Representatives from YMCA of Greater Williamson County have asked the city of Georgetown to participate in a joint facility with Georgetown ISD.
The proposed location of the facility would be on the west side of Georgetown, next to McCoy Elementary School. The YMCA wants to construct a recreational dry area that includes a gymnasium, fitness center and child watch area adjacent to GISD's chosen location for its $15 million competitive outdoor pool. GISD is responsible for funding the outdoor pool, and the current partnership plans to split the cost for a $6 million shared-use area that would also include an indoor pool, a lobby and locker rooms. Together the YMCA and GISD have $26 million to fund the project and are asking for $3 million from the city to help pay for the construction of the dry area.
The YMCA has partnered with municipalities and ISDs for over 20 years, YMCA Founders Group Chairman Danny Meigs said. These partnerships have produced facilities and parks in Round Rock, Cedar Park, Hutto and Burnet. YMCA board member Mark Dietz said the city would save millions of dollars if it joined the partnership as opposed to taking on a project like this alone.
“If this was a city project alone, there would be an expenditure of close to $53 million over a 20-year period [of operating the facility after construction],” Dietz said. “By bringing to the table our operational skills and our ability to cover the cost of equipment and maintenance, we take $50 million dollars off that equation.”
The city operates a recreational center on the east side at 1003 N. Austin Ave., Georgetown. Despite this, Council Member Tommy Gonzales believes the new YMCA location should belong in the southeast side instead of the proposed west side location. Additionally, Council Member Amanda Parr, who represents District 1 in east and southeast Georgetown, said the existing recreation center is not close enough for those with transportation issues.
“Although I think this is a great idea, the southeast side desperately needs a recreation center and a pool,” Gonzales said. “The west side already has West Side Park, Gary Park [and] the Williamson County pool. I think it would be an even greater partnership if we could focus on one of the fastest-growing areas in Georgetown and the huge number of kids who are financially challenged that can take advantage of those scholarships [the YMCA provides].”
Meigs said he agrees with the council regarding the southeast side's need for the facility, but cited GISD's choice to construct its outdoor pool on the west side as the reason for the proposed location. After a lengthy discussion, Council Member Steve Fought said the idea of a partnership is worth exploring and the location of the facility can be discussed further, an opinion council all agreed on in the end.
“We’re not getting married, but we’d like to go on a date,” Mayor Josh Schroeder said.