BY SARAH STEPHENS, OWNER/EDITOR EAN
For the next 10 months or so, there is a new normal for members and visitors to the Grandview Family YMCA in Millbrook when it comes to parking, dropping off /picking up school kids for after-care, and sports events.
“With progress comes a little pain,” Executive Director Bill Myers said as he watched construction workers in the area of what will soon be the new Wellness Center.
Because of the construction, normal traffic patterns are changing for the YMCA. Rather than the main parking area members are used to, there is a new area. The former entrance into the main building is also closed off, and members will walk around to the back of the main building for a while to enter. A fence has been put around the entire construction area, with large “Entrance” signs pointing the way. But, still, there has been some confusion as this just began a few days ago.
When all is said and done, the new construction will double the size of the current YMCA main building. The old portion of the building that housed the lobby and weight room will become a large Child Watch area. There will also be an aerobics/group exercise area in the old portion.
The construction will move in two phases, the first the building of the new Wellness Center, with the renovations of the older building coming later.
“We are improving parking as well,” Myers said. “We also have put in a temporary sidewalk for walking to the new entrance for the next 10 months, that is behind the original building and the pool. What used to be the emergency exit is now the main entrance.”
With all of this activity, the challenge is to continue operating the YMCA as usual, including After Care, all sporting events, and member visits to use facilities.
“This summer we will still have 550 or so kids for the summer program,” Myers said.
Since the 1800s, the land where the YMCA is today has been a popular place for people who wanted to get out of the cities and relax. It was later a camp with cabins and activities. Today it is owned by the Grandview YMCA which has expanded the original 60 acres considerably. Many new activities have been added along the way, but also keeping the traditional ones in place.
The old, original Olympic sized pool is now the amphitheater. The pool was the first of its kind in the state, according to Myers’ knowledge. Water sports are a big part of the Grandview YMCA, with swimming pools, a zip line over one of the lakes, canoeing, fishing, swimming and more.
Membership is at an all time high, as well as the summer day camp program.
“The history of this property is quite unusual, and the fact we have so much land to use is a blessing,” Myers said.
In his office he has a couple of items he has acquired over time that focus on the history.
He received an old photo in the mail about five years ago, that shows a group of young people on the property from around 1926, the sender said. In the photo, third from left, is Helen Bly and it was sent to Myers by one of her family members. “I think this is the oldest photo we have of people actually on the property,” Myers said.
Also of interest is a 1957 copy of the Progressive Architect magazine which Myers’ father found on Ebay. It has multiple photos of some of the old cabins, which have since been razed, and information about the layout in 1957.
Myers moved to the Grandview YMCA in August of 2008. Today he lives on property with his family. He grew up in Mississippi and was a product of the YMCA program. His first job with the YMCA was in Hartsville, South Carolina and it was around that time he decided to make it his career.
He worked in Tuscaloosa with the YMCA, but now considers Millbrook his home. “I think it is a blessing to be in Millbrook. We have a great YMCA here, great historical buildings, and use of amazing property with two lakes, 190 acres. We still teach horsemanship, archery and get kids into the outdoors.”
Myers said that signups are happening now for various sports offered by the YMCA. For more information, visit their Facebook Page under Grandview Family YMCA.
If you are interested in joining the YMCA, don’t let the current construction scare you.
“It is going to be amazing when it is completed, we just have to get through the construction progress, but we are trying to make that as easy as possible for everyone,” Myers said. “Again, it is just the new normal that will take some getting used to, but it won’t last forever.”
For more information about the Grandview Family YMCA, their phone number is 334-290-9622. Visit their website at https://ymcamontgomery.org/locations/grandview-family-ymca/