Do the YMCA: Charlottesville site breaks ground—finally

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At the groundbreaking ceremony of the Brooks Family YMCA, 10 people responsible for bringing this project to life dug the first shovels into soon-YMCA soil. At the groundbreaking ceremony of the Brooks Family YMCA, 10 people responsible for bringing this project to life dug the first shovels into soon-YMCA soil.

The long-awaited Brooks Family YMCA will offer local families a fitness floor, elevated track, basketball gym and multiple pools—all coming to McIntire Park in the summer of 2017 at a cost of $18,744,384. Exactly half of that has been raised so far.

“You may have your door knocked upon soon,” Suzanne Jessup Brooks, vice president of Pepsi Cola Bottling and lead donor, said at the November 5 groundbreaking event at which 10 people, including herself, donned blue construction hard hats and ceremoniously dug shovels into future-YMCA soil. She and the rest of those working to bring a YMCA—one of 2,700 in the nation—to Charlottesville are hoping to raise nearly $6 million more.

The planning for this site began in 2006, when Charlottesville agreed to lease public park land to the Y for 40 years at $1 a year, and Brooks is happy that things are finally taking off.

“I don’t normally get weepy,” she said, “but I’m going to get weepy this time.”

After the ceremony, Katie Krueger, the daughter of YMCA Board Chair Kurt Krueger, shared similar sentiments.

“It’s been a long time coming,” she said. “He’s been working on it almost the span of my lifetime.” Krueger said the board has overcome many obstacles. “It’s great to see it finally materialize,” she added.

Amid murmurs from attendees about the YMCA being for families that can’t afford a membership to ACAC, which sued to stop the project, charts advertised available financial assistance for memberships. The proposed family rate at the Brooks Family YMCA is $77 per month, with an adult rate of $52, a senior rate of $46, a student rate of $38 and a youth rate of $24.

Acknowledging all the hard work that has gone into this project to which city and county have both contributed funding, Albemarle Board of Supervisors Chair Jane Dittmar said, ‘We know that the city and county, even together, could not have done this [alone].”

The public is invited to a community-wide celebration at McIntire Park from 5-7pm November 11 for free food, music and family fun including obstacle courses and hot-air balloon rides.