09/29/04 — Family Y pays off mortgage on 20th anniversary

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Family Y pays off mortgage on 20th anniversary

By Bonnie Edwards
Published in News on September 29, 2004 1:59 PM

The Goldsboro Family Y celebrated its 20th anniversary Tuesday and burned the mortgage note.

Martha Bryan, a charter member 20 years ago, waited for her husband, Goldsboro City Council Member Jimmy Bryan, to arrive and ended up greeting the people as they came into the Y to attend the anniversary ceremony in the gym. The entourage filed past the fitness room full of people using the new exercise equipment.

The Y has had up to 8,000 members, Executive Director John Richards told the crowd of around 200 people.

John Richards and Ross Wilson

The Goldsboro Family Y's executive director, John Richards, left, and Ross Wilson, chairman of the board's Buildings and Grounds Committee, burn the note.

"In February, we paid off the last of our $1.2 million note," he said. "The Y owns itself now."

The Y went through some lean times between 1984 and 1992, he said.

Y Chairman Don Neal gave the invocation, and three past board chairmen spoke about the efforts to raise money to build the Y, which initially cost $3.5 million.

Dr. Allan Harvin was chairman before the Y existed. A lot of people helped make it happen, he said. They started by establishing a Y office in Berkeley Mall near JC Penney's and selling memberships. At least 10 people raised their hands when he asked who was a charter member.

Ben Strickland, who was chairman when the Y opened in September 1984, said, "We are so blessed to have this facility here."

Charlie Rouse, who was chairman in the mid-1990s, said people had thought they were crazy to build an Olympic-size swimming pool, "and they were partly right."

He said the 1983 fund-raising campaign was probably the first time more than $1 million was raised in Wayne County on a single project. The land was donated. Hundreds of people donated money. Five companies donated at least $100,000.

"Financial institutions are sometimes overlooked," he said. "But there were eight banks in Wayne County at the time, and all eight joined together to make a $2 million loan to the Y. The organization was two years old, and without their help, we would not be here today."

Times were lean. The board scaled back the original plan, which included the Olympic-size swimming pool, a suspended walk trail around the gym, wellness center and racket ball courts.

"Sometimes we didn't know if we could make the loan payment or not."

But membership grew. The programs grew. The loan kept getting smaller.

And Tuesday, it was gone.

Richards and Ross Wilson, who was chairman of the Building Committee, burned the note.

Wilson said Bob Darden and Chuck Ford were great at "gently coaxing people to donate. ... R.N. Rouse built it. I know they gave us a deal on this building. We couldn't have done this if not for them."

The Y's national field consultant at the time was Norman Joyner, who grew up in LaGrange and has since retired. He told the crowd there are 2,400 Ys all over the country, and the one in Goldsboro is one of the best in the United States. "I want you to give yourselves a big round of applause."

He said Richards is also one of the best directors in the country. The Goldsboro Y has one of the best staffs, and the group of volunteers at this Y is also one of the best.

Only three or four Ys in the United States have swimming pools the size of the one in Goldsboro, said Richards. "It's allowed us to develop programs people won't imagine."

Things got scary at times in the early days, said former chairman Harvin after the ceremony. He said he was very impressed with the turnout.