Group Concerned With Lack Of Facilities For Youth

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Editor:

My name is Bill Ensign, I am the president of a group known as the Friends of Payson Parks and Recreation. The group I represent is concerned with the lack of recreational facilities for families and young people in the Town of Payson.

We, the Friends of Payson Parks and Recreation, are excited about the prospect of bringing a YMCA to our community. On behalf of the Friends of Payson Parks and Recreation, I want to assure you that we will do our very best to work with the town, the YMCA, and the community to make a YMCA in the Town of Payson a reality.

There have been some questions raised about the YMCAhat Iill attempto answer.

1. How was it that the YMCA chose Payson as a town in which to build a YMCA? The YMCA was contacted by the Friends of Payson Parks and Recreation in 2003 in an attempt to provide necessary recreational facilities, when it became obvious that the town could not. It is interesting to note that the contact with the YMCA was with the full knowledge and support of the Mayor, Town Council and Town Manager. The Town's partnership with the YMCA has been a part of Payson's Corporate Strategic Plan since at least 2005.

2. What will happen to the property on which the YMCA will be constructed when the lease is over? At the end of the lease the property, the improvementshat will beonstructed for the YMCA with non-public funds will belong to the Town of Payson at no cost to the town.

3.What would happen if the YMCA could not makends meet in Payson, which couldause the Town to have to take over a facility that it could not afford to operate?This will not happen because the structure of the YMCA is such that if a facility in a given town is in financial difficulty difficulty it would be funded by the surplus from other YMCA facilities.

4.What staff will the YMCA use to operate the facility? Quite possibly in the beginning, an experienced manager will be assigned to the facility to train the necessary staff, but most of the jobs at theacility will be performed by paid staff, which could result in as many as 20 new jobs for Payson residents.

5. If the YMCA is constructed in Payson, won't it result in the closing of existing health clubs? Health clubs do not normally go out of business because of the YMCA. You must consider the fact that if everything comes together, the Payson YMCA will probably take at least two years to fund and build. Within this time frame, the entire health club situation could change.

6. Why did the Town Council give away five acres of Park Land? The Payson Town Council has given nothing away; they have given the Payson Town Manager and Payson Town Attorney the authorization to identify up to 5 acres of land in Payson and to negotiate a lease for that land. I have every confidence that the Payson Town Manager and Attorney can handle the task. I think we need to remember that Payson is in control of the situation and they are dealing from a position of power. Remember, the YMCA is building a $5-6 million facility for the Town that will revert to the town's ownership when this lease terminates.

7. Isn't it the town's duty to protect its businesses and not do anything that might put them in jeopardy? The answer is yes, but isn't it also the town's responsibility to provide for the recreational needs of the community? Payson is a small community and lacks the monetary resources to fund major indoor recreational facilities without raising taxes in one form or another. If the previous statements are true then why not allow a nonprofit corporation, such as the YMCA, to come in and address the recreational needs of the community?

8. If the YMCA comes to Payson, wouldn't their costs for memberships be higher than the health clubs. The answer is probably yes, and this would be of benefit to the existing heath clubs. Those families who are unable to afford the YMCA membership dues may be able receive scholarships by applying to the Friends of Payson Parks and Recreation.

In closing, we, the Friends of Payson Parks and Recreation, are dedicated to helping our community satisfy their need for healthy recreational opportunities. We believe that families who recreate together are stronger and better capable of dealing with the many challenges of today's society.

Bill Ensign

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