Brown YMCA pool opens for business

Published 12:14 am Sunday, June 21, 2009

Swimming and splashing was the scene at the Claude C. Brown YMCA on Saturday. The pool had its grand re-opening and children and parents alike took the chance to soak up some sun.

Yasmin McKinney, the YMCA director of Community Development, said two months ago children were nowhere in sight of the Brown YMCA pool.

“This has been a slow process,” said McKinney. “It was important for the pool to open to give kids a safe place to go and have programs available for them.”

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The Brown YMCA has undergone recent changes that include many repairs to the building.

Jerria Martin, a member of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Committee and Ms. Stillman 2009, said the building was in bad shape.

“It was just sad,” said Martin. “The pool was just dirty and there was even a turtle living in it.”

Martin along with McKinney and YMCA aquatics director Tara Essary saw potential in the building and the surrounding community. They sought help from the community and went to area radio station WBFZ to promote the happenings at the Brown YMCA.

“We care so much about our community,” said Essary. “ It feels so good to see our dream come true.”

Martin said the community around the Brown YMCA needed a place for children.

“Many of these kids don’t have transportation to get anywhere,” said Martin. “With the YMCA open they can just walk.”

Children 12-and-under enjoyed activities from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. At 2:30 p.m. the teens and young adults got their chance to spend some time in the pool.

McKinney also took the chance to honor Claude C. Brown with a rededication of his photo in the building and the presentation of a plaque in his honor.

“We want to honor the history of Claude Brown and we are planning to do a small museum of his life,” said McKinney. “I am trying to live out his legacy by servicing the community.”

Many volunteers took time to cook, paint faces and act as lifeguards for the pool area. Even DJ Tee from 105.3 offered to provide music for the children. There were also games and door prizes for the children.

“It just shows you it takes a whole community to make a difference,” said Martin. “The Brown YMCA went from death and now to life-its rebirth.”

There are many new things coming to the Brown YMCA. McKinney expects completion by June of next year. About twelve programs will be available to children to participate in within the next year. Some of these programs include dance, art, music and the YMCA Youth Achievers.

The YMCA pool will be open Monday through Friday during the summer. From 12 p.m.- 2 p.m. children ages 5- 14 will be able to access the pool and from 2:30 p.m. – 6 p.m. teens and adults 15 and up will have their turn. Monthly pool passes are available for $25.