City to hear pitch to purchase YMCA


After a period of financial problems the Union County YMCA has experienced, Marysville city officials are wondering whether the city will buy the building.
According to City Manager Terry Emery, Marysville City Council will see a presentation by the YMCA board at Monday night’s meeting centered on the city’s possible purchase of the facility. The presentation will go over the details of the proposed agreement and why it’s being considered.
Much of the reason the city is considering the purchase stems from a parks and recreation survey conducted in 2016 that singled out indoor facilities as a desire within the community.
Officials will also announce the date of an open house at the YMCA that citizens will be able to attend and provide feedback to officials. That event will include information on how the facility will be financed, and it will go over the improvements the city might make if council decided to buy it.
According to Marysville Mayor and former YMCA board president J.R. Rausch, the YMCA’s troubles began when the pool addition was built in the early 2000s.
“When we expanded the building, we took on a significant amount of debt,” Rausch said.
Rausch also said the level of fundraising for other community organizations has outpaced the YMCA in the years since.
“We just weren’t able to fundraise,” Rausch said.
The scope of the project increased from the initial idea to the groundbreaking. Originally, the project would have included four to six pool lanes.
“Originally, that’s what the addition was going to be,” Rausch said. “But as we started looking at it, we basically ended up building a whole new (YMCA).”
The project ended up with an eight-lane pool and timing system. The work also added a new weight facility on the second floor and childcare rooms.
Rausch said an earlier version of the project would have cost closer to $3 million. When all was said and done, Rausch said the project ended up being about $6 million.
Rausch said the change came from the “needs of the community.” Rausch said a four-lane pool wouldn’t be enough for the county.
Rausch said he has no regrets about the decision to increase the size of the project. He said when most YMCAs are built, they have a pool.
“We ended up building what needed to be built for the community,” Rausch said. “If you go out there on a Tuesday night, it’s packed.”
With that said, Rausch said there should have been another fundraiser to “go back in and get enough money to reduce the debt.”
He said the 2008 recession didn’t help, as people became less interested in donating their money to organizations like the YMCA.
“If you were to remove the debt, they’re making money,” Rausch said. “They just can’t sustain the level of debt that they have.”
The YMCA was never intended to have the amount of debt it took on, Rausch said. There was another fundraiser the board hosted, but it didn’t end up raising as much money as officials hoped.
Rausch said as other groups got better at fundraising, “the (YMCA) kind of got left behind.”
Regardless, Rausch said residents should expect a split decision from council when the time comes to vote.
Rausch said he sees the facility as a “great asset.” He expressed worry about what would happen if nobody buys it.
“If we don’t take it over, what happens?” Rausch said.
Emery said only time will tell what council decides.
“I have no idea where this is going to go,” Emery said.

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