TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (WIAT) — The City of Tuscaloosa held a groundbreaking for the new Benjamin Barnes YMCA facility Tuesday morning in the McDonald Hughes Center north parking lot.

The project, funded by Elevate Tuscaloosa, hopes to bring enhanced resources to families in west Tuscaloosa which will include athletics, year-round childcare and education programming.

Tuscaloosa Mayor Walt Maddox spoke during the ceremony, calling it a win for the community and local children and families.

“Today is not about an ending, today is a beginning. There is more to come,” said Mayor Walt Maddox. “With this project and future Elevate initiatives, the city will continue to invest in our young people with every opportunity.”

Executive Director of Benjamin Barnes YMCA LaKeda Smith, CEO of YMCA Tuscaloosa Jeff Knox, Judge John England, Councilor Raeven Howard and Councilor Matthew Wilson also spoke during the ceremony.

“Our future looks very bright and it’s going to continue to get brighter,” Councilor Howard said. “The Benjamin Barnes YMCA has been a staple in my community since around 1962, and today as we get ready to break ground, this is a very exciting moment not just for the Benjamin Barnes YMCA, but for all of our youth in the community.”

The Benjamin Barnes YMCA will also offer complimentary amenities, programs and services to nearby facilities.

“Thank you to the city, thank you to the community, to the advocates that heard our story and were passionate and stood up and worked for us, thank you,” Smith said.

Construction is expected to be completed in 2024.