YMCA Asks City For $2 Million For Expansion
Representatives of the Casper Family YMCA have asked the city council for $2 million for toward the $14 million it needs for its major expansion.
"The critical component is receiving this as soon as possible," YMCA trustee Tom Brauer told the city council at a work session Tuesday.
Last week, the YMCA unveiled its plans for a $14 million expansion: A 38,000-square-foot building with a field house, wellness center, group exercise studios, child care facility and a membership lounge.
The fundraising campaign has already raised more than $10 million toward its goal.
If approved, the city's contribution would be between $1.6 million and $1.7 million for infrastructure improvements affecting the city, said Brauer, who as president of the architecture firm CEPI is donating his time to design the project.
Those improvements include modification of a traffic signal, a 10-foot retaining wall, a recycling center, and relocating two water lines and capping another line under the property, he said.
The city has been tied to the YMCA since the early 1960s because its buildings at 15th and Beech streets are on city property. Councilman Steve Cathey said the city is obligated to take care of water lines and traffic lights, anyway.
City officials and YMCA representatives have been talking for months about a possible contribution from the city from excess optional one-cent sales tax revenues, councilwoman Robin Mundell said.
Meanwhile, other organizations are now putting in requests for those one-cent funds, and Mundell said she wondered how the city can fairly allocate the money to the YMCA.
Mayor Charlie Powell said the city's recreation center at 1801 E. Fourth St., is being "loved to death" and the YMCA would be an extension of municipal recreational services. "This (request) goes to the front of the line."
The timing, Brauer said, is important because the infrastructure improvements need to be made before other construction can begin in June. The hill where the new buildings will go is mostly clay, which will require foundation work into bedrock. The retaining wall will assist with drainage, he said.
The timing is critical to make good progress before the winter arrives, Brauer said. "If we delay a year, the costs go up."