Macy Johnson, Charlie Villier, Carson Weeks, Dylan Ermel and Casey Weeks wait patiently to provide the shovel work for the groundbreaking ceremony for the Botetourt Family YMCA Tuesday morning at Daleville Town Center.
Photo by Ed McCoy

“It’s a great day,” John Alderson declared.

And with that declaration there were a lot of smiles, handshakes and pats on the back Tuesday morning when the Botetourt Family YMCA fund-raising committee and YMCA of Virginia’s Blue Ridge were joined by major supporters, Daleville Town Center officials, key business leaders and representatives of Botetourt County for a groundbreaking ceremony that officially starts the construction for the new YMCA.

Co-chairs Alderson and John Williamson III and a capital campaign committee of 11 other local civic and business people spearheaded the five-year, $10 million fund-raising drive to finance the new Botetourt Family YMCA that is being constructed at Daleville Town Center.

“The Botetourt Family YMCA will be a catalyst for the future of Botetourt County. It will make the community healthier, improve residents’ quality of life, build relationships, stimulate growth, strengthen families and provide a place for people to come together to experience life as a community,” Alderson said during his remarks in front of a gathering of more that 75 people.

The project will feature 45,000 square feet of premium health and wellness space that includes an eight-lane lap pool, a warm water recreation and therapy pool, state-of-the-art wellness equipment, three group exercise studios, a basketball gymnasium, a modern lobby with social gathering spaces and lots of space for kids and teens to learn and play.

“After five years of big dreams, hard work and incredible fundraising, construction has begun on the new Botetourt Family YMCA,” said Mark Johnson, President & CEO YMCA of Virginia’s Blue Ridge.

“We are here today because a great team of volunteers, donors and the community came together around one cause and one dream: to make Botetourt a better place,” said Johnson.

“Having a Y in our community will provide more opportunities for our children,” said John Busher, Superintendent of Botetourt County Public Schools. “The Y will be able to provide water safety instruction to second graders attending Botetourt County schools, a home pool for our high school swim teams, offer a safe place for teens to gather and will engage children in enrichment activities,” said Busher.

The new building was designed and will be constructed by two local companies, Balzer and Associates and G&H Contracting, and will take approximately 14 months to build.

The YMCA’s goal is to be open to the community by late December of 2018, Johnson said.

The YMCA recognized the top four donors for the project: Elbert H., Evelyn J. and Karen H. Waldron Charitable Foundation, Bill and Shireen Kirk, Chip Lawrence–The Lawrence Companies, and Botetourt County.

Other major donors are Appalachian Power, Bank of Botetourt, Arkay Packaging, The Bank of Fincastle, Daleville Town Center, Lanford Brothers Co. Inc., Carilion Clinic, Dynax America Corp. and the Rader Family– John (Jack) W. Rader Sr., Margaret Rader Webb and John W. Rader Jr.

Members of the capital campaign committee include Williamson, Alderson, Del. Terry Austin, Michelle Crook, Mary Ann Miller, Steve Clinton, Cal Johnson, John Rader, John Kilby, Andy Kelderhouse, Watts Steger, Mary Bess Smith and Tommy Moore.

Botetourt Board of Supervisors member Todd Dodson also presented the YMCA with the first check for $100,000 as part of the county’s $1 million commitment to the YMCA over 10 years.

Following the groundbreaking, the Foundation of the Roanoke Valley also presented a check for $50,000.

Johnson reminded the crowd that the funding campaign is still ongoing. The committee has raised $9.2 million of the $10 million goal.

A common theme of dedication to Botetourt citizens ran through the remarks.

Alderson called Botetourt a beautiful place. “For those who know best, they call Botetourt the Crowning Jewel of the Commonwealth,” he said. “But our greatest assets are the good people, the serious people” who care about this community.

The YMCA of Virginia’s Blue Ridge was founded in 1883 and includes Kirk Family YMCA, Salem Family YMCA, YMCA Express at Gainsboro, Rockbridge Family YMCA and Y After School. The YMCA focuses on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility in its mission throughout the Valley. For more information on the YMCA, visit www.ymcavbr.org.