New YMCA opens in Brunswick

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BRUNSWICK — At 6 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 12, the new Brunswick branch of the Bath Area Family YMCA officially opened for business at 24 Venture Ave.

Located in the old gymnasium at the former Naval Air Station, the new facility houses renovated basketball and pickleball courts, yoga and aerobics rooms, and fully equipped weight and cardio rooms.

Tom Wright, co-founder of Brunswick-based nonprofit Seeds of Independence, purchased the building in September from the Midcoast Regional Redevelopment Authority for $550,000.

Renovation of the facility, which was flooded and overgrown, began before the property was officially purchased and took about 14 months, he said, with most work completed last August.

Wright said much of the scraping, cleaning, stripping and sanding was done by members of Seeds’ youth programs, and by recent graduates of Brunswick High School. They also pulled shrubs and saplings that had been growing around the building during the years it was ignored.

The majority of the painting, he added, was done by young women in Seed’s teen mother support group.

But over a year and about $1 million later, the space has been transformed into a modern recreational facility.

“We couldn’t have done this without (Wright’s) vision,” Bath Area Family YMCA Executive Director Sabrina Murphy said during a tour of the building Tuesday.

Murphy said the YMCA hopes to add 500 memberships in the facility’s opening weeks and months. Memberships range from $19-$38 a month for grade school and college students, and $38-$53 for seniors and adults.

The Y also offers family memberships and discounts for Brunswick Landing employees.

Hours are 6 a.m.-7 p.m. Monday through Thursday, and 6 a.m.-5 p.m. Fridays. Program schedules can be obtained at bathymca.org or by calling 443-4112.

As the end of the first day neared, four people stayed on playing pickleball – a game that’s sort of a mix between tennis and ping-pong – in the Y’s new gym.

The branch’s manager, Charlie Ault, watched from the sidelines, beaming.

Ault left a career of 32 years in banking and finance to head the new YMCA. He said he only took five days off between ending his job at Mechanic Savings Bank and starting at the Y.

“You just have to do what you love,” he said.

Outside, it was beginning to snow, and Ault had a long, slow drive back to his house in Damariscotta.

But, he said, “that doesn’t bother me at all.”

“I don’t have anyone calling me about loans,” he added.

Walter Wuthmann can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 100 or wwuthmann@theforecaster.net. Follow Walter on Twitter: @wwuthmann.

The Bath Area Family YMCA fully opened its new branch at 24 Venture Ave. in Brunswick Jan. 12.

YMCA members play pickleball Jan. 12 in the renovated gym of the new Brunswick branch of the Bath Area Family YMCA.

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Brunswick/Harpswell reporter for The Forecaster. Bowdoin College grad, San Francisco Bay Area native. Follow for municipal, school, community, and environmental news from the Midcoast.