HARDYSTON-Last Saturday's approaching blizzard didn't stop crowds of visitors from coming out for the grand opening of the $7 million, state-of the-art Sussex County YMCA. But it did insure that all those who came got there early so that they could see the new facility and beat the bad weather home. The visitors were greeted at the door to the county Y's first permanent home by Hamburg residents Larry and Betsy Edsall, who were instrumental in planning senior activities at the complex. The couple were instrumental in having a walking track built around the perimeter of the fitness area. "Seniors will now have a place to walk. It's just wonderful!" said Betsy Edsall. Tour guides led groups of interested visitors through the multiple offerings of the complex. The guides stressed that members would find not only a fitness center, but also a community center, a place to get healthy and a place to meet friends. Dignitaries attending the opening include Freeholders Gary Chiusano, Glen Vetrano, Hal Wirths, and Susan Zellman. Located at 15 Wits End Road off Route 94 in Hardyston Township, among the sleek features of the new Y are a six-lane, 25-yard indoor swimming pool; a fitness center with more than fifty pieces of equipment; an exercise room; four multipurpose rooms; a sauna; steam room; whirlpool; athletic fields and a fitness trail. "This is a long time coming," said Leslie Eyster of Vernon. To illustrate just how long, she told of going to the county YMCA in Newton in 1975 seeking employment as a swim instructor and beas a swim instructor and behave a Y." The pool is the hub featuring a 21st century marvel n an electronic life saver. Known as the "Poseidon," the life guard's third eye features sensors and cameras in the walls of the pool that scan and check to see if all sw immers are moving. If a motionless body is detected, an alarm alerts the human life guard to a location in the pool that may indicate a swimmer in trouble. Other features are family locker rooms and an "instant" swim suit dryer. There is a full calendar of various programs from swim lessons for various age groups to fitness and aerobics classes. Programs are geared to children beginning at the age of three, with very specific age designations. Included are crafts, global culture, science, acting, and dance, as well as art classes in different media, oils, acrylics, watercolors, and drawing. Teen activities include fitness training workshops, comedy improv classes, and self defense techniques. Numerous other teen classes stress caring, honesty, respect and responsibility. The Y Cares program solicits donations to subsidize senior memberships, so that, promotional material says, "every senior in our community who does not have the financial means to be active, has the opportunity to participate." The Sussex County YMCA is a branch of the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges, the largest YMCA in the New Jersey. Its mission is to "enrich the lives of the children, families and communities it serves, through programs that build spirit, mind and body, welcoming all people, in an environment nurturing positive values." President and CEO of the Metropolitan YMCA of the Oranges W. Daniel McCain said, "This new center will be the crowning achievement in the YMCA's quest to fully serve the Sussex County community." For more information, call 973-209-9622 or visit sussexcountyymca.org.