Group would use money to renovate building, retire debt

Last updated: August 06. 2014 9:13PM - 1786 Views
By Aly Shinkle ashinkle@civitasmedia.com



Lora Abernathy/Wilmington News JournalNicole Quallen, president of the Clinton County YMCA's board, addresses Clinton County commissioners Wednesday morning while a group of about 25 people listened to the presentation. The YMCA is asking for $1.7 million of county money to upgrade its current facility and retire its debt.
Lora Abernathy/Wilmington News JournalNicole Quallen, president of the Clinton County YMCA's board, addresses Clinton County commissioners Wednesday morning while a group of about 25 people listened to the presentation. The YMCA is asking for $1.7 million of county money to upgrade its current facility and retire its debt.
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WILMINGTON — The Clinton County YMCA asked Clinton County commissioners on Wednesday for $1.7 million to retire its debt and improve its existing facility.


Of the $1.7 million, $400,000 would be applied toward the existing debt, $150,000 would be for new equipment and $1.1 million would fund facility renovations, according to Tim Helm, the CEO of the Greater Dayton YMCA with whom the Clinton County YMCA has a management agreement.


The total asking cost would also cover any additional problems the renovation might involve.


Nicole Quallen, the president of the YMCA’s board, said that the Health Foundation of Clinton County (formerly the CMH Foundation) will match up to $500,000, with those dollars earmarked for programming at the facility.


There are two problems the Clinton County YMCA faces: The existing debt and a building that does not stimulate membership, Helm said.


“YMCAs struggle when they have to serve debt and that has been one of the issues that has really held this Y back over a period of time,” he said.


Helm said potential improvements would include a new Crossfit center, an updated entrance, lobby area, front desk, reduction of locker room space, fitness center expansion, new carpet, paint, lighting, gym renovation and locker room updates.


“Membership is the life-blood of any healthy YMCA … We don’t have the right facility right now to really drive the membership piece,” Helm said.


Commissioner Pat Haley asked who owns the building.


“At the end of the 22 years, … I believe that the building goes back to the college … It is a very tangled agreement that has been written between the two entities,” Quallen said.


The initial lease, which was reportedly an agreement between Wilmington College, expires in 22 years, Helm said.


“Isn’t that a real basic question that has to be answered, because you’re asking for money, wouldn’t we have to know who owns that building, can’t legal minds come together?” Haley asked.


Commissioner Mike Curry asked if the YMCA had shared its vision and plan with the college.


Helm said they tried to set up a meeting with WC prior to Monday’s meeting, but one was not able to be scheduled until next week.


Haley also asked why the debt was not paid off when the YMCA received a $500,000 donation from RegionalCare when it bought Clinton Memorial Hospital.


“The biggest issue at the time was the the roof was in disrepair,” Helm said. “That was a sore issue with the college, and we felt that was the priority at the time.”


“Obviously there has to be community buy in. At the time, why wasn’t some effort made for the community to come up with the money to fix that roof, because it sounds like you maybe fixed a roof on a building that didn’t belong to you?” Haley asked.


“Per the agreement, even though we don’t own the building, we are responsible for the repairs … legally we were responsible for the roof,” Helm said.


In November of last year, the YMCA asked commissioners for $4 million from proceeds from the sale of Clinton Memorial Hospital to help pay for a new $8.1 million facility to be called The Clinton County Community Health and Wellness Center.


YMCA officials said that $4 million had already been committed with the Health Foundation pledging $1 million, and the former county hospital board pledging $3 million toward the project. Larry and Terri Roberts, owners of R+L Carriers, YMCA officials said, would donate the property.


Including the costs of bank fees, contingency, equipment, land, marketing, technology and signage, the cost was estimated at $12.1 million.


The YMCA withdrew its proposal in March citing wishes to “pursue additional options.”


In other business, the sheriff approached the commissioners to discuss a proposal that would enhance the security at the Clinton County Jail.


Sheriff Ralph D. Fizer Jr. and Col. Brian Prickett of the Clinton County Sheriff’s Office requested an update to the existing jail control system, which is 13 years old and was installed when the jail was built.


“It boils down to the security of the jail. I know it is a pain, there is no doubt about it — I agree — but it’s one of those things, we do not want to risk someone’s life or an escape,” Fizer said.


The update would encompass an upgrade of the base control system, software and camera replacement and an update to the jail’s uninterruptible power source, which the facility would rely on in case of a power loss.


The projected initial cost, not including the uninterruptible power source, is $95,435.


The update to the system came as a recommendation by the Bureau of Adult Detention.


Aly Shinkle can be reached at 937-382-2574 ext. 2510 or on Twitter @alyshinkle.


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