1 of 1
Eighth Street YMCAThe century-old downtown Kansas City, Kan., YMCA at 8th and Armstrong will stay open a year under an agreement reached today between the Unified Government and the YMCA. (Staff photo)
Eighth Street YMCA
The Eighth Street YMCA at 900 N. 8th in downtown Kansas City, Kan., will not close on April 12, because of an agreement tonight for the Unified Government to maintain current operations for one year.
The temporary solution was approved by the UG Commission on an 8-0 unanimous vote tonight.
Dennis Hays, UG administrator, said the UG staff has been in negotiations with the YMCA and has worked out an agreement to keep the YMCA open for a year, while the YMCA, UG and community work on a permanent, long-term solution.
Under the agreement, the UG will pay $10,000 a month for the Y’s operational expenses, and will contribute $2,500 a month to a capital maintenance account. In return, the UG will have the option to acquire the century-old building at 8th and Armstrong at no cost. There will be a maximum liability to the UG of $100,000 in 2013.
Commissioner Brian McKiernan was quoted in a UG news release as saying, “The agreement ensures that our citizens will have uninterrupted access to a facility that enriches the quality of life through social, mental and physical activity; this is our top priority. This contract will allow the UG staff ample time to continue dialogue with the YMCA and community groups to identify a long-term solution to providing physical fitness and recreational opportunities for members who use the downtown facility on a regular basis.”
YMCA officials signed off on the agreement at a board meeting this afternoon.
Chamber of Commerce President Cindy Cash said she thought it was great that the YMCA will stay open, and she credited Bill Hutton’s work on it.
Hutton, a member of the YMCA board, said that the entire Y board stepped up to work on it, and it was a great effort by the UG and YMCA to address the short term, and allow time to address the long term.
In the long term, there needs to be a public-private partnership, Hutton said. The goal was to raise $12 to $15 million for a new facility.
Hutton pointed out that because of finances, three YMCAs in the Greater Kansas City area faced closure, but the UG was the only government that stepped up to save their Y on a temporary basis so far. Raytown and Independence were unable to provide any financial support.
“For us to maintain our current facility, the Y is calculating a yearly deficit of $150,000,” Hutton said about the downtown Kansas City, Kan., YMCA.
He said that current employees at the downtown KCK YMCA, if they have not already left for other jobs, will keep their jobs. That will include two full-time positions and 20 part-time positions.
The UG’s news release added that the “UG will look forward to working through a process that will achieve the strategic goals of the Healthy Communities initiative to provide recreational and fitness opportunities for the community.”
According to the UG agreement, funding is contingent upon commissioners approving it in the budget in August.
The funding will come out of the UG’s fiscal year 2014 monies, Hays said. That budget will be approved by the commission in August 2013. According to the agreement, if the UG Commission does not approve the combined $12,500 monthly appropriation for 2014, then the YMCA will discontinue operations on Aug. 12, 2013.
The agreement also calls for the UG to locate an alternative location for daily YMCA operations if the facility becomes financially unreasonable.
The current hours, maintenance, staff, programming and equipment will be maintained, according to the agreement. The agreement says there will be no rejoining fees for any prior YMCA members who allowed their membership to lapse in the past 60 days, and UG employees will be offered the Healthy Living Partner membership rate.