Surveying starts today to weigh possible new YMCA building in East Jefferson

By Charlie Bermant
Peninsula Daily News

PORT TOWNSEND — Beginning today, several thousand Jefferson County residents will receive survey phone calls to collect opinions about a possible new YMCA facility.

The Olympic Peninsula YMCA, Jefferson Healthcare hospital and the JeffCo Aquatic Coalition are working together to fund the survey being conducted by Daxko T2, a YMCA-certified research firm.

The group is exploring the feasibility of a full-facility YMCA that will also include outpatient rehabilitation and therapy programs delivered by Jefferson Healthcare.

“We are hoping to create a plan that will sustain our operations for the long term,” said Erica Delma, Jefferson County YMCA executive director.

Delma said there are no firm time or money estimations.

But she said a new Y would fall between $8 million and $12 million to build, and the effort could take up to five years.

Residents will be asked about the role of the YMCA in the county and what needs the organization should attempt to fill in the future.

“We need to determine if a traditional YMCA model, such as the new facility in Silverdale, makes sense for Jefferson County.”

For several years, the YMCA has operated out of the Mountain View Commons, vacating much of its space to accommodate a temporary location for the Port Townsend Library.

The library is scheduled to move back into the lower level of the Carnegie Building this summer.

“The YMCA excels at finding community resources and putting them to work where they are most needed,” Delma said.

Since several thousand people will be contacted, at least 800 responses will be needed for an adequate sample, Delma said.

One of the issues will be to determine whether the current pool at Mountain View should be rehabilitated or a new one constructed, she said.

Among the questions is a determination of a favored location to construct a traditional YMCA facility, with the choice among adding on to the current facility at Mountain View Commons, using a portion of the athletic field or locating within the Port Hadlock/Irondale urban growth area.

“We’d like to see the YMCA stay in Mountain View and continue to use this space, signing a long term lease,” said Port Townsend Development Director Rick Sepler.

“But we will use this data to see if constructing in Irondale makes more sense.”

Following the data-gathering process the partners will determine if the project is sustainable operationally and then move forward with a fundraising study to determine how much money can be raised and from what source.

“The YMCA, the JeffCo Aquatic Coalition and Jefferson Healthcare are united in the goal to work for a healthier community and provide programs and services accessible to all,” said Kyle Cronk the chief executive officer of the Olympic Peninsula YMCA in Port Angeles.

“This project is a collaboration of three organizations who share a commitment to the health, fitness, and safety of all county residents,” said Earll Murman, JeffCo Aquatic Coalition president.

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Jefferson County Editor Charlie Bermant can be reached at 360-385-2335 or at charlie.bermant@peninsuladailynews.com.

Last modified: May 04. 2014 5:27PM
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