City of Barry receives Governor's Hometown Award

Both the YMCA and park have benefitted from the community support

For a town in the Tri-States, they have shown that hard work pays off.

Barry, Illinois received the Governor's Hometown Award for work in developing the Western Community YMCA and Holy Redeemer Park.

It all began with a survey. The city of Barry asked its residents what they thought should be done with the unused Holy Redeemer Church.

The response said the town wanted a place where they could exercise.

Three years later, the Western Community YMCA and Holy Redeemer Park had won the award.

Lance Kendrick is the City Administrator for Barry and was a part of the application process.

"When you get the right people doing stuff, you can really make big things happen. We're still a fairly small town, we're less than 1500 people which is the category we won," said Kendrick. "We were able to raise around four hundred thousand dollars. It's a lot of money, per capita when you think of it that way."

Not just any town can win this award...the city had to go through an extensive application process and interview before they could be considered a finalist.

While the award is special for the city, Kendrick thinks the impact the facility is making on the community is better.

"We're just always trying to do as much as we can to make the quality of life as good as it is here," Kendrick said. "You know, we think it's the best place in the world to live because we're still small, we're still close to the bigger areas. It really kind of solidifies that community feel you get when you live in rural Illinois like this."

Bradley Longcor is the Branch Director for the Western Community YMCA, and hopes that this award will help to bring in the public so they can see what community support, and volunteer efforts can achieve.

"When you pull up to the facility, it looks like a church, and it doesn't necessarily look like a fitness facility, so when they come in they're kind of shocked by how nice it is, how new the equipment is, and how well put-together it is," Longcor said. "There's a lot of positive things happening out here in Barry, and just to add a fitness facility and give people the opportunity to stay healthy, and just to stay fit through their life, I think is a great opportunity for the community."

Kendrick also pointed out that while the YMCA may be located in Barry, the facility is named Western Community because they invite anyone in the area to be a part of it.

Barry had previously won the Governor's cup in 1983 for work in building the community pool.