Y building shows power of dreams aided by means

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By Dave Bell

“So, what do you think?”
That was the question posed by YMCA Board President Rick Myers to the crowd assembled Saturday at the dedication ceremony for the new building that houses the Family YMCA of Fayette County.
Spontaneous applause was their reaction to the unveiling of the $1.25 million, 16,952-square-foot facility.
More than 100 people attended the dedication ceremony, and dozens more participated in opening-day activities and took tours of the building. It was a good beginning for the facility – which has been in the works for nearly two decades.
It finally was made possible by a generous gift by the Old Capital Foundation, with funds from the estate of Hazel Simma-Kelly. The $1.5 million gift was matched with other donations from individuals and businesses to make the project happen. Approximately $300,000 of the Simma-Kelly monies will remain in an endowment fund, with the interest being available for the YMCA to use for needed projects.
The construction of the YMCA building is a milestone in itself, because of the cooperative effort that it represents. Many individuals, businesses and organizations have worked on the project that will enhance the quality of life in Vandalia and all of Fayette County. Having such a recreation center also will be a major factor in our ability to recruit businesses and families to our community.
But aside from the specific benefits it provides, the YMCA project serves as a model for the future. It assures us that big dreams can become reality when hard work joins hands with people with the financial resources needed to make things happen.
There are other projects in the community that also can happen. And there are others in the community with the means to help.
We applaud the generosity of Mrs. Simma-Kelly. Through her gifts, the Kaskaskia College Vandalia Campus and now the YMCA building have been built. And we're all enriched by them.