WILMINGTON, NC (WECT) - The YMCA of Southeastern North Carolina celebrated the grand opening of the Nir Family YMCA Sunday.
Hundreds gathered outside for a first glimpse at the long awaited project. Shannon Berg, the Operations Manager for the Nir Family YMCA said the public’s reaction to the new space has been overwhelming.
“Tears, lots of hugs, lots of handshakes, it’s been an amazing outpouring that our community has been here today. We’re so excited to open our doors after four years. This place has been a family for a lot of us and we’re just happy to be home,” Berg said.
Many city leaders attended the event, including Chair of the New Hanover County Commissioners, Jonathan Barfield. Barfield recalled many of his own memories at the Y, and even brought a picture with him to show the crowd.
"I’ve got a picture in my pocket here. It’s a picture of my 27-year-old daughter, when she was two-year-old. Taking swim lessons at the pool. That’s my connection with this place,” Barfieldd said.
Wilmington Mayor Bill Saffo recalled his own memories, including meeting new friends and playing basketball.
The event was to the public and will included a ribbon cutting ceremony followed by facility tours, equipment demonstrations, raffles, and more.
The $9.8 million renovation began in 2017 after the previous YMCA building was destroyed in a fire in Feb. 2015.
The project expanded the Y’s health and wellness areas, provide a designated youth wing for child and teen programs, and offer additional sports and recreational facilities including a gymnasium, racquetball courts and the new family pool.
“We have two heated pools and we have a splash pad so if the parents go from here they move into our splash pad. We have a youth wing. Our whole entire second floor is dedicated to wellness. We have a new YZone that has heart rate monitors and new technology to take you to the next level,” Berg said.