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November 30, 2013

Waiting on the YMCA: facility in limbo

GREENVILLE — The status of a proposed new YMCA/event center for Greenville is in limbo, although there is a chance the individual who had been one of project’s biggest supporters may decide to rejoin the effort.

A little more than one month ago, the Greenville City Council decided to wait before proceeding on efforts on choosing an architect for the facility.

City Manager Massoud Ebrahim was scheduled October 22 to brief the council on the status of submissions of statements of qualifications from architectural and engineering firms interested in the project, in order for the council to decide whether to allow Ebrahim to proceed with reviewing each of the company’s qualifications.

Ebrahim said this week he is still waiting on the council to give him directions one way or the other.

“I have not had any instructions or directions from the council,” Ebrahim said. “So, I have not done anything.”

Prior to the start of the meeting, Dr. Jerry Ransom, the chairman of the committee who had sought to place the $15 million bond proposition on this past May’s election ballot, presented the council with a letter in which he formally announced he was withdrawing his $1 million pledge toward the project, indicating there were still too many unanswered questions surrounding the project for the city to proceed. In the letter, Ransom said that without a formal understanding of the complete partnership of all of the agencies which had committed their support to the proposal, it was too soon to move forward on building plans.

When reached earlier this week, Ransom said he may not have pulled completely out of the project.

“I still have some hope some things can happen,” Ransom said, adding there may be some developments in “the next week or so” which might help the project move forward.

“If it does, I am going to be back in with my pledge,” Ransom said, without providing specifics on what he was expecting to take place. “If it can get back on track, then we’ll be OK.”

Kelly Gaudreau, CEO/President of the YMCA of Greenville & Hunt County, could not be reached for comment about the project.

The Greenville City Council is scheduled to meet December 10 for its next and final regular session of the year.

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