County officials and community members Wednesday celebrated the opening of the area’s newest Family Y.
The Steiner Branch Family Y, in the Gateway Center off Horizon South Parkway near Interstate 20, opened May 11. County officials called the Grovetown facility a great asset for Columbia County.
Representatives of the Family Y of Greater Augusta agreed.
“We’re excited to be opening and to be able to serve the city of Grovetown,” said Millie Huff, community relations director for the Family Y of Greater Augusta.
Danny McConnell, president and CEO of the Family Y, said the organization did a study three years ago that showed the city of Grovetown really wanted a Family Y. From there, the organization began working to establish the facility, which is located in the county’s new exhibition center.
In the four days since the Y opened, Mconnell said it had already added more than 1,000 members, giving the organization greater assurance about opening there.
“This is a starting point for us, not an ending point,” he said, saying the organization has plans to add a swimming pool, baseball field and a water park to the facility. “We’ve got some work to do, but this is a good first step.”
Also at the event, officials and family honored the facility’s namesake, Steiner Branch.
“He was a man of few words but he loved his Lord, loved his family and loved Grovetown,” said Branch’s son-in-law, Ron Carter.
Part of the land for the facility was donated by the Branch family. Carter said the Family Y is a Christian organization devoted to families, and he couldn’t think of a better use for the property than to donate it to the organization.