By Dedra Cordle
It was November of 2016 when programming at the Vaughn E. Hairston Southwest Community Center was put in jeopardy after the YMCA of Central Ohio incurred cuts to its funding.
In the months thereafter, the leadership with the YMCA and the village of Urbancrest had negotiations in order to keep operations at the community center as is.
Recently, it was announced an agreement had been reached between the two entities that would bring operational stability to the popular education and recreation destination.
“I think overall, this agreement is a good thing for the village,” said Mayor Joseph Barnes Sr. “I think a lot of positives will come out of it as well.”
Gretchen Carpenter, associate executive director at the Hairston YMCA, expressed a similar sentiment.
“By working together, we’re confident that the residents of the village will embrace the partnership and realize our respective commitments to the community’s health and well-being,” she said in a written statement.
Under the agreement, the YMCA will continue to manage and provide programming at the center with the contract length being defined as “automatically renewed for successive one year periods.”
According to the agreement, the village will cover the cost of utilities while the YMCA will cover the cost of additional utility services, such as satellite, cellular or cable. The village also agreed to pay a one-time management fee of $30,000 to cover the cost of half of the utilities during the year the parties were in the negotiation process.
The YMCA will pay for minor repairs to the center, and pay as much as $500 for major repairs. The YMCA also has the right to make alternations or improvements to the center, but they are not to be structural in nature or cost more than $5,000. Should they want to make repairs exceeding $5,000, they would need the written consent of the village council.
An advisory committee was established under the agreement to improve communications between the two parties and to make recommendations to the YMCA regarding community needs. The committee is comprised of two village council members (Steven Larkins and S. Henry Warr), one community member (Tashea Holmes) and one representative from the YMCA (Carpenter).
Other items of note in the agreement are: membership cost to village residents is not to exceed $100 per year (or $25 per household per quarter); the two entities will work together for grants and funding; reports shall be provided to the village regarding enrollment, programs and satisfaction of programs; and residents will not incur costs should they seek space for community meetings.
As for the programming, Tina Badurina, the senior vice president of marketing and communications, said there were no cuts to the programs and added the offerings were actually expanded to include two winter youth basketball leagues. She said the Hairston YMCA will continue to offer that program this year for youths under 14 and youths under 17.