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Fund-raising chairman Charlie Perkins admitted he was “a little bit nervous” when the Twin Pike Family YMCA started its final funding drive for a new aquatics center in July 2012.
On Monday, July 15, Perkins wasn’t nervous at all but was dancing during the YMCA’s announcement that a matching goal had been met to complete funding for the $3.85 million aquatic center.
“People put their money where their mouth is,” Perkins said. While Louisiana area residents did their share, donors from Pittsfield, Bowling Green and the far corners of both Pike Counties also made it a reality, he added.
Perkins said getting support from Bowling Green and other areas outside of Louisiana in the face of past rivalries was “truly what I’m most proud of.”
YMCA officials said the successful fund-raising effort from the twin counties should persuade residents from both sides of the river to utilize the facility even more, because they paid for it.
YMCA officials didn’t lose any time getting construction going, and turned over ceremonial spades of dirt at a ground breaking ceremony right after the announcement.
YMCA Executive Director Marsha Garrison said general contractor Black Construction of Atlas, Ill., will start soon in hopes of having a building shell up so that workers can labor inside this winter on it.
If all goes well with the weather, residents of both counties could be swimming in the new indoor pool by July 2014, Garrison said.
The aquatic center will feature a competition-sized indoor pool with a ramp entrance for the disabled. There will also be an elevated walking track around the inside of the new building that will overlook the pool.
They YMCA board and the architectural firm of Architechnics Inc. of Quincy, Ill,. have also planned two new wet dressing rooms for the pool. Plans also call for expansion of the lobby and the weight lifting-machines work out area.
In the mid-90s, Twin Pike Family YMCA co-founders Karen Stoeckley and Wende Henley were already thinking about an indoor pool.
That dream grew after the main building was erected and opened in May 2001. It became even bigger after the YMCA was added onto in latter part of the decade in phase two of its expansion program.
The third phase aquatic center got a major boost in December 2009, when an anonymous donor gave $1.4 million, with $180,000 earmarked the first three years for maintenance.
Since then, donations have come in the form of buildings and vehicles which were sold, large cash donations and small offerings from pocketbooks.
In July 2012, the YMCA board announced that it could land another $500,000 from the Mabee Foundation of Tulsa, Okla.
The foundation that funds Christian religious organizations, schools, hospitals and charities told the YMCA board that it would donate $500,00, but the Twin Pike community would have to raise $1.2 million from within by July 10, 2013.
That’s when Perkins’ team of fund raisers, YMCA board members, staff and regular members swung into action to make the match.
The goal was reached in recent weeks but the YMCA did not announce it right away, a problem of sorts for Garrision, who noted, “It’s pretty hard to keep a secret in Pike County,” and didn’t have to specify which one.
Although the fund-raising for the pool matching funds is officially over, about $10,000 is cash is still needed to offset in-kind donations of advertising and marketing services, Garrision said.
Other funds given toward the aquatic center will help pay for maintenance.
Those still wanting to donate can contact Garrison at 573-754-4497.