Ymca Could Be Good Idea

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Rim Country residents seem to favor the idea of a YMCA being established in Payson.

The survey, conducted by the Winfield Consulting Group on behalf of the YMCA in January 2005, projects overwhelming support for recreational, fitness, wellness, child help and other programs being planned for the Payson Y facility.

The Winfield group has conducted similar surveys for hundreds of YMCAs throughout the country and projects that if the tried-and-true formula for establishing a Y were used here, it would be successful.

The survey projects that the YMCA would generate enough money to keep its program running and be no burden on the town or county.

The executive summary generated from the survey said the Rumsey Park location is favored by 84 percent of the people expected to use the facilities. The survey also suggests that 876 households would have a lot of interest in joining the YMCA. Only 16 percent of those likely to join the YMCA in Payson are members of a gym or fitness center, the survey said.

The YMCA will focus on programs that are not currently available, officials said.

Most of the programs and offerings will be aimed toward children, 10 to 17 years old. These will include traditional YMCA camp offerings and such items as indoor sports leagues, including basketball, creative arts courses, adventure activities and others that teens want and will enjoy.

YMCA officials said they don't want to duplicate what the Payson recreation department offers. The survey also found a need to have warm-water aquatics for children and adults within the community. These activities could include a swim team, recreational swimming, swim lessons and therapeutic exercise classes within a year-round pool.

The survey also told YMCA officials they need to focus on programs for women. Women exercise more than men and they are also the primary purchasing agent for the family.

Families with children had high expectations for the proposed YMCA facility. There is a high demand for programs that involved the entire family, the survey said.

The survey established that a good number of Payson residents would use a YMCA if the price were right. Those are the key words: "If the price is right."

The greater Payson area will have 10,810 households by 2008 and the survey indicated 876 of those households would likely join a YMCA if the fee schedule is reasonable for their budget.

Payson households without children amount to 69 percent of the community. Households with children 18 and under, amount to 31 percent of the Rim Country. Those households with children also have, in general, the least amount of disposable income. So the fees for using the Y would have to be within a narrow price range to attract those families.

Having a Y within the community is an attractive idea. The Y would offer many positive elements to the residents of the Rim Country. Everything sounds good, but the final details of the land/lease deal with the town, the cost of using the facility and its location need to be examined and settled before everyone signs off on the proposal.

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