YMCA proposes $24 million facility at Mountain View Commons

Funding plan asks for creation of new metro parks district

PORT TOWNSEND — The Olympic Peninsula YMCA has proposed a $24 million full-service facility at the Mountain View Commons in Port Townsend that would renovate the existing city-owned pool and build on the Y’s existing footprint with a wellness center.

Jeff Randall, the project coordinator for the Olympic Peninsula YMCA, presented funding plans during a special Port Townsend City Council meeting Thursday night.

About 75 people attended the meeting, which included resolutions to send both the proposed Y project and the proposal for the city to operate the Port Townsend Golf Club to the budget and finance committee to determine if either are feasible.

Look at needs

Council members also authorized City Manager David Timmons to negotiate an agreement with a consultant to study a needs assessment for the city’s parks and open spaces.

The contract is not to exceed $90,000 and would be paid through an interfund loan, possibly from the water/sewer fund, said Nora Mitchell, the city’s finance and administrative services director.

The Y has had a few different proposals in recent years, and officials have gathered important information along the way, Randall said.

This pared-down version would demolish the existing pool and reuse the gym building for a total space between 43,000 square feet and 45,000 square feet with about 200 parking spaces, he said.

A 2015 proposal had the building at 61,000 square feet with costs between $30 million and $38 million.

The latest proposal could be fully funded and operational by summer 2022, Randall said.

Funding would be based on public-private partnerships, with $12 million coming from the possibility of forming a metropolitan parks district, Randall said.

Parks district

Either the city or Jefferson County — or both — would have to put a measure before voters to create a parks district, depending on the proposed district’s boundaries, Timmons said.

Neither the city nor the county has placed such a measure on the ballot in the past, Timmons said.

Randall suggested the city look at the current Port Townsend School District boundary and subtract Gardiner since it’s outside of the 15-minute drive-time window the Y believes would encompass its core audience.

In terms of private funds, Randall said the Y believes it has the capacity to raise $6 million, and it will ask its partners for $4 million.

A recent partnership agreement for the Mountain View Commons included the city, county, school district, Jefferson County Hospital District No. 2 and the Y. The agreement expired in December 2018.

An additional $3 million to $5 million may be obtained in state funding through capital grants in the 2021 and ’22 legislative cycles, Randall said.

While council members moved the resolution to the finance committee, some said it was an aggressive timeline and that they wanted to learn more about the Y’s annual business plan.

“The YMCA hasn’t been reporting to the city, so I would be asking to hear reports about programs and people involved with education,” council member Michelle Sandoval said.

Randall said it’s currently supported with fees from classes and programs, and the full-service building would be sustained with an annual membership model.

He estimated annual operating costs at $1.74 million, with about $1 million annually in salaries, wages and benefits for 70-80 full-time and part-time staff members.

About 1,900 memberships per year would bring in an estimated $1.88 million in annual revenue, Randall said.

“The Y in Sequim has significantly more memberships than that,” he said.

Among public comments, Port Townsend Athletic Club owner Teresa Hoffmann was supportive of the pool renovation and the addition of youth programs the Y would bring, but she was concerned about a city subsidy.

“I am in total agreement with everything about the pool, but I do not want to get whisked underneath,” Hoffmann said. “I have [run the athletic club] without public money, with my own sweat and hard work, and I have 700 wonderful members.

“I would offer myself to be on a committee to be a positive solution, not to take away from business.”

Randall said the Y is sensitive to other health and wellness facilities.

“We have been interacting with those businesses, and we would like to find ways to collaborate with those businesses, but no business is protected from competition,” he said.

More information about the Port Townsend Golf Club will be provided next week.

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Jefferson County Managing Editor Brian McLean can be reached at 360-385-2335, ext. 6, or at bmclean@peninsuladailynews.com.

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