Parcel off U.S. 1 could be a good fit for new YMCA
While the mayor and others may see an "integral community feature," as he says, like the proposed new YMCA should not be an oasis and so should be built right in the middle of an already packed (and soon to be more) Town Center, perhaps we should take the other side and look at the "Y" as an oasis, and place it in an area that would be dispersed and diffused from the soon to be sardine can of the Town Center. For this to happen, one must look at what’s available.
At a recent City Council meeting, city staff gave a listing of the large parcels of city-owned properties. These belong to all of us and have been "in the family" since before incorporation. One of these parcels stuck out to me as a perfect location for a new "Y," and I recommended this to the council at a recent meeting. It’s called the "Peavy Grade parcel," and it’s right in the middle of lots of new activity on U.S. 1. It’s large, 103 acres, which would allow not just the "Y," but the city and county could join forces as they recently said to make this a world-class recreational facility. This location will become amenity-rich as time goes by.
The city and county could build at least four of the badly needed full-sized sports fields to rotate use, thus alleviating the ragged overuse of the few fields we have now, as detailed to the City Council by the flag football guy. It would have the acreage for plenty of parking to solve that problem at city parks now. A natural area could be left at the rear of the parcel so as to give the wildlife that occupy the site a place to stay. The funds for the "Y" already appropriated could be used strictly for the facility and not for any land purchases as necessary in the Town Center.
The decision making that goes on at City Hall has to consider all possible outcomes in each situation. Now the mayor has established a group containing Town Center landowners, so it may seem like a done deal. But it doesn’t have to be. The Peavy Grade parcel is to be utilized as detailed by staff "for economic development." What would be a better use than a new, world-class YMCA. Remember, “Build it, and they will come.”
Jeffery C. Seib