Letter to the Editor

YMCA still needs a pool

Sunday, August 30, 2009

To the Editor:

We supported the Brazil Y this past year (my wife was a member).

For Mr. Wright to suggest that my entire family join the YMCA when it doesn't provide the services I want defies logic.

Maybe I should support the cable company. We have no cable service in my neighborhood. That would certainly benefit them, but not me.

Three-hundred and forty-eight dollars per year is too much money for me to spend just to support the YMCA. However, $540 isn't too much if that membership included everything. Classes, pool access, exercise equipment. That is what one statistically identical county in Indiana pays. Another county in Indiana prices a family membership at $403. For the whopping amount of $55 more a year, the members of this YMCA have a pool.

One statistic that was passed on to me by an officer in the YMCA states that 80 percent of your membership will join a Y because there is a pool, additionally, that statistic also says only 10 percent of those members use the pool regularly. It sounds like if you want more members, one way is to build a pool.

Another YMCA director also stated a qualified yes to building a pool provided certain criteria were met. One, that the YMCA in question was financially sound. Two, an independent market study is conducted by an outside organization that would survey the community and YMCA members to see if there was enough interest in having a pool. Three, finally a campaign to raise funds for such an endeavor.

Any of these steps could spell the end of opportunity for growth if they had a negative outcome. But to suggest, out of hand, that there is simply no way isn't making an educated decision.

Two point one million dollars for a pool? Probably a facility for recreation and not for exercise and instruction. Something like we already have at Forest Park and Funtime Scuba. Nine years ago, one particular YMCA built a six-lane, 25-yard, Olympic-sized swimming pool and a smaller instructional pool (that's heated). The one I'm speaking of was built, including the building, for $750,000. I know that was nine years ago, but surely they haven't gone up that much.

Now as far as the upkeep of a pool. Through the benevolence of one YMCA director who took the time to provide me with numbers, I have confirmed Mr. Wright's projection of $75,000. My source says it would be between $60,000 and $80,000 for all operating costs, not including the addition of more insurance. But I have to say that if the criteria for building a pool support it, and you build it, the membership will grow to continue to fund it.

I was a family member of the Terre Haute Y for years. Anyone who had spent time there knows that the building was shot. For that Y to raise funds for renovation while in direct competition with the YWCA, which is housed in a facility that is decades newer, wasn't feasible. The prudent thing for the YMCA in Terre Haute to do was to join the YWCA. To suggest that its demise was solely because of the pool is inaccurate, if not completely false.

We already have recreational pool options in Brazil. YMCA pools have been, for decades, a place for instruction and exercise. That is what we don't have here. An added bonus would be that Northview could have a swim team.

Matthew Christie,