CANAL FULTON The new Schalmo Family YMCA officially opened on Dec. 9 and membership sign ups have been ongoing. But the board, staff, supporters, members and the community were all part of a ribbon cutting ceremony on Dec. 21.


The day started with the YMCA Board vice-chair Paul Middlecoop doing the welcome and serving as master of ceremony. Throughout the morning, dignitaries and supporters spoke about the journey of the Canal Fulton YMCA and the hard work and efforts it took to get it financed and built.


Canal Fulton Mayor Joe Schultz and others thanked the community for its support, including Belden Brick which donated all of the brick used on the outside of the building. The facility is named after the Don and Carol Schalmo Family in honor of their efforts and support. Don and his wife Carol and many other members of the family were in the audience. Executive Director Pam Leddon said the family has been the driving force behind the Canal Fulton YMCA.


The YMCA has been working with the community in Canal Fulton for more than seven years offering programming at one the Northwest Primary School. The YMCA raised three million dollars to build the facility through a capital campaign and through the many individual and corporate donors.


The result of all that hard work is a 26,300 square foot facility at 976 S. Canal St. Leddon said the land the facility is built on was donated by the city of Canal Fulton which is looking at planning a park area adjacent to the YMCA.


The new facility includes a Wellness Center filled with cardio equipment, treadmills, stationary bikes, weights and much more. There is a walking path around the perimeter of the room. There is also a community room with a full kitchen; a youth room; a child watch room where parents can leave their kids (ages six weeks to seven years) to be watched while working out ; a youth playroom; a gymnasium lined for basketball, volleyball and pickle ball; full facility locker rooms, a pool with a whirlpool and sauna areas; two individual changing rooms for the pool area; and a large entry area.


Membership is up to 750 with 1,600 members. The location will employ five full-time staff and 40 part-time staff. Leddon was the assistant director at the David & Carol David YMCA in Jackson Township before becoming the executive director for Canal Fulton.


Before the ceremony ended with the cutting of the ribbon, Don Schalmo was the last speaker on the day’s roster and he thanked all that were involved.


“I’m very excited about this moment,” Schalmo told the audience. “I can’t say enough about the efforts and support that has gone into this project. I’m proud to be a part of the YMCA but especially proud to be a member of the Canal Fulton community.”


Don Schalmo hugged his wife and his son Ken while the audience, which was standing room only, gave him a standing ovation. His son helped with the project by keeping the construction on track and in many other ways.