The YMCA is preparing plans to move to a location along Floyd Avenue, building a new facility from scratch, with the city taking a role in redeveloping the old facility into a mixed-use facility or a new housing project. Arguments for this move were presented in October, and they were focused on the age of the current facility, the lack of room to grow, and the need to appeal to a larger population.
Arguments against were primarily the loss of access to inner-city kids, and one more move to take a valuable asset out of the inner city. However, the bottom line costs were not discussed.
A new facility of the size and scope of the current one is likely on the order of $25 million, even if the city provides the land. The current facility needs updating – without doubt – but the structure and the pools are in good shape and there is space available for expansion if nearby properties are purchased and removed. Consider this – for a fraction of what a new facility would cost, the YMCA could purchase and clear all the properties between Thomas, Bloomfield, Stevens and Madison more than doubling their current plot. Only the historic district properties along George would remain to share the entire block.
For another fraction of what a new facility would cost, the existing facility could be thoroughly renovated and even expanded, getting what the YMCA wants yet keeping them where many would like them to remain. My estimate is they could do all of this for less than half of what new construction would cost, but an architect is needed to evaluate and provide specifics.
I am a member and a neighbor of the YMCA. I want the best decision, but I also want all options considered. The current location next to the Rome Arts & Community Center and within a block of the Library – is not bad.
— Mike Corbett, Rome