With rain in the forecast, all skies were clear as a gathering of community members, YMCA staff members and officials were on hand to officially begin a new era of the YMCA in the Cane Bay community. The Greater YMCA of Charleston, which includes the Cannon Street YMCA and the Berkeley County YMCA, will now add Cane Bay to its umbrella. The ceremony, held on June 2nd, was officiated by WCSC Live5News anchors Raphael James and Lisa Weismann. The organization’s Executive Director Paul Stoney was very delighted and emotional about the beginning of the building process that was over five years in the making. “The Cane Bay YMCA is located in a largely rural yet rapidly growing community of Berkeley County.
The Cane Bay YMCA will be uniquely suited to partner with the local and regional business communities as well as provide educational and recreational services for community residents ages infant to active older adults. Membership will be moderately priced and annual support campaigns will allow us to ensure community membership is accessible to all residents of the community,” stated Stoney. Steve Matthews who is a current member of the board of directors of the organization was joyous of the occasion. Matthews, a Charleston native, experienced the YMCA as a youth and is a product of its programs. “This is really great. After five years of laboring, negotiating and meeting with the officials from USDA and Berkeley County, we have come to celebrating a milestone in the history of the YMCA of Charleston. For those men who started it, they have given us the desire to continue and we are moving forward,” stated Matthews.
Among those on hand was interim state director (SC) Michelle Cardwell of the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA). “USDA had a huge role in the involvement with the funding of this project…the YMCA is definitely an organization that transforms lives and we’re looking forward to what this Y will do in the community. We [USDA] invested over $19 million in this project and we have two other Y’s that we are looking to develop applications for having done four so far,” stated Cardwell. Additional funding was provided by Crescom and Farmers and Merchants Banks bringing the project cost to $22 million. Stoney also shared that “One of the most important elements of the Cane Bay YMCA will be the Berkeley County library with state-of-the-art computers and other advanced technology for the entire community.
Cane Bay is currently the sixth fastest growing community in the United States of America and the fastest growing community in the state of South Carolina. Beginning mid 2018 the Cane Bay YMCA will impact the lives of thousands of Charleston area residents for many years to come.” The complex that will include a library via a partnership with the Berkeley County Library System and 25 meter swimming pool, making it the second public pool in Berkeley County.