A new picnic shelter is going up at the Hilliard/Ray Patch Family YMCA, thanks to an area hardware store.

A new picnic shelter is going up at the Hilliard/Ray Patch Family YMCA, thanks to an area hardware store.

The Lowe's Heroes volunteer program selected the Hilliard YMCA to be one of its community improvement projects. Lowe's is donating the building materials and their employees are donating their days off to complete the project.

"We should have about 150 employees (from 8 Columbus-area stores) involved in donating their time and skills to the project depending on their expertise," said Joanna Reed, store manager at the Hilliard Lowe's, 3600 Park Mill Run Drive. "We're not doing all of it by any means, but we like to participate in the labor."

Stores in each district (such as Columbus) annually select a nonprofit organization to help out through the Lowe's Heroes program. "We focus on things like playgrounds or education," Reed said.

Greg Cottrill, executive director of the Hilliard/Ray Patch Family YMCA, said he was thankful for Lowe's help, as well as help from the city of Hilliard, which waived building permit fees for the picnic shelter in a resolution in August.

Cottrill said the 28-by-52-foot shelter seats about 80 people, has a grill and is located near the Y's outdoor pool.

"We're principally going to be using it to help with our youth programming: summer camp, our after-school programs, our teen programs," Cotrill said. "We can rent it in the summer for birthday parties and reunions. It's a nice addition to our YMCA campus.

"This is a new structure for us. Being so young, (our facility is) only five years old. We're still in the process of adding all the indoor and outdoor amenities that can enhance what we offer, and this is another one of those things we can do to make it a little bit more well-rounded and useful for members and the community."

Cottrill said the shelter may be completed by month's end, but it probably wouldn't be dedicated until next spring. "It will allow us to continue to serve this community and care for more children in summertime, and enhance what we're doing across the board in our outdoor programs."

Reed said, "We're hoping to have a cookout and have all of our Lowe's people who have been able to donate time over the course of the project out there."