Cottage Grove, YMCA in talks on community centerThe city of Cottage Grove and the YMCA are nearing a deal to partner in the operation of a proposed community center in the city.
The city of Cottage Grove and the YMCA are nearing a deal to partner in the operation of a proposed community center in the city, officials said.
A city task force that has studied the issue for almost two years is set to deliver its final report to the Cottage Grove City Council later this month that recommends moving forward with a community center project and striking an agreement with the YMCA to provide programming at the facility.
Talks between city and YMCA officials have been ongoing since January, when the results of a YMCA-commissioned survey indicated widespread support for building a community center in Cottage Grove.
Mayor Myron Bailey said recently talks have “been very good,” and said he expects an agreement could be struck before the Community Center Task Force report is presented April 20. City Administrator Ryan Schroeder indicated the city would likely enter into a letter of intent to collaborate with the YMCA on a project.
“I believe that this will happen,” Bailey said.
YMCA officials could not be reached for comment.
The public-private partnership is key to a community center project, officials say. The city would reap annual savings by eliminating ongoing operating costs of a community center.
“The city could build its own community center but the cost would be significant. We would anticipate experiencing operating deficits,” Schroeder said. “With a partnership, the upfront cost is reduced and the operating cost is non-existent.”
Staff would formalize the agreement, Bailey said, and would then tackle “how much and how big.
“It definitely isn’t going to cost as much as us doing it on our own by a long-shot,” Bailey said.
The task force’s final report, a draft of which was presented to members of city advisory commissions at a recent all-commission meeting, states that development of a community center would fill a need in Cottage Grove and would help attract residential and commercial development to the city.
Construction of the facility is estimated to cost between $10 million and $15 million.
The report also recommends a community center should include, at a minimum: an aquatics center; teen and senior center; fitness center; indoor playground; multi-function space; gymnasium with walking track; and an outdoor water play area for kids.
It also makes the case for constructing a community center near the site of the city’s planned new city hall and public safety building on Ravine Parkway near Keats Avenue. The report’s preferred location was a site that did not rate highly among survey respondents.
City Council members will decide whether to move forward with a community center project after receiving the task force recommendations.
Construction of the facility would go to a referendum, unlike the city’s advancing new city hall plans, Bailey said. That is because a community center “is a want, not a need,” he said. “And because we’re going to have to raise revenue through taxes for this venture, this facility, we need a community buy-in.”
Click on the attached link to see the full Community Center Task Force Final Report.