The Martinsville-Henry County YYMCA on Starling Avenue in Martinsville opened in 1988. Y officials are hosting a series of community meetings to talk about plans for a new facility. Photo by Dean-Paul Stephens.

Officials of Martinsville’s YMCA think the decades-old facility is due for an updated replacement, and they’re seeking community feedback to kick off the project. 

Located on Starling Avenue, the Martinsville-Henry County YMCA has been in operation since 1988, according to Brad Kinkema, the YMCA’s regional executive director. 

“It’s served us well,” Kinkema said of the facility that offers members access to gyms, basketball courts and other amenities. 

In its 30-plus-year history, the Martinsville-Henry County YMCA has managed to build what Kinkema described as an impressive following among residents. Currently, it serves 5,500 members, not including its child care and after-school programs, he said.

This growth, according to Kinkema, is why the organization is taking initial steps to open a new, larger location. 

“Our programs and services have grown, our membership has grown,” he said, adding that the Y’s post-pandemic senior membership is among the growing demographics. “We find that we don’t have enough for young kids, other than the basketball court. We find that we need more space.” 

He said the new location would replace the Starling Avenue facility. But officials have yet to identify ideal locations for a new Y; instead, they want to hear from the community.

The YMCA will host several community listening sessions at the Starling Avenue Y over the next month. The sessions will be held at 10 a.m. June 20 and at 6:30 p.m. June 22, 26 and 29, with additional meetings on July 6 and 19. Residents will be able to speak directly with project officials. 

Kinkema said collecting community feedback puts the YMCA’s leaders in a position to construct a facility that matches the needs of those most likely to use it. Kinkema said that it’s a common practice among YMCAs to include community input in the creation of new facilities. 

“Ultimately, the YMCA is supported by members of the community,” Kinkema said. “We’re not a government agency, so it’s important for us to reflect what the community wants.” 

Kinkema said officials have a rough idea of what the new facility will offer, including a larger basketball court and an additional pool. Other offerings, like a splash pad, could be requested by community members. 

“It would have meeting rooms that we sorely lack now and need,” he said. “Community groups can meet, we can have programs.” 

Kinkema reiterated that the entire project is still in its early planning stages. 

“This is a long-term project, it’s not like we are going to be breaking ground tomorrow,” Kinkema said. “It’s still several years away.” 

Dean-Paul Stephens is a reporter for Cardinal News. He is based in Martinsville. Reach him at