|CC Community Center Steering Committee Meeting Minutes - April 23, 2012|
Members Present: The meeting was called to order by Paul Sporn, Chair, with the following members present: Chris Francis, Paul Sporn, Karen Kritta Saethre, Sue Hakes, Diane Booth, Fritz Sobanja, Bob Fenwick, Gene Gladder, Sue Prom, Mike Groth, Jeanne Anderson, Andra Lilienthal, George Wilkes, Maggie Barnard, Beth Schwarz, Tom Wacholz.
Other People Present: Bruce Martinson, Jan Hall, Garry Gamble, Lloyd Speck, Diane Parker, Sam Parker, Molly Hoffman, Judy Motsenbacher, Stan Tull.
Welcome: We welcome our new board members: Mike Groth and Gene Glader. Cathi Williams is also a new board member who is not able to be at this meeting.
Review and Approval of Minutes: The minutes from March 26, 2012 were reviewed. A motion was made by Andra and seconded by Jeanne to approve the minutes. All ayes.
Review of Flip Charts from April 10th: Below is a synopsis of the comments made by the public from the three groups on April 10, 2012.
Group 1 Comments:
Feel both ends of the county need to be represented tonight (East & West).
Excited about the community center and having a multi-generational atmosphere.
The city of Grand Marais should be involved at this time.
How many support the Community Center project? Yes - 3, No - 2,
*Depends: The idea of the past suggested center vs. this current project. Not had a say in details
Elements that should be included: Hockey rink, warming house, locker rooms, soccer, baseball, pool, fitness center.
Will independent contractors be able to utilize this facility? From someone who might want to contract space for fitness classes, etc...
Concerned about the process and misinformation about legislative authorization for use of funds.
Process didn't specifically ask the community members their opinion / ideas.
Need multi-use facility - advantage in attaching to the school.
Is it a good idea to give up school real estate? Is the space better utilized for entrepreneurial training? Examples like: industrial arts, welding skills - the past space is now gone. If physical property is given up we then lose the opportunity to build these industrial arts facilities.
There are alternative space options available for industrial arts. For example: The current fitness center space could be re-purposed.
Happy to pay taxes for the school but not for ‘over the top' amenities in a community center.
Structured programs offer many positives for mental health, role models, physical health.
YMCA offers a win-win opportunity.
Feel process has been informative and my voice has been heard; feel we need to diversify our economy.
Impressed as a tourist in communities that had a ‘Y' available.
Feel like there have been opportunities to give input since 2008 forward.
Parking issues already exist with consecutive programs.
Memberships: currently options are all separate to use a pool, use a fitness facility, use a gym; it's a lot to manage. I would prefer to be able to pay one amount to use all facilities.
Group 2 Comments:
Fix the old community center. Don't compete with private enterprises. Improve what we have at this time. Repeal the 1% tax if you can't get together.
All the people on the contact list are supported by taxes.
a. 1 - Poor use of tax money
b. 1 - Wrong time economically
c. 1 - Not feasible or fiscally responsible
a. 1- For young people
b. 1- Better facilities for events
c. 1- Pool close to school, school needs $ help, wants indoor track for walking
d. 1- Kids need activity center - this will improve the community
Community Center seems to be tearing the community apart.
Find a reasonable size facility where the maintenance costs are controlled.
‘Y' lets the project be community driven.
Need to know if the majority of the community wants a new center
4% of 1% tax votes wanted a new community center (based upon a community survey done by the ‘Stop the Madness' group)
Grand Marais would be a branch of the Duluth YMCA.
‘Y' is a respected organization and we're glad to have their input.
Many folk don't trust the government to stay in budget.
The old community center - what will happen to it? What are the costs to keep and maintain it?
The community decides whether alcohol or ‘spirits' are allowed.
If the gym is used it would be county owned. What about the land in trade?
New center must be fiscally responsible.
‘Y'-looks at criteria, demographics, what the community needs and wants are, and looks for sustainability.
Benefits must be weighed against costs.
‘Y' dollar shortfall is troubling.
We need to determine if the community is in favor of a new community center.
Community center shouldn't compete with private (wedding receptions and such...)
Group 3 Comments:
How many want a community center? (12 yes) (1 no)
What would the new community center need to have or be like in order for you to support a new community center? Nothing - do we need to have one?
When the community voted in November 2011 about the 1% sales tax , we did not get to chose the projects but had to vote for all 7 or against all 7. That was not fair. We should have been able to vote on those projects separately.
What items do we need in a new facility?
a. Walking track
1. No walking track - we have other places to walk.
2. Can't walk outside when there is ice outdoors
3. I don't' like the idea of a walking track if we can use the school (duplication). Make the buildings more user-friendly.
1. Gymnasium is more important for people than a walking track.
2. Multi-purpose gymnasium is important for many users and for physical therapy as we age.
1. Fix the old pool. We don't need to move it. I am worried about the tourists not using it if it gets moved.
2. We have pools at the West End that people can use.
3. Community members are not allowed to use them due to insurance purposes.
4. One person visited another community center and they said they would not build a pool because they lost money. Maybe that was due to the programming piece that the YMCA could bring.
5. Cost to fix up the pool will continue - it won't be just one fix but will need additional repairs.
I am frustrated with the process. It is not going anywhere. Not everyone comes here for nature. We want something to do with our kids.
We used to have a teen center. It went pretty well for 4 years. It lasted about 9 years before the doors were closed.
I would like a facility that is multi-generational. The ‘Y' has a reputation for doing things well. There would be a financial benefit with the YMCA.
There is an appeal of consolidating amenities together for the entire family to use for younger families that have kids / adults of all ages. It costs money and time to take kids to each location for a separate activity.
The comprehensive plan for the Grand Marais Recreation Park does not include a pool.
I am interested in learning more about attaching a community center to the school.
It makes sense to me especially if we are talking about having a 4 day school week.
The intergenerational piece would be great.
Activities never end or start at the same time. It would be nice to have a place to be together in-between different activities for Mom or Dad or other kids who are waiting.
Security for school
Look at what happened with the Art Center. It was supposed to be a collaborative effort with a lot more community involvement. That has not done very well.
Who in 10 years is going to support this? Those over 60 may not be as much in favor; those under 60 might be more in favor - those retired people who want to stay active.
Young families don't move here based on a community center or not. They come here if there are jobs. We don't have jobs. Those of us who did come here for low-paying jobs would like this amenity.
We don't think we can afford it. Local people can't do this alone.
Who is in favor of having a community center attached to the west end of the school?
a. 10 are in favor of looking at it.
b. 11 are in favor if the YMCA is involved.
What is the YMCA's motive in doing this? Historically we haven't done very well with outside groups coming in and helping us.
The YMCA can be involved regardless of where it is located. They have had good success in smaller communities with having the ‘Y' attached to schools.
What happens if the YMCA fails with the community center in 5 - 10 years?
1. Our decision is based on research we are doing right now.
2. Less than 1% of YMCA's fail
3. A pool is not a make or break situation - the ‘Y' could still be involved.
4. Memberships would probably be around $30 /single per month; $50 / family per month. A lot of people will receive $20 a month/per adult from insurance companies to offset costs. The ‘Y' does work with health insurance companies.
5. The ‘Y' turns no one away. Twenty percent of their members receive assistance.
The ‘Y' numbers in the newspaper showed a negative $150,000 (no subsidies from the county, city) for approximately a 30,000 sq. ft. facility. If we kept the subsidies of $150,000 from the city and the other $75,000 from the county, there would be a positive balance of $75,000.
The ‘Y' would work on receiving funding for the naming rights of the building, rooms, etc.
Duluth YMCA is the second largest in the state.
LEED certification is important to the ‘Y'. (Sustainability)
What kind of living wages would the ‘Y' provide? ~$30,000 for entry level program director.
Aerobics instructors would be based upon the local wages.
To begin with, we would run classes even if we only had 2 - 3 people signed up
WRAP-UP: What is the most important thing you would like people to know about this topic?
1. The community is being influenced by people from other places. If you want to have ‘Edina' you should go there. I like having separate, individual entities.
2. I am frustrated at the amount of work that has gone into this project with very little action. I want to see momentum.
3. I am from outside this community - I have just moved here. I think it is wonderful to see the amenities
for such a very small community. This is a wonderful place to raise children - just not affordable. It's too bad. I give everyone a pat on the back for what they are doing to promote the community.
4. I agree with the first person on the wrap-up. We don't need more buildings. Get the kids outside. Affordability is the key.
5. Don't duplicate things that are working. Make sure the people who already work here don't lose their jobs. Many young families can't come to a 5:00- 7:00 p.m. meeting but they are supportive. The ‘y' is a non-profit and doesn't turn people away.
6. I would like to put a plug in for a dance / studio space.
7. Don't support - ‘If you build it, they will come.' Any facility we have, we have to be able to maintain it. Case in point: The school's west end. What makes us think we can maintain it better if we build a community center there?
8. The 1% funds were a huge opportunity for the community - a once in a lifetime opportunity! Stop talking about building a community center and do it! I am tired of all the money ($) going to consultants.
9. This is not Edina. I like the small community. It gives us opportunities to work together. This is a great opportunity for us to work together. I am pleased to have the ‘Y' consider this project.
10. I like the opportunity to combine facilities that are aging and share resources while improving user spaces.
Comments from Steering Committee:
YMCAs have found that seniors become their heaviest users during the day when students are in school. This has been found to be true especially in rural areas.
Visitors are important for the pool, however, they are only 1/3 of the users. 2/3 of the users are from the county of which 1/3 are city users.
Walking in the school is not really an option due to security issues.
Pools lose money but they do bring in memberships. 80% of the people who join YMCAs want the pool but only about 20% actually use it. A pool becomes even more important in rural areas.
There is no plan to have event space duplicated. Some people want event space down in the G.M. Rec Park instead of in the new community center.
The school will need to have $300,000 in funds either from 1% monies or from tax payer funds to repair the West End of the school. If we remove that 30,000+ sq. ft. and use it for a community center, the school will save $40,000 a year in maintenance costs.
We need to ask Braidy and Tim Scannell to definitely define the legislative authorization for use of the 1% funds.
If alcohol is allowed in this building, it will be the first YMCA that served alcohol.
The information presented about the survey the Stop the Madness group did is very confusing. Can we receive a copy of that information?
Re-visit Guiding Principles: The Steering Committee reviewed the Guiding Principles document to see what changes should be made to reflect the project direction. The changes discussed will be attached as a separate document to the minutes with the revision.
YMCA Operating Agreement: A subcommittee will look into the operating agreement. Chris, Tim S., Mike G., and Beth S. will meet. Some items to consider include the following:
Early clarification with building uses including alcohol use.
Will the agreement include the new community center only or will it include the old community center and /or other spaces?
Land Exchange with the School District: A further discussion on the land exchange will need to take place between the school and county. Jeanne A., Beth S, will meet with Tim Scannell.
SEER Report / Updated Proforma: Chris updated the group on the SEER analysis and the proforma based upon the SEER Report.
The SEER report is strictly based upon demographic data.
They use a 20 minute drive area based upon both urban and rural models. If we used just a rural model the drive would probably be further out.
YMCA users generally have a household income of more than $35,000 per year. If a family's income is less, they will probably need assistance for a membership.
Ethnicity is not considered for membership.
If we look at the area of approximately 200 square miles, out of 1,046 total households, about 12% of those households would be market penetration. That would give us around 129 household memberships. Chris did share with the group that almost all of the rural YMCA's are closer to 20% market penetration. If that was the case here, the numbers would be much higher for memberships.
Copies of the first budget and the second budget were given out to the group for comparison.
50 - 100 youth probably live within a mile or so that would have access to walk to the facility. The rest of the youth would need transportation. Do we have a plan for that transportation?
6 - 8% of the operating budget should go into a repair / replacement schedule for equipment. The County Board would be responsible for the building repairs and equipment replacement.
You could cap the County Board costs when the operating agreement is determined with the YMCA.
What about a membership drive before the building is built so you have pledges?
The next steps appear to be that the YMCA will stay in the process and move forward. Sue requested that Braidy take a look at the new numbers from the proforma.
Conceptual Plan Discussion:
The group discussed a list of indoor and outdoor amenities that they would like to see included in the project. ORB will develop a conceptual estimate of the cost for these items to review at t he next meeting.
The County Board reduced the project budget to $9 million earlier this year. If the estimate exceeds this amount, the County Board will need to provide further direction to the Steering Committee as to which items will be eliminated or paid out of the unallocated 1% funds.
Multi-purpose gymnasium (for tennis, volleyball, basketball and other indoor events)
Breakout rooms / area for youth / teens / classrooms / dance studio
New Ball field
Adding lights to one of the ball fields
Ice rink / warming house - lights
Some remodel / upgrades to existing community center (possible warming space for ice rink)
Skatepark - existing, would remain
Playground - existing, may need some upgrades
Restore existing soccer field (This was not discussed as part of the $9 million)
Trails / connectivity (This was not discussed as part of the $9 million) Can we plan for this and look for additional funding elsewhere?
Tennis court - resurfacing two courts $200,000 (This was not discussed as part of the $9 million)
Community gardens - is there other funding for this because the group felt this was not as important
Dog park - is there other funding for this because the group felt this was not as important
Next Meeting: Monday, May 7 at the JMCC, Cook County Schools 8:30 - 11:30 a.m.
Tom W. will move and turn the design, bring it to the next meeting to give everyone an idea about what can be done before engaging architects.