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November 14, 2012

Council appoints YMCA committee

GREENVILLE — The Greenville City Council agreed Tuesday to back the creation of a panel which will investigate whether a new YMCA is needed.

Mayor Steve Reid said the committee has to get busy, if the Council is to consider floating a bond proposal next spring.

“There is a deadline that they’ve got to meet, which is the end of February,” Reid said.

The Council members present Tuesday voted 4-0 to approve the creation of a committee, including naming Jerry Ransom as chairman.

Ransom will be tasked with actually recruiting the committee.

“We’d like to meet as soon as possible in order to meet these deadlines,” Ransom said. “We’d just like to get started.”

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 and Ransom has been one of the individuals involved in fundraising for the new building.

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

Ransom told the Council that a preliminary list of names is being considered, including current and former YMCA board members and representatives of area service agencies.

“We tried to identify a broad cross section of the community,” Ransom said. “I would imagine through this process we’ve identified about 25 people and there are 15 people on the list right now.”

Ransom estimated the new facility would cost about $8 million, with approximately half of the amount already raised or pledged. The committee would be charged with coming up with a projected cost and an income model.

“We may need to figure out, if we do this, that it will work financially for the community,” Ransom said.

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.

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