Looking back: YMCA building fund kicks off

Published 11:16 am Friday, February 2, 2018

by Clyde Parker

January 29, 1968

Formal announcement of a half-million dollar contribution toward construction of an $850,000 multipurpose Family YMCA building in Franklin was announced last week. Gathering at Franklin Baptist Church for a YMCA Campaign rally-dinner, on Monday, campaign officials and volunteer workers heard the good news.

Some 200 supporters were on hand when Robert C. Ray, president of the Franklin YMCA Board of Directors, acknowledged the $500,000 donation. The Camp Foundation and Union Camp Corporation are the principal supporters of the trust fund making the large gift available. Ray, incidentally, is a member of the 15-man Board of Directors of the Camp Foundation.

The general community campaign, with a goal of $350,000 from various other resources, including individuals, will make possible a comprehensive YMCA facility, complete with at 25 x 75 foot AAU size indoor pool, a gymnasium, locker rooms and other spaces designed to accommodate a family “Y” program. The building is to be built on a five-acre site on Crescent Drive near Franklin High School. The land, a part of  the historic Hillview Farm, was acquired from the Sol Rawls family.

Broun C. Dameron is general chairman of the “Y” fund-raising campaign which is scheduled to end Feb. 8. Dameron says 232 volunteer workers are involved in the effort.

Invocation and benediction for the kickoff dinner were delivered by the Rev. Dr. Ira D. Hudgins, pastor of Franklin Baptist Church.

The dinner program stressed youth participation. The colors were presented by Boy Scouts Bobby Lankford, Mark Morris, and Vernon Beacham, members of troop 28.

The Rathskeller Trio — Arlene Dampier, Darlene Dampier and Judi Jones — performed. Margo Sykes read a poem, “On Life’s Busy Thoroughfares,” and Chip Kingery gave a reading of “An Unknown American.”    

Other highlights of the program included a humorous sales demonstration, “Suggestions for the Job Ahead,” presented by a cast consisting of Rev. Robert E. Davis, Mrs. J. Irving Beale III, James C. Cooley and Louis P. Jervey.

Workers’ kits were distributed and their use explained by Martin Pearson. Various campaign chairmen were recognized. They include: Robert C. Ray, top level gifts; Roger W. Drake, big gifts; the Rev. Ben Farley, Church cooperation; H.S. James Jr., public relations; Mrs. G.H. Parker Jr., women’s communication; James E. Barnes, auditing committee; Martin Pearson, general secretary; and Dr. Robert T. Edwards, chairman of the teams organization.

Some 2,900 Franklin businesses and residents are to be contacted during the three-week campaign.   

Chamber to relocate

The Franklin Chamber of Commerce has announced plans to move from its present location at 203 W. First Ave., to the old City library building at 108 W. Third Ave., which now houses the Franklin YMCA offices.

“The Chamber expects to move into half of the building in April and share the facilities with the YMCA until the “Y” moves into their future new building on Crescent Drive,” said Chamber spokesman Norris Bly. “The move by the “Y,” of course, will take place when construction of their new facilities is completed and the new building is ready for occupancy.”

Franklin Chamber seeks county extension

The special Franklin-Southampton Study Committee, which announced its recommendation last week that an area chamber of commerce be formed, is taking its case to the people.

Believing that the function and desirability of establishing a combined city-county chamber can best be explained at the person-to-person level, committee members have embarked on an ambitious schedule of speaking engagements with clubs and organizations throughout the county.

If results at the Forks of the River Ruritan meeting Tuesday night are indicative, a broad base of support for the area chamber concept can be expected.

Following Tuesday’s presentation and discussion, led by L.E. Edwards of the Franklin Chamber of Commerce Study Committee, the Forks of the River Ruritans adopted a resolution by voice vote in support of the area chamber concept. No negative votes were cast. “Our plan is to have our speakers meet with the clubs and ask them to pass resolutions endorsing the area chamber concept and then appoint one of their members to represent them on a steering committee,” explains V.S. Pittman Jr., special study committee chairman. “The steering committee would then determine by-laws, draw up a constitution, and establish other procedures necessary to the formation of  an area chamber.”

Assuming that the committee continues to receive favorable responses, when is the earlier date that formation of an area chamber could begin? 

That was one of the dominate questions asked during some of the preliminary discussions in regard to the matter. “I don’t think it would be before March,” Pittman answered. “We have several speaking engagements scheduled for February and then we will have some time to study the results.”

Mr. Pittman submitted a list of  planned speaking engagements: L.E. Edwards, Forks of the River Ruritan Club; Norris Bly, Sedley Ruritan Club; V.S. Pittman, Capron Ruritan Club; L.E. Edwards, Black Creek Ruritan Club; Dr. Robert T. Edwards, Boykins Lions Club; V.S. Pittman Jr., Newsoms Ruritan Club; Dr. Robert T. Edwards, Sebrell Ruritan Club; Broun C. Dameron, Ivor Ruritan Club; V. S. Pittman Jr., Drewryville Ruritan Club; Broun C. Dameron, Courtland Ruritan Club; and V.S. Pittman Jr.,  Hunterdale Ruritan Club.

CLYDE PARKER is a retired human resources manager for the former Franklin Equipment Co. and a member of the Southampton County Historical Society. His email address is magnolia101@charter.net