Washington Evening Journal
http://washington-ia.villagesoup.com/p/1096779

Neighbors Growing Together | Aug 21, 2014

Planning the Y’s future

By Xiomara Levsen | Dec 30, 2013
Becky Harkema

A public forum will be held on Monday, Jan. 6, 2014, about the future of the Washington Community Y.
The topic of the meeting is “program space needs.” It will begin at 6 p.m. and will be held in the Y’s Men’s room, said Becky Harkema, director of the YMCA of Washington County.
At the meeting, a brief presentation given from community members about the needs for programs at the Y and findings from the architect’s study of the building will be given before discussion is held, Harkema said.
“I hope the room is packed, we have great attendance, and that there is good discussion about the future,” Harkema said.
Two key questions will also come up to be discussed with attendees at the meeting.
“One is about the location. Do we stay or do we move and build brand new?” Harkema asked. “The second is if we leave our current facility, what will happen with the building?”
This will be the first public session held. Another one is scheduled for Feb. 22, 2014, but this could change, Harkema said.
“We may schedule another one in between, depending on how the discussion goes,” she said. “It is important for people to understand the YMCA board is committed to doing something.”
There is a definite need for something to be done, Harkema said. The current building is having spacing issues when it comes to programming, and with the age of the building it’s becoming a financial issue, Harkema said.
“Money has been borrowed from the endowment fund and hasn’t been returned,” she said. “If we keep doing that, the YMCA won’t be financially viable. Also, we need to do something because we’re running out of space, which isn’t making things viable for the programs we currently offer.”

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