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March 23, 2013

Council to consider YMCA/event center support

GREENVILLE — The Greenville City Council intends next week to consider voting on a letter of support concerning the new YMCA/event center project included on the May election ballot.

Exactly what the letter says was unknown as of Friday evening, as it was not included among the documents presented to the Council ahead of Tuesday’s regular session.

“They are going to wait and provide that at the meeting, along with a news release,” said Lori Philyaw, Public Relations Consultant for the City of Greenville.

The letter from Dr. Jerry J. Ransom apparently is designed to show his support for the City of Greenville in the issuance and repayment of up to $15 million in general obligation bonds, should the measure pass during the election.

The Council is scheduled to vote on a resolution formally accepting Ransom’s letter, during the regular session agenda starting at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the Municipal Building, 2821 Washington Street. A work session is also set for 5 p.m. Tuesday.

Ransom was the chairman of the committee which presented the proposal for the YMCA/event center to the Council, which then voted to add it to the May 11 ballot.

“The City Council furthermore accepts all conditions outlined in the letter including but not limited to the City Council appointing a Building Committee and a Management Committee,” according to the resolution to be voted on Tuesday.

Ransom has previously recommended the Council create the committees to oversee the construction and operation of the facility.

Bonds for the YMCA/event center could add as much as 7 cents to the city’s property tax rate, although organizers of the project say they have received commitments from several entities toward the cost of the facility, which could reduce the potential tax burden.

The proposal calls for a 70,000 square foot combined facility, with a hotel style lobby, restrooms, porte-cochere, truck service entrance and storage space for tables and chairs to be built next to the Greenville SportsPark on Monty Stratton Boulevard.  When used as an events center the gymnasium would seat 600 people at round tables of 10.

It would include a triple gym with walking track, climbing wall, indoor recreation and lap pool, wellness center, IT center, teen center and service areas designated exclusively for YMCA partnerships.

Ransom has noted the project has received endorsements from Hunt Regional Healthcare, the GEUS board, Paris Junior College, L-3, Cytec, and the Helms Hotels Group, which operates the Holiday Inn Express and Best Western hotels in Greenville.

Judge Andrew Bench, who serves on the YMCA board, has said should the new facility be approved, the current structure at 1915 Stanford Street and the land it sits on will be sold, although the 50 year-old structure would not survive.

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