Council, YMCA studies Aquatics Center Plans

Council, YMCA studies Aquatics Center Plans Click to Enlarge Photo:

Aug 19, 2013 at 8:00 pm

ST. CLOUD (KNSI) - More details were discussed in an ongoing effort to create a large, multi-faceted community aquatics facility in St. Cloud.

The city council held Monday night's council study session at the St. Cloud YMCA - who has been tapped to partner in the project - and heard from the organization's leadership team on their own planning efforts.

According to planning documents, if the partnership is approved, the $22 million aquatics center, located in Whitney Park, would be paid for with $10 million in capped local sales tax dollars.

The rest would come through fundraising efforts by the YMCA.

YMCA Executive Director Greg Gack kicked off the study session with a guided tour of the organization's facilities. Gack says, when discussing partnerships, it's crucial for city leadership to understand what the YMCA offers and how the organization functions as what he calls an "All-inclusive community organization."

"We, like the city, want to continue to reinvest back in the community," Gack explains. "It's really critical for us to understand how the YMCA wants to operate in the future when approacing this project. It was important that they walk through the facility, see what we offer, and use that as a platform for future discussions."

Gack says the YMCA's own feasibility study projects they'll be able to raise a minimum of $7 million toward the center. Gack felt the study session was positive, and they'll continue to study the project and their own fundraising plans in the weeks ahead.

Under the plan, the aquatics center building and property would be owned by the city, with the YMCA as a long-term lessee.

Council members and representatives from the YMCA also discussed efforts to bring other partners into the project - including smaller area cities - to bolster funding and expedite the process.

If project plans are approved, construction could begin in 2015. 

The city council is expected to take the project up in their next action session.

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