TAMAQUA -- The sound of metal on metal clinked rhythmically as weights were hoisted into the air and then placed back to the ground repeatedly. A steady chorus of swooshes came from the belts on treadmills and other exercise equipment in constant motion, too.
The Tamaqua YMCA, however, is so much more than a gym, according to staff and members.
It's a safe gathering place for everyone of any age and Sunday it officially unveiled its new look.
New flooring covers the front floor of the building, replacing worn carpeting where there's a children's play area -- complete with their own indoor playground, arcade games, vending machines, and tables and chairs to socialize at.
A fresh coat of paint covers its walls and new gym equipment is available to work out on.
Its two Jack & Jill Preschool rooms, which hosts children 3 to 5 years old, received fresh coats of paint to brighten up the rooms as did its community multipurpose room.
The Y has two gyms now since renovations and had its bounce house inflated in one of them Sunday for children to play inside while two boys dribbled a basketball up and down the court, taking shots against each other at the basket. Its newer gym isn't totally complete yet, though. Johnson said the nonprofit YMCA will likely host a fundraiser to put in a new floor.
They have a low-impact workout room and a new exercise class room, all stops included in the walking tours staff was giving to the general public Sunday afternoon.
Renovations cost at least $20,000, said Kim Johnson, president and CEO of YMCA Reading and Berks County, to which the Tamaqua Y is linked. A lot of cosmetic work went into revitalizing the facility. Jessica Marcolla, senior program director, said the Y closed for about a week and a half around Christmas time to undergo the work. It was reopened Jan. 4.
The Tamaqua Y has been at 1201 E. Broad St. (Route 209) for about 10 years once it signed a lease agreement sometime around 2008, Johnson said. The building formerly housed Jamesway, a discount store, she said.
Prior to the Y opening its own gym a decade ago, it held community activities throughout the year, making the closest YMCAs in Pottsville and in Hazleton.
The Tamaqua Y, Marcolla said, has something for everyone, from indoor basketball courts to gym equipment and workout classes, such as Zumba, yoga, and step aerobics. It has an exercise class geared toward people 62 and up called Silver Sneakers. They are planning a father-daughter sock hop-type dance Feb. 17 from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. for members and non-members. There's a summer camp for children and a spring craft show in the works.
The Schuylkill Transportation System bus route stops at the Y, Marcolla said. They even have a child watch program for parents who need a sitter when they are working out and host birthday parties for children.
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Johnson said the Y is packed after school and on weekends as it offers a safe place to socialize and work out.
Fay Montgomery could be found at the YMCA's service counter. Sunday she signed up as a member again.
Montgomery said she grew up in the Ys, from the first one she joined as a youth in Brooklyn, New York, to the one she now calls home in Tamaqua. She wanted to get back on a treadmill and bicycle and maybe even take a class. After having not been at the Y in Tamaqua for about a year, she said with the renovations that took place, it felt like the Y has a new life that will help it continue to serve the community.
Renie Sell, Tamaqua had her 9- and 4-year-old grandchildren with her at the grand reopening. She's been coming to the Y for one reason or another for roughly four years. Her younger grandchild attends preschool there and her older one had a YMCA birthday party, but they all like to spend time at the facility whenever possible. The Y offers the kids something to do year round and Sell enjoys it, too.
Contact the writer: email@example.com; 570-501-3584
The Tamaqua Y is open Monday through Thursday from 5:30 a.m. until 8:30 p.m., Friday from 5:30 a.m. until 8 p.m., Saturday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
For more information call the Y at 570-668-2903
Its Facebook page at www.facebook.com/pg/Tamaqua-YMCA-320867931278324/reviews.
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