West Chatham YMCA at the Center of Pooler's Growth

This year marks the 100th anniversary for the City of Pooler. In the past few years it has grown leaps and bounds and is still growing.

In the center of it all, just off the Pooler Parkway is the West Chatham YMCA. Kids play outside, while grownups pump iron inside. Hundreds of families come together there every day.

Carla Porterfield comes all the time. Her workout of choice is the treadmill. "I'm hoping to run my second marathon this year and having daycare while I'm running is huge."

Porterfield's three year old son Alex seems happy about the arrangement too. He's made some friends at the center.

This YMCA also has a Child Care Center and summer camp programs for more than 700 kids.

Ike LaRoche, a founding father of the facility is proud of what it has become. "It's a beautiful site, something we've dreamed of and it's really coming to fruition now," he said. "It's just going to get bigger--bigger and bigger. No way to stop it now."

LaRoche is always dedicating himself to the YMCA. Today he was smoking Boston Butts to sell at a big YMCA event this weekend. LaRoche wanted to build this facility long before many realized how big this area was going to get.

"Savannah is full, it had to come to West Chatham, it was just a matter of time and when it was coming," he said.

There are dozens of new shopping centers and housing developments and dozens more just started construction. It's great for moms like Porterfield. She lives just up the road in Bloomingdale.

Porterfield said, "With all the growth, we've got a shopping area five miles up and a shopping area four miles down and there's take out along the way so even though I'm late for supper, I bring supper home and my husband doesn't mind."

It won't be long before the YMCA is under construction again itself. It's only been open for six years and there are already plans for expansion, adding after school programs, indoor soccer and a skate park.

Reported by Michelle Paynter, mpaynter@wtoc.com