotte has been busy with last-minute details, taking care of things like getting the pool’s water temperature just right, having directional signs installed inside the facility, and setting up the child-watch room. ‘We’re down to the small details,’ she said.
She also had two other events to plan: Donor Night, on Thursday (Ken Gladish, CEO of the YMCA of the USA will be the keynote speaker), and Charter Member Day on Friday.
With feelings of amazement and nostalgia, Turcotte summed up what she’s feeling as the dream becomes a reality. ‘It has been the greatest privilege of my life to be a part of this whole process,’ she said.