The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

November 10, 2012

Council to take step toward new YMCA

By BRAD KELLAR
Herald-Banner Staff

GREENVILLE — The Greenville City Council may vote this week to back the creation of a panel to look into whether a new YMCA is needed.

If so, an election may be called next spring to float the bonds needed to help build the facility.

The Council is scheduled to consider passing a resolution calling for the committee, as part of Tuesday’s regular session agenda starting at 6 p.m. in the Municipal Building, 2821 Washington Street. A Council work session is set for 5 p.m. Tuesday.

The Council intends to consider and possibly take action on a resolution of support for the formation of an advisory committee to study the financial feasibility and community support of a new YMCA.

The Greenville YMCA building turned 50 this year.

Plans for a new and much larger YMCA inside the Greenville SportsPark have been discussed for more than a year, but the need for the facility is growing daily.

Jerry Ransom is one of the individuals involved in fund raising for the new building and appeared before the Council last month to ask that the first steps be taken to place a bond issue on the May 2013 election ballot.

Kelly Gaudreau, CEO/Executive Director of the YMCA of Greenville and Hunt County, said the organization will do its part to establish a facility that has the potential to benefit a wide range of the population.

The fund raising campaign to build a new YMCA in Greenville was formally launched in June 2011.

Organizers have set a goal of $10 million for the project to construct a new facility, with approximately half of the amount already raised or pledged.

The local organization dates back to 1895, when it was the fifth YMCA in Texas. The YMCA has been in several locations in Greenville, including Burleson College and the First Baptist Church. The existing 24,000 square foot facility was built on Stanford Street in 1962.

A series of studies revealed it would be just as cost effective to build a new structure of up to 60,000 square feet than to tear down and rebuild the existing building.

The Greenville Independent School District and the Hunt Regional Healthcare Center have pledged support for the effort and L-3 Communications/Mission Integration was first major contributor with a $50,000 donation.

The Hope Center and the Boys and Girls Club of Northeast Texas are among the other agencies who have expressed support for the project.

Ransom asked the Council to appoint a 15-member committee to investigate the feasibility of calling for a bond referendum vote next spring.

The new YMCA would include a larger pool, a wellness center more than three times the size of the current one, a rock climbing wall, a teen center, a cafe, a computer lab and a chapel. The facility would be able to host and conduct expanded programs for cooking, camping and music.