YMCA begins planning to build at Wellness Park site
The Washington Community Y is hoping to “team up” with the City of Washington in the creation of the Wellness Park and possibly the construction of a new Y building on the city’s property north of town.
During the Washington City Council’s work session Wednesday, Y director Becky Harkema said that during a recent planning session, the Y’s board of directors had recently been examining facilities planning. She said the existing Y’s space may not be sufficient to provide quality programs for all the people coming in. She said that she was excited to hear the discussion of planning to expand the Y. She said the Y will do a feasibility study to see if the wellness park would be sufficient to hold a Y building. She also said the study would cover uses for the existing building.
“On June 17 we had a board retreat to discuss all of this because we also felt the board should come to the table with some kind of recommendation,” Harkema said. “The board’s recommendation is to build a new facility and what we would like to do is partner with the city at the proposed Wellness Park.”
The building would most likely be built at the “boot” area of the parcel of land closest to West Fifth Street.
She said the board isn’t far enough along in the planning process to determine what the building would look like.
The city council members unanimously said they would be open to further discussions with the Y on the subject. All stressed that they wouldn’t use taxpayer money to help build a Y building.
City administrator Brent Hinson said that Harkema was making certain that the council approved of the plan so she could talk with potential investors. He said that the council had known the land was being acquired for future recreational purposes when it was purchased from the Washington School District, and part of the reason the land was sold at the price it was is because of the plans for a wellness park.
Harkema said she had talked with people in the community and learned that a concern was families not being able to attend multiple sporting events that are scheduled at the same time at different locations.