November 4, 2007
A new YMCA may be built in a Charlottesville park, but the proposal has the city council split. Now, they want to hear from you.
Charlottesville City Council has to decide whether to lease land in McIntire park to build the multi-purpose YMCA.
"I think there are some advantages to the city for moving forward with this. We have to see if those advantages are worth the cost of giving up the land and the cost that would be associated with doing it," said Charlottesville Mayor David Brown. "I still have some issues with it."
Mayor Brown said one reason council is considering the new YMCA in the park is to meet the needs of Charlottesville's citizens. Currently, the city has two indoor swimming pools that need renovation, and something needs to be done soon.
"One option is to partner with the YMCA to provide some of the local swimming. They could provide up to ten lanes of competitive swimming," said Mayor Brown.
The mayor said, at first, the YMCA wanted to put in a six-lane pool, but Charlottesville City Council said that wasn't enough. Council wants eight or ten lanes, but that will drive up cost, so funding is a major issue.
"I'm still concerned about the fact that they want a quarter million dollars from us in addition to the land we are donating," said Charlottesville City Councilman Julian Taliaferro.
Another cost of building the YMCA is building over a softball field at McIntire Park.
"I think it's probably easier to find replacement softball fields for softball players than it is to find another place to put a YMCA," said Mayor Brown.
If Charlottesville City Council does not approve the lease, they'll have to look at plans to improve the existing pools in Charlottesville. Councilors say the "Y" has expressed interest in building at Piedmont Virginia Community College.
No final decision has been made on the lease yet, and there is still time for your opinion to be heard. A public hearing on the issue will be held Monday night at City Hall.
A decision on the lease could come as soon as early this week.