Washington Evening Journal
http://washington-ia.villagesoup.com/p/1226697

Neighbors Growing Together | Oct 25, 2014

Y moves forward with land purchase

By David Hotle | Aug 15, 2014

Reporting that the Washington Community Y board had voted to proceed with a plan to build a building on the land designated for a wellness park, Washington City Administrator Brent Hinson said today that the council would set a public hearing for the sale of the land on Tuesday.
Hinson said today that no action would be taken to transfer the land along West Fifth Street to the Y at the regular city council meeting scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday in the former Washington Public Library. He said the only action is to set the hearing, which is legally required to sell city-owned land. He said that the land in question is 4.8 acres and the sale price is $50,000.
“The Y board approved that and Becky (Harkema, Washington Community Y director) has already signed the agreement on behalf of the Y,” Hinson said.
He said the hearing would likely be during the Sept. 2 meeting. He confirmed that the Y’s intent was to build a new building on the land.
Harkema said today that the Y hasn’t begun its capital campaign to construct the building. She said that if the council does approve selling the land to the Y, the facility would be redesigned before the campaign would start. She confirmed the intent of the Y board is to construct a new facility at the proposed Wellness Park.
During a public hearing on March 6, a plan to build a new facility at the Wellness Park was unveiled. A new structure at the Wellness Park would come in at $9.6 million, but the downtown facility would still house the day care.
The new site would have about 162 parking stalls and a pickup and drop-off area.
Thad Long of SVPA Architects said the pool and the gym in the plan are the exact sizes as they are in the renovation plans. The building also has spaces that will allow for future expansion to include racquetball courts and day care facilities. He said that they weren’t included so the project could meet the proposed $9.6 million budget. He said the plan would address all the priorities the community made for the facility.
The daycare program and racquetball courts would remain at the downtown Y building. Part of the building would be renovated for the programs. The remaining parts of the building would be closed off to keep from being charged for utilities on the area.
A plan to renovate the existing facility was also discussed. It would add on to the south and would cost about $11.6 million.
During a facilities study held in 2012, it was determined that the existing facilities did not provide enough space for expansion of programs. Harkema said that the Y had been borrowing from its endowment to pay for operations. For the sustainability of the Y, the board began investigating expansion.

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