Grandview YMCA groundbreaking

Amy Passaretti / The Herald

From left, Millbrook Ward 5 councilmember Hal Hodge, Ward 1 couniclmember Olivia Venable, Millbrook city council president Michael Gay, Grandview YMCA director Bill Meyers, Millbrook Mayor Al Kelley and Ward 3 councilmember Jimmy Harris break ground Monday.

The Grandview YMCA was founded in the 1920s on 63 acres of land as a summer camp exclusively for girls. It now serves thousands of kids in the River Region, along with offering amenities to more than 1,000 adult members and is expanding to more effectively and efficiently serve the people in this area.

YMCA director Bill Meyers and with Millbrook city officials and community leaders broke ground on a significant construction project Monday evening. Grandview will build a new wellness space double its current size, create a new childcare center, add family changing areas and convert the current wellness space into a brand new exercise facility.

“We’re proud to continue the legacy that those Grandview girls established years ago. Today we’re here to celebrate something else, something big — something that will help us carry on this legacy for the next 100 years,” Meyers said. “Without facilities like this one and the ones we’re building, we could not carry out our mission in the community to put our Christian principals into practice and to build healthy spirits, minds and bodies for all.”

Millbrook Mayor Al Kelley recognized the energy and enthusiasm Meyers has for his work with the nonprofit and credited him for his tremendous job.

“We’re 110% in with this YMCA, and we’re about to do something you’d never thought you’d see in Millbrook, Alabama,” Kelley said. “This expansion itself will add more leisure activities. I always stress quality-of-life atmosphere and this is just another addition to the great things we have.”

Meyers said the expansion project is a collaborative effort with many hands in its making. Between the City of Millbrook, the Millbrook City Council, economic development, YMCA board members, Elmore County Commission and more, Grandview will continue to be a growing asset for the community.

“Quality of life is a pillar of economic development,” Elmore County Economic Development Authority executive director Cary Cox said. “The Grandview Y has always done a great job but this expansion takes it to another level.”

Meyers added, “We couldn’t have a great YMCA without a great city, and we’ve got a great city here in Millbrook led by some great people.”

Greater Montgomery YMCA president and CEO Gary Cobbs said a lot of work has been done behind the scenes to reach this special day.

When Meyers was hired 11 years ago, the board of directors already had a plan in place for expansion, according to board member Ellen Bush. They are excited to see their vision come to fruition a decade later.

“Bill is an incredible manager, and he’s always thinking about how to better the YMCA,” Bush said. “This is an exciting time.”

Currently, the Grandview YMCA serves youth and adults but the programs overlap. This expansion will allow both to function simultaneously, opening up more opportunities for families get involved.

The multi-use venue has undergone significant changes over the last six years. The commercial kitchen was renovated; 130 acres were added to the land; additional space was added for soccer; a new shooting sports area was created; a covered open-air pavilion overlooking the lake was built; and an unused swimming pool was converted into an amphitheater. The original town rec hall is being renovated as well for the kids to use.

“We want to make sure through this whole process, we give that back to the young people,” Cobbs said.

The YMCA and City of Millbrook proudly are moving onward and upward with plenty of development to further benefit residents.

“We have big plans for the future,” Kelley said. “You ain’t seen nothin’ yet.”