Community center progressing well
January 23, 2013
Citizens and the City Council got their first look at the evolving deal between the city and the YMCA for the operation of the new community center. So far, so good.
If things continue on this path, citizens look to get a big discount on joining the Y, and regular opportunities to use the facility — including meeting space, exhibition space for art, discounts for youth programs and use of the pool — even if they choose not to join.
The proposal goes further and establishes a formal priority list for use of the pool and who will maintain the parking garage. It also goes into detail about what would happen if the Y were to pull out of the agreement, a contingency for which many say the city must be prepared.
The city also has an option to use some YMCA-owned property for an outdoor sports complex that could reduce the crunch for athletic field space.
So far, the proposal appears to be a good one. Citizens will have access to the facility, which they are largely paying for through pre-collected taxes in reserve.
By joining and paying the monthly fee, residents will also have the option to use the equipment being brought in by the Y — which is only fair since the taxpayers aren’t funding the equipment, its maintenance and the facility’s staffing or expertise.
There is still a vocal minority opposed to the project. Certainly, it is within their rights to continue to attempt to sway the City Council until it has taken the vote and finalized the agreement.
Both the opponents, and supporters of the community center should be paying careful attention to the proposed agreement.
Opponents should be able to articulate why the proposal is bad for the city, and explain what a good proposal might look like. All citizens should step forward with constructive proposals for making the partnership even better.
So far, the compromise agreement seems good for the city, but there is always room for improvement. Those with ideas should step forward, before the papers are signed.