It was the word of the day during the grand opening of the Stanwood-Camano YMCA on Saturday, Sept. 3.

What an amazing facility for the community, said Randy and Marla Heagle, one of 11 donors in the $100,000 to $250,000 category.

What an amazing accomplishment in three years, said Stanwood Mayor Leonard Kelley, who is the Stanwood-Camano Y’s first member.

What an amazingly generous community and an amazing team of people who made it happen, said Dr. Gary Cohn, chief volunteer officer of YMCA of Snohomish County.

Cohn launched the grand opening celebration, acknowledging that this new addition to the county’s YMCA facilities was “truly community inspired.”

It was such a short turnaround that most in the crowd remembered when the privately-owned swimming pool that accommodated the SHS swim team closed in 2010.

Cohn acknowledged Theresa Metzger who organized an organizing committee, and Ken Kettler, chairman of the Stanwood-Camano YMCA Board of Directors.

Kettler noted that it was actually more than three years since the dream sparked action.

“The volunteers involved have worked hard the past six years to make this dream a reality,” Kettler said.

Many of the speakers had personal stories of growing up in different YMCAs.

Kelley said he participated in youth sports and teen programs while growing up in a deprived area and he worked at a YMCA as a college student.

U.S. Rep. Rick Larsen said he and his family use the Y in Everett and Marysville as well as the one in Chevy Chase, Maryland.

Larsen acknowledged the generosity and commitment of three cornerstone contributors: Floyd and Delores Jones, Paul and Melanie Sobotta, and Pat and Carrie Richardson,as well as the state Department of Commerce, which launched the effort with a $1.2 million grant from its Youth Recreation Fund.

Jones spoke on behalf of supporting causes like this one. He remembered seeing the former pool filled with junk.

“It made me kind of angry,” Jones said. “To hell with this, so I called Theresa Metzger and she agreed, something needed to be done.”

He funded a feasibility study with $5,000.

“I want to tell you about generosity,” Jones said. “When you give, you’re attitude changes. Philanthropy is the sweetener of the soul.”

The list of donors is a long one, not including nickels and dimes from children.

Actually, the building itself is quite amazing, too, with its angular sloping roofline, contrasting modern materials and great welcoming plaza. The 47,000-square-foot Stanwood-Camano YMCA building was designed by BCRA and contracted by GLY Construction.

The goal, said Scott Washburn, the president and CEO of YMCA of Snohomish County, was to create an attractive, durable and comfortable building.

“It’s so much more than a pool,” Washburn said. “The design, construction and systems are amazing.”

Indeed, the impressive $23 million building’s exterior features an assemblage of contrasting textures of gray concrete blocks, corrugated aluminum and a warm orange wood, with expanses of glass, framed in silver trim.

Along with the six-lane competition and lap swim pool, the facilities include a warm water pool with a lazy river and fountains spouting water in surprising places, and a hot tub spa.

Non-swimmers can use a full-size gymnasium, exercise studios with indoor cycling, state-of-the-art cardio and weight training equipment made by Precor, Life Fitness, and Hammer Strength, and special spaces for teens and toddlers.

Mayor Kelley was happy to hear that construction of the important new community asset benefits the city in other ways as well.

“We paid $1.5 million in sales tax to the state and Stanwood will receive $400,000 of that,” Washburn said.

“This is a proud and glorious day for Stanwood,” Kelley said.

The YMCA, at 7213 267th St. NW, Stanwood, is within walking distance of three schools, including Stanwood High School, Port Susan Middle School and Twin City Elementary School. It is also close to senior housing and bus services. It is open 5 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday–Friday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturdays, and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sundays.

Y officials anticipate serving more than 20,000 people. For more information visit or call 360-629-9622.

Staff Reporter Sarah Arney: 360-629-8066 ext. 115 or

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