Smooth transition to Tennova Family Y

Sandra ClarkHalls, Our Town Health, Powell

The ownership transition to the new Tennova Family Y has been a textbook “how-to” that will pay dividends to the health and wellbeing of residents of Powell and Halls for a long time.

Jim Dickson, YMCA of East Tennessee’s CEO, says the Y is more than a place to work out. “We’re a place of community. Of course, members will have access to new machines, our basketball court and swimming pool, but there will be so much more; we’ll be offering swim lessons and other youth programs. Tennova members will have access to all Knoxville Y locations plus nationwide membership.”

Dickson led the ribbon-cutting events on Jan. 7, 2023, to officially launch the new facility. The community is excited (or at least curious) because the parking lot was packed. Amenities include:

  • Basketball court, newly restriped for pickleball as well
  • Six-lane swimming pool
  • Warm water therapy pool
  • Climb wall
  • State-of-the-art cardio equipment plus new group exercise classes

Photos of opening day;

Kim Ballard, Drew Grey at PBPA

Kim Ballard, chief operating officer of the YMCA of East Tennessee, spoke Jan. 10 at the Powell Business & Professional Association. She was joined by Drew Grey, chief operating officer at Tennova North medical center, and Connor Best, also of Tennova.

Kim Ballard at the PBPA

Grey said Tennova leaders were discussing ways to improve the health & fitness center when someone suggested talking with the Y. “We were working with the Y to improve the fitness center; then talks began (to have the Y take over the operation,”) he said. “We are excited about this.”

Ballard said the Y will bring 120 group exercise classes a week to the Tennova Family Y. The Y will replace all the equipment on the second floor. (Now named the Bob Temple Wellness Center.)

Learning to swim will be easier with both group and individual swim classes.

In response to questions, Ballard said the Y retained both its north staff and the Tennova staff. No one lost their job. Ray Kitts, VP of outreach at the Y, will also be the north director.

Ballard realizes temperature control is an issue in the swimming area and locker rooms. “That pool has 22-year-old systems,” she said. And the basketball gym remains; it’s just that three hours each morning will be available for pickleball.

She said the Y property in Halls has been sold to the Dallas-based 4M baseball and softball training center.

A textbook “how-to”

Ballard, Grey and Best put the transition together in a short time. They maintained transparency throughout, keeping staff informed. They held a community open house within the first week. And they showed up at the Powell business club to answer questions. That’s how to do it, folks.

Temple family supports Tennova Y

Ginger Temple Baxter said family members were happy to represent “all the good things Daddy has done through the YMCA over the years.” She said her father would have been proud and happy with the new Tennova Family Y. “The dedication of the wellness center at the new Y facility was certainly special.”

Bob Temple was a founder of the North Side Y on Maynardville Pike in Halls. In good years and bad, Bob was the go-to guy to keep the Y doors open. He even mowed the grounds on his tractor. He was the driver behind indoor tennis and personally played tennis on the senior circuit.

All of Bob and Helen Temple’s children were present: Ginger and Bill Baxter; Linda Wise; Rob Temple and wife, Sandy.

The grandchild who taught (tried to teach?) Bob how to use a computer was Joe Baxter. Joe is back in Knoxville, working with Holston Gases here after a 13-year stint operating the Kentucky branches. With him at the event were wife Emily and daughter Penny, 3, and son, Van, six months old.

Wow. Seems like just a year or so when Joe was covering Central High School sports for the Shopper News and shooting hoops in Fountain City Park.

Sandra Clark is editor/CEO of Knox TN Today Inc.

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