Washington Evening Journal
https://washington-ia.villagesoup.com/p/1708228

Fairfield Ledger   Mt. Pleasant News
Neighbors Growing Together | Dec 17, 2017

Soapbox: A Journal guest opinion

Nov 30, 2017

Residents of Washington, it is time for your voices to be heard loud and clear and inform the YMCA Board of Directors that the majority of us do not want our YMCA to be on West Fifth Street, but rather to be remodeled and built onto and left at its present location.

In the past, the YMCA has been upgraded and built onto and always left in its present location (why?).

It is our largest building, and it is the largest part of our downtown area. It is also a very convenient location, being about equal distance from all parts of town.

Also in the past the directors of the Y, realizing that someday they may want additional room, purchased the property next door for that purpose. That purpose is now.

Recently the Y Board asked the city to create a $3 million bond to help finance the new Y on Fifth Street. This needed to be voted on by the people of Washington. The vote was 75 percent against and 25 percent for. Think about that for a minute. Out of every four people who voted, three of them said “No.” I have seen bond issues fail before, but nothing like that.

The vote was not about the small amount that would be added to your property taxes, the vote was about “location” and the entire project.

When the Library Board and other volunteers were planning to build a new library they didn’t decide to put it out by the Pizza Ranch or maybe on the lot north of Modine, they said, “Let’s buy a couple of buildings on the square and build it there,” and they did just that. What great thinking on their part. Not only did it enhance the looks of downtown, but it is extremely convenient. In all my time in Washington I have never seen the Library used as much as it is now. Thank you, Library Board!

The financing for the Y project is going very poorly. They report they have raised about $3 million to date. If you take away the pledges of the Board members, they would have raised about $1.5 million. I know many people who are normally good givers who are not giving to this project. They would give in a heartbeat if the Board would update the Y in its present location.

Washington is a pro-YMCA town. We are all thankful that we have YMCA and are pleased with the work they do in our community. If this idea to build a new YMCA on West Fifth Street was what the majority of the residents of Washington thought was the thing to do, they would already have pledged money to do it.

I have written about my thoughts on this project and I know some won’t agree, but I also know many do agree with me. Think about the vote – 75 percent no, 25 percent yes. What I don’t understand is why the Board has not picked up on the pulse of the community. People not pledging, vote of the people and so forth.

You who agree can do nothing and sit on your hands, or you can let your voices be heard.

Richard Paul

Washington

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