1 small step for YMCA is 1 giant leap for small town

ymcaexteriorMuch of the time the Wells County YMCA has been under construction, I’d viewed it through the skeptical lens of a Metro Pass user:  There was no way this small town satellite was going to compare with the various ritzy facilities in Fort Wayne, especially once I heard they weren’t putting in an indoor track.

Happily, when I went to check it out on opening day Monday, I had my “hometown” lens in. That part of me was excited as a kid at Christmas. Even if you’re the last one on your block to finally get the latest cool new toy, when you finally unwrap it and get to try it out and it’s real and it’s all yours – well, that was the vibe going through the building yesterday.

The main workout room. Sorry for the blurry pic; I had my crappy cell phone camera. But if you really want to see what it looks like, go check it out for yourself!

The main workout room. Sorry for the blurry pic; I had my crappy cell phone camera. But if you really want to see what it looks like, go check it out for yourself!

I went for a run on a brand spanking new treadmill in a roomy, wide-open workout room that looks out over the parking lot and it was awesome to see so many people piling out of their vehicles. It was even better to run into people I might usually only see at the grocery store or Lowes or the funeral home, all of us walking around with huge grins on our faces, taking it all in. (Or maybe we were just buzzed on the paint fumes, which were especially potent in the twin gyms.)

There were enough gleaming spaces and corridors in this building that I wasn’t always sure where I was going. And despite what we’d heard, the pool is a completely reasonable size – 4 swimming lanes with a kids’ area, whirlpool and sauna. It’s a bit smaller than the one at the Y in southwest Fort Wayne, but not much. And it’s bigger than the pool at the downtown Y.

Ben and Colleen went later in the evening to do their thing, and both came back pleased as well. They were already talking about how next time they might follow up their workout with a swim or pickup basketball game.

And that’s the best part of all, I think: That this facility is such a great hangout for young people. I saw a bunch of teenagers from both Bluffton and Norwell streaming into the building, and not all of them were athletes. Not yet, anyway.

The paint fumes in the double-wide gym were still so strong I don't think I could've stayed in there for long. But it looks nice, especially with those windows.

The paint fumes in the double-wide gym were still so strong I don’t think I could’ve stayed in there for long. But it looks nice, especially with those windows.

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