City to partner with YMCA on project

Tuesday evening, the Washington City Council approved partnering with the YMCA of Washington County to seek a mutual grant from Enhance Iowa to benefit both the Y?s building project and the construction of the proposed Wellness Park.

The four members present voted to enter an agreement to seek a joint grant from the state organization. Council members Steve Gault and Kathryn Salazar were not at the meeting. Earlier Tuesday, the Y Board unveiled its new design for a building to be constructed on five acres of land that was formerly part of the city?s proposed Wellness Park. The Wellness park project in continuing on the remaining land in the area.

?We are confident the revised plans are the best possible option for the YMCA and the entire community,? David Mitchell, president of the YMCA Board, told the council. ?We are excited with the work the city has begun with the Wellness Park, which is located adjacent to the building. The completion of both projects would be a tremendous asset to the entire community. The YMCA would like to express its interest in partnering with the City of Washington to jointly apply to Enhance Iowa.?

Council member Jaron Rosien said he would be happy to vote to help the Y. He asked about what would happen to the current building when the project moves ahead. Mitchell said it would remain open so the pool could be used until funds are collected for the second phase of the project that will include a six-lane pool. The Y?s pool is the only indoor pool in Washington. Mitchell also said the pool was built in 1924 and the Y Board is concerned about catastrophic failure at some point.

Enhance Iowa will meet next in July. Mitchell said the Y Board is working with a consultant to help get ready for the meeting. City Administrator Brent Hinson said the designs and cost estimates for the park have to be updated.

?I expect that process to move quickly,? Hinson said. He explained the city is using money it had already determined would be used for the Wellness Park as a grant match for the Y.

The council members expressed support for the Y?s project, saying it would be great for the community.

Rosien also commented that several people from the YMCA had attended the meeting to show support for the project.

During discussion, Mitchell said the y board had been discussing the project since 2007.