SHREVEPORT, La. (KTAL/KMSS) – The YMCA of Northwest Louisiana will soon be returning to south Shreveport thanks to a generous donation by an anonymous donor.
The funds will allow the YMCA to begin construction of a 30,000-45,000 square foot facility in the Camp Forbing Marketplace on Ellerbe Rd.
In 2014, the YMCA sold 30 acres of its Camp Forbing property to Houston-based NewQuest. It was always the plan to return to the area with a new Y facility.
YMCA of Northwest Louisiana CEO Gary Lash said, “We decided to give up something good to get something great. We kept about 20 acres as a placeholder for this part of town. The time has now come to return a Y facility to Forbing.”
The new Y facility will include two sports fields, a swimming pool and 30,000-45,000 square feet of programmable space.
For the current tenants of Camp Forbing Marketplace, the announcement of the new Y facility is great news.
Silver Star Grille’s David Alvis said, “We are excited to have the new Forbing
YMCA join our neighborhood. It will bring so much good family enjoyment to our area for many years to come.”
For those that reminisce about the old Camp Forbing, the YMCA is in the process of building a 130-acre outdoor education center adjacent to the BHP YMCA, at Knight and Preston Streets in Shreveport.
This educational urban park, accessible to the public, will continue the Y traditions that began at Camp Forbing, such as day camps, after school programs, fishing, kayaking, hiking, and ropes courses.
The history of the Y at Camp Forbing is rich and storied. In 1940, the YMCA took over Camp Lassa, “Louisiana Sunday School Association”, and operated it for the next 75 years.
During that time, countless area youth attended summer camp there, including Terry Bradshaw. In fact, a young Bradshaw wrote his name into a wooden beam of one of the cabins.
And how about the story behind the Elvis Presley Pool at Forbing? The late Henry B Clay, then Executive Vice President and General Manager of KWKH, was aware that Elvis owed one more concert to the Louisiana Hayride. So Clay was able to convince Presley to return on Dec. 15, 1956 and donate all the proceeds from the show to the YMCA. The funds were used to build the swimming pool and other facilities at the YMCA Camp at Forbing.
To honor the rich past of the Y at Forbing, the new facility will feature some of the original stone from the Forbing Frost Lodge along with some key remnants in its lobby to include the original Elvis Presley Pool sign, the original Fort Moore sign, named for Randle T. Moore, and multiple other photos documenting the history of the Y at Forbing.
Director of Marketing and Development for the YMCA of Northwest Louisiana Jeffrey Goodman said, “The YMCA at Forbing has meant so much to so many generations in our community. We are thrilled to be able to continue the legacy of the Y in this area and location.”