YMCA breaks ground for new building
The weather was miserable Monday at midday, as various Island dignitaries gathered on a newly graded lot next to the Martha's Vineyard Arena for the ceremonial groundbreaking for the new YMCA facility. Board members, staffers, town officials, and others shivered as they huddled under a small tent, marginally protected from the rain.
But spirits were bright, and optimism off the charts, as many who toiled to plan and raise money for the new building grabbed shovels in anticipation of turning over the first ceremonial spade of dirt. It took a lot of people to get to the moment. There were enough hard hats. There was a shortage of shovels.
Chuck Hughes, president of the YMCA board of directors, asked the assembled crowd, "Don't you like the liquid sunshine?"
"This is a building," said Mr. Hughes. "All we're going to do is start the bricks. It's the people and programs that are going to make the building what it is intended to be."
School superintendent James Weiss used characteristic good humor to illustrate how much Martha's Vineyard Regional High School students are anticipating the competition length pool and connecting family pool planned for the new aquatic center. "We look forward to the first starter's pistol for our swim team," he said to a hearty round of hometown cheers. "We look forward to the day when our students can say 'we live on an Island, and we can swim off if we have to.'"
The YMCA is leasing its five-acre site from the regional high school. In lieu of rent, the high school will receive 356 pool hours per year. At an estimated cost of $175 per pool hour, the rent amounts to a total of $62,300 annually.
"The 'Y' will not just be a neighbor to Oak Bluffs," said town selectman Duncan Ross, "but a neighbor to the Island community."
State Senator Robert O'Leary, State Representative Tim Madden, and Congressman William Delahunt sent good wishes through Martha's Vineyard legislative liaison Nell Coogan.
"You have reached this milestone through shear determination and hard work," wrote Rep. Delahunt in a letter of congratulation. "Be proud of this moment, you've earned it."