As we can see from the ads now appearing in the two newspapers, there is an attempt to railroad the YMCA on the citizens of Payson if we like it or can afford it or not. While not against the concept of a Payson YMCA, I think each citizen should be asking some questions before you let the town council push it through.
Question #1. Is Rumsey Park the best place for the "Y"? We only have two multi-use parks in this town and the "Y" would take up more than 10 percent of Rumsey. With the budget problems now in front of the town, you can be sure they are not going out buying some land for another park. If you look at the proposed footprint of the Rumsey Park "Y" you will see that the area around the present pool will be turned into a big box store parking lot. The ponderosa pines that give our present park the current atmosphere and warmth would be gone and we would have paved parking instead.
Question #2. Who gets to use this new paved parking lot? As anyone who travels through Rumsey while ball games are going on knows, there is currently not enough parking. With the "Y" built next to the north ball fields and soccer field they would want their parking for their members. So what happens when non-members park in the lot and members can't park even though they pay the big bucks to park there? It won't take long for that to become a reserved parking only. Too bad for the ballplayers.
Question #3. Should the town give up town-owned land to a non-government organization? Don't be fooled by the term "lease" or whatever, the town is still giving up scarce town land and will not get it back unless the "Y" goes bust. Is this not opening up the door for other organizations to also ask the town for free land for their business? There are other portions of this town where the "Y" could build and not take away park space and make it a win-win situation, such as just south of Main Street. If the "Y" feels so strongly about being a success in Payson, then buying their own land should not be a problem.
Question #4. What will happen to all the wonderful parks and rec programs now in existence? Yes the "Y" will have programs for the youth just as the parks and rec have now, but at a fee and maybe a membership requirement. Are there enough youth in this town to have both a parks and rec program and a "Y" program? Do those who can't afford a membership lose out on an opportunity to participate? There are all sorts of rules and limitations to bringing a non-member into the "Y" and you should learn them before you accept the argument that no one would be turned away.
Question #5. Is the town going to insist on a contract that includes some type of surety bond to protect the citizens in case the "Y' financially cannot meet its obligations? The "Y" probably will succeed, but if it doesn't, who will have to pick up the pieces and rebuild the parks and rec programs, and who will take over the "Y" buildings?
Before we, as a town, sign on to this project there are some hard questions that need answers.
You undoubtedly have some I have not mentioned. Get the answers and be convinced it is the best solution for the town before you give your support. If you are not satisfied or don't like what you hear, speak up and tell your mayor and town council to hold off until they develop the right approach and the right location. Good luck.