• 73°

YMCA clean-up day is Saturday

SELMA — Yasmin McKinney addressed the Selma City Council looking for help, and got the enthusiastic support of Dr. Monica Newton.

Newton, Ward 3 City Council member, has organized a clean-up day Saturday at Brown YMCA where McKinney is executive director.

At least 15 volunteers are committed to improving the facility, but much of the work the building needs requires a professional touch.

“I’m really worried because it opens for the summer in two weeks,” Newton said. “We’re going to arrange people into a cleaning team, a decorating team and a painting team to try to make it suitable for the kids, but I honestly don’t know how much we’re going to be able to do. If nothing else, this will help raise awareness about what the Y needs.”

Newton said the YMCA has just one functioning bathroom each for boys and girls and neither is fully operational.

Brown YMCA got a $20,000 estimate for bathroom work alone, but the facility still needs work done to the roof.

“We’re looking at replacing ceiling tiles, but that isn’t going to do much good if you don’t fix the leak,” Newton said. “They probably need about $50,000 to $100,000 to get going.”

The YMCA is planning a computer lab and classes in reading, math and health, but does not have the space for them to be held.

“I feel it’s important for the kids to have somewhere to go,” McKinney said. “We don’t want a lot of kids on the street and the building needs to be up to par to do that.”

Currently the rooms downstairs have suffered water damage from a leaking roof and dozens of ceiling tiles will need to be replaced.

“We had to shuffle everything around because of the roof,” McKinney said. “It is imperative we get this done. Summer camp opens June 7 and we will have about 150 to 200 kids a day coming in and out.”

Because of the leaking roof, a large upstairs room is the only one left to house the computer lab, but it does not have air conditioning.

The YMCA also needs toilets fixed or replaced, showers fixed and sinks repaired among other things.

Brown YMCA is also taking donations of items such as books, bookshelves, board games, tables, chairs and exercise equipment.

The volunteers will be working Saturday from 8:30 a.m. to noon and Newton said the community should be involved to help get the YMCA back in shape.

“I was really moved by Yasmin coming to speak to the Council,” Newton said. “Not being from Selma, I didn’t understand about Brown YMCA, but we have an incredible resource sitting here.”