Trees were cleared and the dimensions for a new YMCA were marked off with colored balloons, as residents, donors and local officials broke ground in small ceremony on Aversboro Road.
The Poole Family YMCA, named after Lonnie and Carol Poole, will be the first YMCA facility in Garner. It will be adjacent to White Deer Park.
Trish Philbrook, who works for the Wake County Public School System, and lives in the neighboring subdivision, said she was excited that a facility was being built in Garner.
“It’s going to give school kids a lot more options,” Philbrook said. “I think they will be able to host a lot of the programs that they were hosting at schools. It’ll just be a home for a lot of people as well as exercise and senior citizens and families.”
Her neighbor, Vicki Britt, a Wake County Sheriff’s deputy, said the same.
“The Y is known for helping keep families together,” Britt said. “The more you can do together the more you can bond. So we’re all about the Y.”
The campaign set out to raise $7 million from donors to build the Poole Family YMCA. The community raised $7.2 million. Construction on the facility will now begin.
“It honestly has been one of the most beautiful and blessed experiences of my life,” Melissa Oliver, former YMCA of Garner branch director, said about leading the charge to raise money. “The YMCA of Garner is much more than a building. It’s going to allow us to do so much.”
For years, Garner residents had asked for a YMCA facility. The nearest YMCA was on Hillsborough Street in Raleigh.
The roots of the YMCA of Garner date back to 1998 when the YMCA of the Triangle established a YMCA program center in Garner. Currently, the program center serves more than 1,100 children at 11 sites throughout the community.
Program leaders rely on local schools and community centers for the space to offer after-school, day camp, sports, teen and year-round track out programs.
The 30,000-square-foot facility will have a 4,500-square-foot wellness center, locker rooms, a nursery and children’s adventure area, an outdoor aquatics center, an indoor track, a gymnasium and group exercise studio and the capacity to serve 5,000 members from the Garner community.
Bruce Murray, the branch director for the YMCA of Garner, promised that the YMCA would belong to the community.
“We are really celebrating life-changing work and the power of possibilities,” Murray said told those in attendance. “In the times to come you will have an opportunity for adults to have a place to come meet and reach their health and wellness goals, children will learn to swim, families will enjoy fun and fellowship at the Poole Family YMCA.”
Today, the YMCA of the Triangle operates 16 facility branches in Wake, Chatham, Durham, Orange and Lee Counties.
The pool is expected to be finished by the spring of 2017. The facility will open after.