Local leaders break ground on new YMCA facility in Whitehaven

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — A new YMCA is coming to Whitehaven in 2022. Wednesday, dozens of elected officials and public figures spoke at the groundbreaking for the new center on Elvis Presley Boulevard.

City leaders say there’s a hope for the center to address crime in the area.

“When young people don’t have something productive to do, a very small percent is going to do something bad. We have to keep them engaged. This location is going to provide it,” said Memphis Mayor Jim Strickland.

The center will be the second YMCA in the state to be named after a Black family, Georgette and Cato Johnson. It will replace the Thomas B. Davis building which has been standing since 1959.

“We feel good providing kids an alternative place to go to get in involved in activities,” said Metro YMCA President and CEO Jerry Martin. “Like Michael Jordan said. ‘If I hadn’t been a part of a team, what would I have been a part of?’ So sometimes for kids, it’s an opportunity to do something positive.”

Leadership says they’re hoping the YMCA will be an epicenter for healing and community wellness with a focus on early childhood development and water safety.

“We will, Lord willing, have this building open in the fall of next year. We’re under construction as we speak. We’ll have a ribbon-cutting and be able to open to the community no later than fall of next year,” said Martin.