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Volunteers turn out to clean up new YMCA

Helping hands abounded Saturday during the first of many cleanup days at the soon to be new location of the Greenville YMCA.

Approximately 25 people turned out at 8 a.m. at the old Greenville Academy site to help get the football field in shape for Y-league football games that begin September 25. The first order of business was to get the grass cut on the field, and there was no shortage of lawnmowers to get the job done.

"It was like a motor sports park for lawnmowers," said Digger Kimbro, a local high school student who was there to provide some sweat equity to the football field and who thought the new facility was going to pay dividends for years to come.

"I think it's going to be a real good thing. I didn't want this place to sit here and rot. There's a lot more room and it's going to make more kids come out here and play."

With the amount of work that needs to be done on the facility, which has been vacant since Greenville Academy closed last year due to declining enrollment and was recently leased to the YMCA on a lease-purchase plan, the call has gone out to local businesses that want to invest in the facility by doing "in-kind" work.

One of those businessmen is plumber John McGough who spent his time Saturday getting the pipes flowing.

"Having been a coach I felt it was a worthwhile cause," said McGough, who has been in the plumbing business since the 60's "It will give these boys something to do and will help keep them out of trouble."

YMCA youth league football coaches Milton Crittenden and Elliott Lewis said they thought the new facility will draw more interest to the programs the Y has to offer, such as football, which now has three local teams.

"It's going to bring in a lot more kids," said Crittenden, taking a break from the 90-degree heat. "I think this year is going to be a big year for all three teams."

"It's a good thing to have our own territory," added Lewis, who said the youth teams have been borrowing Greenville High School's football field in the past. "We've got more room, more parking more everything and it's all right here."

YMCA Director Amanda Phillips said she was very surprised and happy at the turnout.

"We've had about six lawnmowers going at the same time," she said of the group on hand. "I've been overwhelmed at the people who have shown up here (today)."

Phillips said one of the biggest needs to help complete the football field is a set of bleachers for the visitor's side of the field.

"If anybody would like to donate toward those, that would be wonderful," she said. "Two brand new sets of bleachers would be around $10,000."

She went on to say that if anyone knew of a school that was replacing their bleachers to let her know so she could contact the school to see if they would donate the old bleachers to the Y. Phillips can be reached at 382-0550.