By Christine Bryant
After listening to community feedback, YMCA officials updated the design of a proposed community center in Reynoldsburg.
About 50 residents gathered Sept. 21 at the Livingston campus of Reynoldsburg High School to hear updates on a proposed YMCA facility to be built at the site of the former pool off Davidson Drive.
During the past few months, YMCA officials have continued to evolve the design of a facility that could go on that property, with the help of input from residents through focus groups, surveys and community meetings.
At the town hall meeting, Brian Kridler, chief operating officer for YMCA of Central Ohio, shared the latest revisions, which include the addition of a six-lane outdoor pool and a single story structure at the front of the building that can house partners such as primary care offices – a potential revenue boost that could help sustain the facility.
Though still early in the planning process, Kridler outlined several features in the proposed facility design thus far. They include a community meeting room available for local organizations to use, a youth wing, a full basketball court, a 2,200-square-foot exercise studio, a sensory room where children on the autism spectrum can decompress before joining an activity, a three-lane track, a splash park and a teaching kitchen for nutritional classes.
Based on feedback, the newest facility design showcases a 48,000-square-foot facility, down from an originally proposed 60,000 square feet, as well as one single indoor pool versus two.
While the inclusion of an outdoor pool has been a popular discussion point among residents, it was the indoor pool that received much of the feedback at the Sept. 21 town hall meeting.
The current proposed design includes a multi-purpose natatorium that features four swim lanes, a shallow area ideal for children and an area that can be used for activities like classes or leisurely swims.
However, some residents in attendance questioned whether it would be more beneficial to have additional swim lanes so the facility could host swim meets, while others said they had concerns that hosting swim meets could mean less time for member access to the pool.
Kridler offered that other nearby YMCAs could accommodate swimming competitions, allowing the proposed Reynoldsburg branch to keep membership fees lower.
The 5-year-old Delaware YMCA branch, for example, has similar features to the proposed Reynoldsburg branch. However, the Delaware branch has an eight-lane pool – increasing the cost of operation and therefore increasing the membership costs, Kridler said.
Once YMCA officials have landed on a favored design, they will begin to put together an estimated cost of construction of and sustaining the facility, he said.
As the YMCA has expanded throughout central Ohio, communities have differed in how their centers are funded. Some have purchased the land, but have allowed the YMCA to run and absorb the costs of operating the facility, which does so through revenue streams such as membership dues, private dollars and corporate philanthropy.
In the meantime, Kridler said he will continue to hold more focus groups to gauge the community’s opinions. Additional town hall meetings will be held as well Nov. 9, Jan. 18 and April 12, with times and locations to be determined.
“I think it’s really vital that we as an organization listen to the needs of the community,” he said.
More information is available on the Proposed Reynoldsburg Community Center YMCA Facebook page.