Farewell, Fulton Street
April 3rd, 2019 marks a very important day in Skagit Valley Family YMCA history: the opening of the new Hoag Road facility to all members! However, as this exciting new door opens, another sadly must close; after serving the Y for over 75 years, we have permanently closed our Fulton Street location.
Fulton Street stood for the better part of a century, watching Skagit Valley grow and evolve while providing a safe and positive environment for all. From its construction in 1942 to its closure in 2019, Fulton Street grew to encompass a wide variety of programs, engaging community members of all ages.
Y staff member Troy Gilpatrick spent nearly 40 years at Fulton Street, joining the Skagit Valley Y as a volunteer at just 15 years old. Over the last several decades, Troy has been involved in a number of Y programs, from lifeguarding to event planning.
“I’ve pretty much been involved in every single program,” said Troy.
One of the most rewarding aspects of Troy’s decades at Fulton Street was watching the youngest Y members grow and thrive. He was able to see several of his swim lesson students grow up and bring their own children to the Fulton Street pool.
Aurelia Hadley has been a member of the YMCA since the 1990s before joining the welcome desk team in 2000. Not long after, she became a fitness instructor, teaching Tai Chi and arthritis aquatic exercise.
Aurelia says she will miss walking through the tall Douglas fir trees that shade the Fulton Street gymnasium, breathing in their fresh scent. While she made many great memories throughout the last several decades at Fulton, she is looking forward to creating new memories with friends at Hoag Road.
Membership billing specialist Bruce Thomas recalls his first day at Fulton Street nearly 14 years ago.
“I remember being very nervous stepping into the building for the first time,” Bruce said. “I was used to sitting in an office by myself, and now I was suddenly tasked with greeting the public. In the beginning, people would walk in and immediately notice I was the new guy. But, over time, I started to feel more at home.”
Bruce quickly adjusted to his new role and became a familiar smiling face at the front desk. His favorite moments at Fulton Street were spent speaking to members in various languages. He fluently speaks German and Dutch, as do several of our members. The opportunity to engage with our diverse membership in this unique way is a highlight of the job, Bruce says.
While saying farewell to Fulton Street was bittersweet for many staff members, there is a unanimous feeling of excitement for the future of the Y at Hoag Road. When asked how he feels about the transition, Bruce says, “the building may have changed, but the friendships here have not.”
We will always take the memories that we made at Fulton Street with us as we create new ones at Hoag Road. The new facility will help us address more areas of health and wellness for the Skagit Valley community through cooking classes, stress management classes, and more.