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Ormond Beach Observer Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2013 6 years ago

YMCA hopes to expand facilities

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The city agreed to send a letter of support to help get ECHO funds to finance the plans.

BY WAYNE GRANT | STAFF WRITER

Larry Kowal, who lives in the Trails, said if they add swim lanes to the pool at the Ormond Beach YMCA, 500 Sterthaus Drive, “they would make a lot of people very happy.”

During busy times, it can be hard to find an open lane.

Kowal’s wish could be granted  next year, though, if the Volusia Flagler Family YMCA is successful in getting a Volusia County ECHO grant for improvements. Ormond Beach City Commission members voted Nov. 19 to send a letter of support to the ECHO board.

Teresa Rogers, president and CEO of Volusia Flagler YMCA, said the current pool has eight 25-yard lanes, and she wants to add four to six more, by enlarging the pool and making it into a rectangle instead of an L shape.

She said the work could be done next year if they receive the grant, which would be announced in the spring.

The YMCA also has big plans for the interior of the Ormond Beach facility, but the work can’t be done without ECHO funds, which are designed for environmental, cultural, historical or outdoor purposes.

For the interior improvements, Rogers said they are raising $300,000 from member donations and already have most of it from a benefactor who wishes to remain anonymous. The building will be reconfigured with the addition of a Wellness Center with stationary bikes, weights, treadmills and other cardio equipment.

“There is a lot of interest in that area,” she said. “Spinning is very popular.”

A family locker room will also be added. Space will be gained by making the youth locker rooms smaller.

Rogers said if they are able to enlarge the pool using ECHO money, they will open the pool to the non-members once a week.

The YMCA also asked the city to participate in youth swimming classes.

In a letter, Rogers asked the city to subsidize local first-graders in water safety lessons. She asked the city to pay $16 per child for five one-hour lessons at a maximum cost of $7,360.

“We hope the city will support us in our plan for teaching swimming,” she said. “There have been a number of drownings in Volusia County.”

The commission will consider the request next year when planning its budget.

Commissioner Troy Kent had a negative reaction to the idea of helping to pay for swimming lessons, however.

“I don’t like it,” he said. “What about second graders? What about other organizations? If the YMCA is so concerned, why don’t they do it out of the goodness of their hearts?”

Mayor Ed Kelley pointed out that the YMCA gave free personal training to all who signed up for the Mayor’s Health and Fitness Challenge.

“That was more than $7,000 in value,” he said.

The commission voted unanimously to send a letter of support to the ECHO board.

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