The People's Tribune

Eastern Missouri YMCA Breaks Ground For Vandalia Facility To Come Next Year

A ground-breaking ceremony was held Thursday, Nov. 2 at the site of the new Eastern Missouri YMCA which was attended by many community stakeholders, members of the Van-Far and Community R-VI student councils, and other dignitaries including members of the Rual Morris Foundation.

The 18,000 square-foot facility is expected to cost about $1.6 million and is anticipated to be completed in eight months.

In 2009 the Rual Morris Foundation began looking for a new home for the Vandalia Library. The idea of a YMCA was added shortly thereafter. It was noted at the ceremony that a few good people with huge vision, incredible spirit, courage, and determination has made this endeavor possible.

The Foundation asked Felicity Goodpasture-Culwell to chair the fund-raising efforts to make the YMCA a reality.

“I’m not sure I knew what I was getting into, but would do it again in a heartbeat,” Goodpasture-Culwell stated on Thursday.

The Foundation has pledged a total of $650,000 for the project. The board presented the first installment on Thursday in the amount of $25,000. Goodpasture-Culwell pointed out to everyone that it is never too late to donate as well.

Presiding Commissioner of Audrain County Steve Hobbs said, “We see communities in Audrain County working together to make a better life. It is important to all of us for our health and social life. I can’t congratulate you enough for all the years of trying to make the project a reality.”

Vandalia Mayor Ralph Kuda addressed the crowd by saying he is really excited for the entire community on this momentous endeavor that is now a reality.

Roger Young, former Eastern District Commissioner and Rual Morris Foundation board member said, “Now, because of all the hard work, it will begin to show dividends to this community for years to come. Let us not forget to thank all the people of all ages, from all walks of life, from elementary school students, from businesses, to corporate agribusinesses for their donations and pledges.”

He added, “Today’s ground breaking is a tribune to the strength of Vandalia. It was a huge vision for Vandalia and with a lot of determination it is now a reality”

The Red Leg Loan of $800,000 was approved by the USDA through Consolidated Electric.

Lori Brandoe, director of the Mexico YMCA noted she was so impressed with the passion by the community for the project.

Pat Ryan, Mexico YMCA board chairman told the crowd, “I want this project to be what you want it to be.”

Throughout the ground-breaking ceremonies it was reiterated that the Eastern Missouri YMCA is for everyone.

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