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YMCA’s presence in Southern Pines and its services largely dependent on community response

By Stephanie Meador, posted 2 months ago
Photo courtesy of the YMCA

The town of Southern Pines is developing an area on Morganton Road, and eight of the 40 plus acres are designated for recreation. These eight acres will likely be the site of a brand new YMCA. 

The city council voted yes to deed that property over to the YMCA, and now there will be a period of time where community members can express their opinion on this. 

The YMCA is a nonprofit that depends on the support of the community. They need a successful fundraising campaign in Moore County in order to begin construction. 

Rick Houp, CEO of YMCA in the Sandhills, shared that the project will probably be around $15 million dollars, not including land improvements. 

Before YMCA begins building in Moore County, the organization will begin some of their programs within the community. Houp shared that in late spring they will be starting a food program to help feed children in the town of Southern Pines. Houp said they hope to offer childcare services as well in borrowed facilities through partnerships with churches and community rooms. Houp recognizes that there is a great need for affordable childcare, and the YMCA aims to do something about that. 

Houp speculates that if everything goes well, the building may be completed in about three years. However, the construction cannot begin until the funds have been raised. Houp shared that most of their fundraising comes through individual donors, with some coming from foundations or government. 

Once the YMCA has secured a site in Moore County, Houp explains that it will be easier to propose this expansion to potential donors and ask them for their support. 

This new YMCA will create jobs as well. They will have program staff  in the community, and they will also bring somebody in that has the experience of raising funds to help drive the capital campaign.

The facility’s design will be 65 percent your typical YMCA set up which includes an aquatics center, a health and wellness component and community meeting rooms. The other 35 percent will be built to accommodate the needs of the community which will be determined by responses to a survey. 

“The 35 percent becomes whatever the community says ‘This is what we need.’ So that can be anything from classrooms, it can be full day preschool, it can be a full time childcare center, it can be health and wellness programs that work with diabetes prevention, with arthritis, with cancer survivor groups, with fall prevention…” shared Houp. 

This survey will come available this summer and people will be able to respond either via a printer version that gets sent out or by submitting a response online. Houp shared that they hope to have the results of the survey tabulated by the end of August 2023. 

Houp says it is likely that the financial campaign will be kicked off in the fall following the collection of these community responses as they will help build out the unique story of how the Southern Pines YMCA will be able to serve the community. 

Additionally, with Moore County being the home of many service members and retired service members, Houp explained that the wellness facility will likely be designed with specialized, accessible equipment similar to the YMCA located in Harnett County. 

Once the property is deeded in the name of the YMCA they will have control of the project and will be able to start on a lot more of the nitty gritty. 

“The YMCA is looking forward to a bigger and brighter future to expand its service mission to the communities,” concluded Houp. 

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