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YMCA raises $7 million, half of goal, and makes plans to build
Reaching the halfway mark in fundraising efforts with $7 million in donations, the YMCA of Martha's Vineyard moved forward this week with plans for making the dream of a new facility come true.
(From left) Superintendent James Weiss, high school principal Peg Regan, and YMCA executive director John Clese wait their turns to sign the land lease between the Y and high school, as board member and counsel Michael Dutton adds his signature. Mark Baumhofer, Judy Crawford, Y president Chuck Hughes, and Susan Parker look on. Photo by Janet Hefler
"We're keeping to our commitment of building a building with $11 million, no matter what we have to do," said YMCA president Chuck Hughes. "We pulled the half gym out, because it's less expensive in the long run to build a whole gym than half at a time. We're planning to do the whole thing at once, but not at phase one unless we get the money."
An aerial map showing the location of the new YMCA facility on Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road.
For those who wait to make charitable contributions at the end of the tax year, Ms. Doyle wanted to remind them to remember the Y.
In addition, Ms. Doyle said, "We'll be following up with people and letting them know about challenge grants," through which donors try to create an incentive for other potential donors by offering a dollar for dollar gift over a defined period of time.
The Y is proposing its 40,000 square-foot facility based on projected usage from results of a market study conducted a few years ago by the Winfield Group in Atlanta, Ga. Amsler Mashek MacLean (AMM), a Boston-based architectural firm that will design the Y, estimated it will cost approximately $14 million to develop, build, furnish, and endow a facility that size.
The Winfield Group estimated that about 1,585 individuals, or 16.7 percent of the year-round population, will participate as members of the Y by its third year of operations in the new facility.
The YMCA is projecting an annual operating budget of $1.7 million to staff, operate and maintain the facility by year three. The Y anticipates revenues of an estimated $887,000 from year-round membership fees and $99,600 from summer resident membership fees.
In addition to selling memberships, Ms. Doyle pointed out, "The Y also has a philosophy of not turning away anyone with an inability to pay, so we are going to be giving scholarships and want to support families."
The operating plan assumes an annual reserve of $100,000 by year three to provide for facility repairs and improvements, and equipment repairs and replacement.
"Of the $14 million we are raising, $11 million is for the building, and $3 million for endowments," Ms. Doyle explained.
Included in the $7 million in donations raised so far is a $2 million endowment for the Y's teen center in memory of Alexandra Gagnon. Her family donated the money to the Y in the hope of providing healthy recreational alternatives for young people in the community, Ms. Doyle said.
YMCA director John Clese said the teen center will be two stories, with the downstairs left "unfinished" so teens can be involved in the process of creating their own space.
The first task for the YMCA before finalizing building plans involved signing a lease on the property owned by Martha's Vineyard Regional High School (MVRHS). Under the terms of the agreement, the Y will lease the land from the high school in exchange for 356 hours of access per year to its competition-sized swimming pool in its new facility, as the equivalent of rent.
Although the high school land use committee approved granting the Y a 75-year lease, under Massachusetts state law, municipalities are not allowed to lease municipal property for more than 5 years. This required the high school to get legislative approval to extend the lease beyond what the state statute allows.
After a bill to extend the lease underwent a hearing process and approval by both houses in the state legislature, Governor Mitt Romney signed it into law on July 26. YMCA representatives, MVRHS principal Peg Regan, and superintendent of schools James Weiss signed the lease on November 6.
Last week, the Y's capital and facilities committees met with off-Island consultants to discuss scheduling, Mr. Clese said. The Y will submit building plans to the Oak Bluffs building and zoning department in March 2007, which will then refer the project to the Martha's Vineyard Commission for review as a development of regional impact (DRI).
The Y's leadership already sought input from the commissioners in the early planning stages. Representatives of the Y also have been working on a "campus planning project" with the MVC and other owners of property located along the Edgartown-Vineyard Haven Road corridor near the high school, with an eye towards linking facilities together through shared parking, pathways, and landscaping.
Pending the MVC's and town of Oak Bluffs boards' approval, the Y plans to break ground in September 2007, with a "soft opening" in December 2008 for those who buy charter memberships, followed by a full opening in January 2009.