Survey To Determine Need For Ymca

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A telephone survey is under way to determine the feasibility of a YMCA branch in Payson.

The town of Payson and Valley of the Sun Chapter of the YMCA are partners in the market study, with the town paying one-third of the cost of $8,332, according to Fred Carpenter, town manager.

"The Winfield Group (based in Atlanta), which conducts such studies around the nation for the YMCA, will be calling approximately 600 households over the next two weeks in northern Gila County with the goal of forecasting potential membership and program preferences," Carpenter said. "Preliminary results should be available by Nov. 22."

If the facility is built, it might eliminate the need for the town to build and operate a recreation center, Carpenter said. The town conducted a feasibility study for a recreation center last year, but because of the cost -- more than $11 million -- the project has been on hold.

Specifically, the telephone survey will seek to answer the following questions:

  • How can a new community center best serve Payson residents with a wide variety of programs and services for children, teens and adults of all ages?
  • Will sites under consideration be viewed as convenient by the majority of prospective members and users?
  • What types of services and features should be offered in a community recreation center? Options include a fitness and wellness center, an aquatic center, an indoor gymnasium, and multipurpose rooms for meetings, classes and social gatherings.
  • What other services should be offered, such as preschool, child care and exercise programs?
  • How many households will join or participate?
  • What is the demographic and psychographic profile of prospective members?

If the feasibility survey indicates sufficient interest, a "start-up fund" of $200,000 to $300,000 needs to be raised to allow YMCA staff to focus on developing programs and services during the first three years. Three-year pledges for contributions from about 50 to 150 households and businesses typically are the funding source.

A new YMCA typically begins operating programs from donated storefront office space for three to seven years. This provides time and community network building sufficient to start fund-raising to build the actual facility.

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