Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Symmes rejected as YMCA partner

Building might involve just Deerfield

By Sheila McLaughlin and Erica Solvig
Enquirer staff writers

SYMMES TWP. - Symmes Township has been cut out of plans to build an $11 million YMCA with neighboring Deerfield Township on Montgomery Road.

But it might not jeopardize the project, officials said.

Steve Boland, executive director of the Ralph J. Stolle Countryside YMCA, said Tuesday that Y officials felt Symmes' involvement would delay or kill plans for the 80,000-square-foot center.

A letter of intent between Deerfield and the Y called for the project to be financed, constructed and owned by the neighboring townships on land Deerfield owns between the Meijer store and Steeplechase apartments. The center is to be leased and operated by Countryside.

The prime concern was that Symmes' portion of the financing - estimated by the township to be about $4.5 million - would have to be raised through a November ballot issue, Boland said.

"We were not very optimistic that something like that would even pass," said Boland, noting that a similar venture between the YMCA of Dayton and the city of Springboro five years ago was voted down by residents.

Countryside officials also objected to an outdoor pool that Symmes had proposed so that residents in both townships could swim without buying a Y membership. Boland said the pool would be too costly.

"I kind of understand their points. But, I wish we could have worked with them because I think it could have been a really nice thing for the community. They didn't want us," Symmes Trustee President Jodie Leis said.

Even though the project relies on funding from Symmes, Deerfield Trustee Randy Kuvin said he's optimistic it will still move forward.

"We'll have to go back to the drawing board to some extent," Kuvin said.

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