Excitement was in the air Monday as members of the community awaited the official groundbreaking of the new Wade Walker YMCA, a project estimated to cost $20 million.
The 60,000 square foot facility will feature two pools - an indoor and an outdoor pool - as well as childcare and youth development centers, an indoor track, aerobic studio, a health and wellness center, and multi-purpose rooms for senior citizens.
Monday's groundbreaking ceremony was attended by several DeKalb County government officials, including District 4 Commissioner Sharon Barnes Sutton and Super District 7 Commissioner Stan Watson, who were directly involved in developing the vision for the facility. CEO Burrell Ellis also attended.
“This project is so important to the quality of life for our residents. Health and well-being are very important to building sustainable communities,” Barnes-Sutton said. “Also, I want people to come to DeKalb and see what we have to offer."
The new YMCA will be "a collaborative venture between DeKalb County and the YMCA,” said Eston Hood, Chief Operations Officer for the Metro-Atlanta YMCA.
The Bransby Outdoor YMCA at Rock Chapel will become a department of the Wade Walker facility, Hood said.
“This will be the first indoor pool in our community”, said Larry Johnson, DeKalb’s Third District Commissioner.
“This is a public/private partnership and this [collaboration] will lead us to bigger and better partnerships” Johnson said. The project is expected to cost $20 million dollars, he said.
DeKalb County CEO Burrell Ellis attended the groundbreaking ceremony and took a few moments to address the audience.
“Wade Walker Park sits on 175 acres of land and is the largest of our parks and recreation facilities in DeKalb County," Ellis said. “This was really a collaborative effort to do something really special."
“This time next year we hope to be cutting a ribbon [and] give the citizens what they want," continued Ellis. Ellis said that the facility will take 14 months to complete and is scheduled to open June 2012.
“We wanted to bring more to this end of the county,” said Corey Wilson, a board member of the South DeKalb YMCA.
Although there were only a few community members in attendance for the groundbreaking, those present said they were excited.
“It makes things a lot easier and it will be more convenient. It is an excellent location for me,” said Trenette Shumake, mother of two and a resident of the area.
The Potts Construction Company will be the general contractors for the project.
“Construction is due to start immediately," said Chris Webb, project manager for the venture.