YMCA cuts ribbon on new local site
CENTREVILLE — For The Town of Centreville, it’s economic development. For Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot, it’s a standard for community values. And for Queen Anne’s County Sheriff Gary Hofmann, it’s a reason to get a gym membership when he finds the time.
On Monday, May 9, Franchot, elected officials from the state, county and the Town of Centreville and YMCA employees gathered at 123 Coursevall Dr. in Centreville for the official ribbon cutting of the Queen Anne’s County Family YMCA facility.
“We’ve been working on having a YMCA in Queen
Anne’s County for almost 11 years now, and it’s been a tremendous effort,” said Robbie Gill, CEO of the YMCA of the Chesapeake. “I just want to say thank you to everyone for making that happen.”
In July 2015, the county commissioners unanimously voted to donate property adjacent to Maryland Route 304 across the road from Queen Anne’s County High School to the YMCA of the Chesapeake. In a signed Memorandum of Understanding, the YMCA has 10 years to raise the needed funds, about $10 million, and build a facility on the property.
The ribbon cutting ceremony was to commemorate the YMCA operating its new gym, which will act as a springboard to future projects in the county. The YMCA purchased Commitment Fitness, and began operating the facility in December.
Gill said the facility will act as a “hub” so the nonprofit organization can begin programming and build support in the community. The next step is going to be creating its local board of advisors, he said, and once that is finalized to begin the “quiet phase” of its capital campaign. He said the public fundraising phase will begin in 2017.
“Queen Anne’s County is a community filled with philanthropic people who believe deeply in the community they live in,” Gill said. “So our goal I just to partner and collaborate with the city and the county and other not-for-profits, as we’re already doing ... and support our effort to build a facility that can make a bigger impact in the community. There’s a ton of needs in this county.”
Franchot was gracious about the invitation to “Robbie’s Empire,” as he called it, and said the success of Gill and the YMCA of the Chesapeake is in its customer service and in its values.
“What I love about the ‘Y’ is they have values, not just values of wellness and exercise and staying in shape, but they also have values about citizenship, responsibility, taking care of your neighbor — it’s the whole nine yards,” Franchot said. “I just want to thank the ‘Y’ nationally but here in Maryland, particularly the part of it that’s under Robbie’s control, for being such a benefit to the State of Maryland. It’s huge, and I’m confident that you’re going to continue to strengthen and enrich communities on the Shore and elsewhere in the years to come.”
Centreville Council President George “Smokey” Sigler read a proclamation congratulating the YMCA on its new facility as well as its future building in town. Sigler said he grew up in a town much the size of Centreville, and “we were dying on the vine” until the YMCA came and built a facility. “The YMCA came to our community, and we’re hoping that that’s going to happen here.”
Fellow Town Councilman Tim McCluskey said with a major focus throughout the county and in the town with economic development, the YMCA is going to “help build that economic engine” and thanked the organization for its investment.
For County Commissioner Robert Buckey this was a solution to a need in the community. Buckey said one of the issues he ran on while campaigning for office was the officials not using tax money to build a “Y.” Buckey said he felt there was a better way to solve this issue, so working with Gill, the commissioners and the town, “we were able to come up with a deal to where we just donate the land and no tax dollars. I think it was a win-win situation for all of us.”
Buckey said the Coursevall Drive building “was an excellent segue to their facility to be able to establish a base now.”
After the ribbon cutting and the presentation of proclamations, people toured the facility. Gill said it’s great to be in the new building and he is encouraged by the “great staff and wonderful volunteers” as well as how supportive the community has been on this endeavor.
Follow Mike Davis on Twitter: @mike_kibaytimes.
Centreville Councilmen Jim Beauchamp and Tim McCluskey, Register of Wills Laura Cook, Town Council President George “Smokey” Sigler, Maryland Comptroller Peter Franchot, YMCA Executive Director Miranda Reasoner, Sen. Steve Hershey, Queen Anne’s County Sheriff Gary Hofmann and County Commissioner Rober Buckey participate in the ribbon cutting for the Y’s renovated facility at 123 Coursevall Dr. in Centreville on Monday, May 9.