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YMCA: Pines facility needs more community support

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A YMCA regional executive told College of The Albemarle trustees this week that community support — including a vigorous partnership with COA — is needed to keep the YMCA at the Pines afloat.

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By Reggie Ponder
Staff Writer

Friday, February 22, 2019

A YMCA regional executive told College of The Albemarle trustees this week that community support — including a vigorous partnership with COA — is needed to keep the YMCA at the Pines afloat.

Dean Mattix, vice president for Northeastern North Carolina with the YMCA of South Hampton Roads, informed the COA Board of Trustees Tuesday that the YMCA has invested $350,000 at the Pines since assuming management of the property a year and a half ago.

While the investment reflects a commitment to Elizabeth City by the YMCA of South Hampton Roads, it’s also not sustainable over the long term, he said.

“We are going to need your help and we are going to have to come together to keep this community asset here,” Mattix told trustees.

What the YMCA at the Pines needs is $100,000 annually in community support, Mattix said.

The college’s trustees briefly discussed options for partnering with the YMCA at the Pines. One potential option is creation of some kind of intramural golf program or golf club for COA students that might make use of the golf course at the Pines.

The YMCA also is hoping more organizations will hold golf tournaments at the facility.

There are lots of ways COA-related groups can use the former golf club, and there are opportunities for all kinds of community groups to hold events at the site, Mattix said.

“It’s really so much more than golf,” he said. “Golf is part of this but there is so much more that happens at YMCA at the Pines.”

In the past year there has been an event at the facility almost every other day, he said.

The YMCA at the Pines, which includes an 18-hole golf course, swimming pool and clubhouse event facility, was established as a COA-YMCA partnership in 2017 after restaurateur Bill Taylor donated what was then the Pines of Elizabeth City to the COA Foundation. The YMCA of South Hampton Roads manages the site.  

COA Trustee Paul O’Neal, who noted he also serves on the YMCA board, agreed the YMCA has invested a lot in the former golf club and that it’s an important community asset. For example, having an 18-hole golf course to take prospects for a round of golf is an important tool for recruiting industry, O’Neal noted.

The community needs to support the YMCA at the Pines or it will not remain a golf course, O’Neal said.

Mattix said solidifying the partnership between COA and the YMCA at the Pines will be very important.

“2019 is going to be a critical year for YMCA at the Pines,” he said.

COA Trustee Wallace Nelson asked about the idea of establishing an “Albemarle Golf Trail” that would promote not only the YMCA at the Pines but also Albemarle Plantation, Mulberry Hill in Chowan County, Scotch Hall in Bertie County and golf courses in Currituck.

Mattix said there have been informal discussions of that idea. He agreed a more formalized plan could provide a boost for all golf courses in the area.

Mattix noted that Billy George is retiring as president and chief executive officer of the YMCA of South Hampton Roads later this year. George has been a great supporter of the Albemarle Family YMCA and the YMCA at the Pines, Mattix said, but the next chief executive is going to be taking a close look at the bottom line. He said the YMCA of South Hampton Road’s investment in the Pines likely will come under close scrutiny.

Trustee Travis Burke said the community needs to find a way to keep YMCA at the Pines going. Trustee Robert Pippen agreed that yhe Pines is a needed community asset.

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