Y seeks county’s support for new facility
Representatives from the Mathews Family YMCA, speaking at Tuesday’s Mathews County Board of Supervisors meeting, outlined plans for a new facility at Hudgins that would not only serve as a sports, wellness and activities center, but would also provide an emergency shelter for the county. They asked that the county support the project with a contribution of $300,000 over a two- to-five-year period.
Project chairman Dick Phillips outlined the YMCA’s growth since its inception in 2002, pointing out that it now serves approximately 11 percent of the county’s population and that it has a policy of “membership for all” that enables those on a lower income scale to participate.
With 27 percent of the county in the over-65 age range, the Y “is improving the quality of lives of seniors to a great extent,” said Phillips. For children, the Y instills values “you taught your kids … of teamwork, social responsibility, respect,” he said.
Buzz Buzby gave a brief history of the current project that included identifying a site on Cricket Hill Road behind Donk’s Theater, working on permits with the Army Corps of Engineers and the Virginia Department of Transportation, and raising $1.35 million for the building in just eight months. He said that YMCA state headquarters in Richmond had provided a shared challenge grant of $300,000 for both Mathews and Middlesex.
The new 13,000-square-foot facility will house a wellness center, child watch, multipurpose room, meeting rooms, a Sentara rehab facility, and possibly a doctor’s office, said Buzby, adding, “It will be a major facility—something the county can be proud of.”
While everyone is asking about a swimming pool, said Buzby, the quickest way to get one would be to build the facility for oversight. The plan is to build an outdoor pool that can eventually be enclosed, he said.
Phillips said that building upgrades would allow the facility to be elevated above the flood plain and sustain a Category 2 hurricane with winds over 110 miles per hour. Buzby said that the Virginia Department of Emergency Management would provide $126,000 to help pay for the upgrades. If the Y could get $37,500 this year, he said, it could work on the site and raise it 12 to 13 feet above sea level.
YMCA branch executive director Sheila Pillath said she’s proud that the Y is “open to all” and that over 900 people had received some help with funds for participation last year. The summer camp program, which was first offered for three to four weeks, has grown to eight weeks, she said, and the weekend Snack Pack program is keeping children from going hungry.
“A building will allow us to do so much more,” she said.