The Herald Banner, Greenville, TX

Opinion

April 28, 2013

More planning needed on new YMCA

Greenville voters have a big choice on their hands on May 11. The $15 million bond that would be used to pay for a new YMCA/events center is a complicated issue, and one that has our readership sharply divided.

Many are in favor of the positive benefit that this new facility would bring to the area. Others are concerned with the price and the way in which the project has evolved over the last two years.

We are supporters of the YMCA. Members of our editorial board have had memberships at the YMCA on multiple occasions. We print any letter, positive or negative, that we receive from the YMCA, and we are also running a guest editorial from a YMCA supporter in today’s newspaper.

 We also ran a large front page story last Sunday that explained all of the details of the YMCA, based on an interview we conducted with CEO/Executive Director Kelly Gaudreau and Dr. Jerry Ransom.

This non-profit has a tremendous positive impact in our community. The fact that Greenville has a YMCA, where many cities our size do not, is impressive.

The YMCA clearly needs a new building, soon. Anyone who walks through the current building can see clear structural issues. The 50+ year old building is on its last leg.

Therefore, we support the YMCA building a new YMCA facility that could host events. It would certainly benefit the Hunt County community, provide increased economic opportunities and serve as a gathering place for local residents.

However, we believe that the city council and the YMCA has moved forward too quickly with this project, and should take the time to receive more bids, raise more money, establish both a management and a building committee, conduct more research on possible events they could host and iron out more details before the city comes to the citizens of Greenville with this request.

Obviously, there are some things that simply cannot be done unless Greenville voters approve the $15 million bond. And, we acknowledge that the YMCA has a short time frame in which to accomplish this. But we believe the project has been moved forward too quickly. The YMCA and the city could put more time and effort into the planning of the facility and also prepare a more comprehensive marketing campaign to explain the project to voters and increase support.

We don’t blame the YMCA for working so hard to get this project completed quickly. And we certainly understand the city council and other government and private organizations’ support of the project. As Kelly Gaudreau has said, the bond election is the purest form of democracy. Greenville voters can balance the pros and cons, and make a choice for themselves.

We also believe that it is possible to both support the YMCA and want what is best for Greenville. And rushing a project of this size would not be what is best for Greenville.

The opinion expressed here is that of the Herald-Banner editorial board. The board can be contacted at editor@heraldbanner.com.

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