YMCA celebrates 10 years

Bart Pullum remembers a time in the late 1990s when the YMCA in Navarre didn’t have a place to call home, save for a storefront location used only for office space.

Swim lessons took place in a pool in someone’s backyard, basketball games were played in school gyms and the parking lot at Navarre Park was used for roller hockey.

“There were no resources to build a YMCA here. We had to improvise,” Pullum said. “We had to scrape things together to provide services.”

A lot has changed since then.

The Betty J. Pullum YMCA, which opened in 2006, now sits proudly on Pawnee Drive in Navarre. The 15,000-square-foot facility which cost $3 million to build features a pool, a fitness area and a gymnasium and its membership numbers have spilled well past 4,000.

The YMCA is named after Pullum’s grandmother. His family was instrumental in getting the ball rolling with the YMCA, with his family’s foundation kicking off the fundraising campaign by donating $1 million to help fund the facility. The family also donated the land where the YMCA now stands.

Around $1.8 million was raised through a variety of fundraising events. A total of $1.2 million was borrowed to help pay for the cost of building it.

“We went into it with the attitude that no matter what, we were going to get this thing built,” Pullum said. “The Navarre community really stepped up and it’s through their generosity that we were able to build it.”

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