New River YMCA awaits approval for funding to begin construction

JACKSONVILLE, N.C. (WITN) – An eastern Carolina facility announced plans for a community pool a little under a year ago and is now awaiting funding approval.

The New River YMCA plans to change the facility into an aquatic center for residents of Onslow County.

The project was supposed to begin early this year, but the New River YMCA is still waiting for the funding to be approved by the Onslow County Board of Education. Billy Sewell, the chairman of the New River YMCA, shared that the Board of Education, Board of Commissioners, and the legislature funded money for this project.

“The board of education will approve and have a conversation about the funding agreement that was approved between the city, county and schools,” said Sewell.

Sewell says Jacksonville is the only city in North Carolina without a public pool accessible to a community.

The pool will impact the parents and children in Onslow County the most.

“We will have a full-service cardio, group fitness, an e-sports area, a full-service gym and pickleball,” said Sewell.

The New River YMCA said this will be about a $14 million project, however, Sewell says it is up to $20 million.

Morgan Hugaboom is a mom in Onslow County, and talks about the benefits of the center and as a whole for the community. Prior to living in the east, she moved from Florida where there was a pool for the public at the YMCA.

“It brought together families,” said Hugaboom. “It was a really good way to meet new people in the area. It was also helpful for everyone of all ages.”

Around the east, there are neighborhood pools. However, parents say it would be good to have an area to meet and feel as one community.

“It’s great to have neighborhood pools for neighborhoods,” said Hugaboom. “They are very neighborhood specific and very exclusive. It would be nice to have something that’s more inclusive that everyone can have access to and use.”

A ceremony will take place when they break ground in September, and it will take around a year and a half to complete.

The meeting for the Board of Education to approve the funding takes place on May 7th at 6 p.m.