The opening of the new Monett YMCA

Friday, February 22, 2013

The opening of the new Monett YMCA last week marks the culmination of a capital campaign that raised an astounding $10.2 million to build a state-of-art facility that rivals any of its big city counterparts. The facility is a tangible example of the generosity of this community's businesses, industries and individuals and is a testament to what can be accomplished when groups come together for a common cause.

A new YMCA benefits the health and wellness of the community by offering exercise programs for people of all ages. In the new Y, the exercise options are endless. There is an indoor competitive swimming pool, a three-story rock climbing wall, an indoor basketball court with elevated track, 38 cardio machines, two racquetball courts and three group exercise rooms. The soaring ceilings and bright tile work throughout the new Y combined with the walls of windows that provide scenic views of South Park entice people inside and make the interior of the massive building an inviting place to work out and socialize.

In addition, the facility was designed to provide community gathering space for small and large groups, which is a much needed resource. Already, school groups are booking the facility for after-prom activities, and the kids indoor play area and game room are certain to become favorite birthday party destinations.

The generosity of the Ginny and Chris Fuldner family in providing the funding for an indoor aquatic center is unparalleled. Their gift will take the already successful Monett WaterThrashers to a new level. Young swimmers will have the opportunity to practice and compete all year round, and Monett High School will be able to add swimming as a school sport, offering youngsters an opportunity to be involved in another athletic endeavor with the potential for college scholarships.

The indoor pool will not be limited to competitive swimming activities. Instead, the pool was designed to accommodate recreational activities like water basketball and volleyball and will be used as a site for water aerobics, which is especially appealing to older athletes looking for a challenging exercise that's easier on their joints.

Almost every aspect of the new YMCA, from the membership fee structure to the wide variety of programming, is designed to appeal to every segment of the local population. No one will be denied access to the Y, and this facility was created to meet the needs of people of all ages, income levels and cultures.

A YMCA like the one built in Monett is also an indicator of community vitality. When businesses or industries or families are looking for incentives to move to a new city, they typically look at quality of schools, access to healthcare, work opportunities and recreational outlets. The caliber of the new YMCA puts Monett in a category that sets our community above others in the area. The YMCA is a catalyst for economic growth and is another sign of Monett's progressive spirit and its strong emphasis on community.

We commend members of the local YMCA Board, the Monett YMCA Capital Campaign Committee and Gordon Brown, local YMCA executive director, for their diligence and commitment. All of your hardwork has paid off, and area residents are benefiting from your efforts. Monett is now home to one of the very best recreational facilities in the Four-State area and beyond.