Spurlino Family YMCA breaks ground on phase two

ILLUSTRATION COURTESY OF TAMPA YMCA
The second phase of the Spurlino Family YMCA on Big Bend Road will include a full aquatic center where families can enjoy pool time and youngsters can learn to swim.

By YVETTE C. HAMMETT

The Y started getting calls from residents of South Shore back in 2008, wondering when their fast-growing community would be getting their own workout space, aquatic center and ball fields.

They got some recreational space two years ago when the YMCA opened up fields and an “airnasium” – a roofed, open-air gymnasium. And now, they’re getting the rest.

The Y broke ground yesterday (Oct. 11) on phase two of the $16.4 million Spurlino Family YMCA, which will be up and running by fall 2018.

“We did a market study to see if a Y was actually needed and if so, how much would it be used and what would be the best location,” said Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA President and CEO Tom Looby. “The study came back with a very high demand rate. It confirmed the anecdotal phone calls we had been receiving.”

The Y qualified for a 30 year, fee-free lease of the land — granted because the Y will be fulfilling a community purpose. The free lease and a significant contribution from the Spurlino family put the plans in motion.

The new Y will go in off Big Bend Road near I-75 on 30 acres, just south of the East Bay Little League fields. And there will be room to expand, Looby said. The lease can be renewed for 10-year increments.

“We heard loud and clear that the area, with growing young families, wanted more fields, so we cleared land and put in the infrastructure, utilities and roads and built the airnasium, which is available for various programs and basketball, volleyball and soccer,” he said. “We’ve also been utilizing it for summer camp.”

“The residents were clamoring for services down there and they deserved those services, so this is a thrill,” said Jennifer Murphy, who serves on the board for the new Y and helped on the fundraising campaign.

“We will be working with foster families, senior citizens and others,” she said. “In Eastern Hillsborough County, we have a very large population of foster families. We don’t turn families away. We provide scholarships. We provide those services. We are going to be there. We will bring in child-care services, workout areas, games, classes and there are also things they can do in the way of sports activities.”

There will also be swim lessons offered in the aquatic area, near the existing picnic pavilion, which families are already able to use. Kids and parents can learn and challenge themselves, Murphy said.

“We designed it so it can grow and expand over time because as that community continues to grow, they will eventually need more space,” Looby said. The second phase will be a 32,000 square-foot indoor workout area, with a state-of-the-art outdoor aquatic center. As demand increases, the Y can expand beyond 32,000 square feet, he said.

This will be the 17th YMCA in Hillsborough County. Each has its own characteristics. The Campo Family YMCA on Bloomingdale Avenue caters to families, while the Y in downtown Tampa caters to those who live and work in the area and is geared toward adults. Camp Cristina, in Riverview, is mostly outdoor space where thousands of kids each year enjoy summer camp with tons of activities, including a ropes course, horseback riding, volleyball and much more.

PHOTOS COURTESY OF TAMPA YMCA
The Spurlino Family YMCA, on Big Bend Road, broke ground on its main facility this week, which will include a large workout room, an aquatic center, offices and classrooms. Already, open are an “airnasium” and recreational fields.

Looby said the Y has had a long and solid relationship with Hillsborough County and plans to continue working with the county to serve residents’ needs. He said he expects a membership roster of about 2,900, compared to the current membership at Campo of 4,800 and North Brandon at 1,600.

Members of the Hillsborough County Commission, the Greater Riverview Chamber of Commerce and other special donors attended the groundbreaking.

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