Statement from Mayor Mat Siscoe regarding 25 YMCA Drive Property

With the ongoing budget deliberations, questions have been asked about the status of the former YMCA building located at 25 YMCA Drive, and the City’s possible involvement in running programming through the facility. City staff, on the direction of Council, engaged with property owner Atria Development about the possible use of the YMCA building to allow for City recreational programming, specifically with respect to the pool space. After several months of back-and-forth, Atria presented a formal proposal to City staff and Council. While I cannot comment publicly on the contents of the Atria proposal, I can say that the known lease costs and the costs associated with programming the facility would have amounted to more than $5.5 million annually. This cost would have amounted to an almost 4.7% property tax increase by itself. This number is not inclusive of any other budget pressures currently faced by the City. Additionally – the facility would not have met the City’s Accessibility Design requirements, and significant additional costs would have been incurred to bring the facility up to the standards required today. This would include but is not limited to altering the multi-floor changeroom facilities, building out family and universal changerooms and making the actual pool area accessible to persons with disabilities and older adults. While I and many others are frustrated by the outcome, this term of Council could not identify a path forward. The decision to not proceed was supported by Council 11-1 on October 16th , 2023. The simple reality is that assuming the lease at 25 YMCA Drive would have resulted in more than $5.5 million in annual operating expenses for the City, representing an almost 4.7% annual increase to the City portion of property taxes on the average household. This estimate is based only on the known costs, which include the basic rent specified by Atria and the City’s operating projections. In addition to the financial impacts of the known costs, there are significant financial risks associated with unknown costs that were, and remain, uncertain. These include the anticipated costs associated with the uncertainty of a building that is 30 years old, and the risks of the age and condition of the mechanical, electrical, plumbing, HVAC, aquatic, and other equipment within the facility. As Mayor, I stand behind my decision to not continue further with this process, and I am pleased that an overwhelming majority of Council made the same decision.