I have been asked by many how I will vote on the YMCA land gift issue (Proposition 401) ... I will be voting no because it is just plain bad government.
They say they are leasing the land … let’s take a look: The town is giving the YMCA five acres in Rumsey Park plus the pool.
At a low price of $150,000 per acre, the land alone would be worth $750,000.
If we add the pool at a low price of say $100,000 the total value is $850,000. Now, if the Y were to obtain an $850,000 interest-only mortgage at the rate of 6 percent, the interest per year would be $51,000. The town is charging them $10,000 per year, not a fair value.
They say the Y will be a panacea for our youth ... let’s take a look: We had a roller rink where the current senior center is … and it failed! We had a batting cage … and it failed! We had a miniature golf course … and it failed!
They failed because the kids could not afford the cost. Kids will need to pay to use the Y.
The town is already paying for a senior center that is not used much during after-school hours or evenings … why not use it as a center for both youth and seniors that the youth could use for free?
The Y will solve the town’s pool needs … let’s take a look: Yes, they will renovate the pool and add an open-air pool enclosure … that will be good for the town. But it will not be a competition-size pool as is needed for school swim programs.
Open swim will be limited to the summer from 1 to 5 p.m., the rest of the time, pool use will be controlled by the Y which will result in the loss of lap swimming and water aerobics. In essence, the town is giving Taylor Pool to the Y.
Now … let’s look at the other issues: Should the town give land to a private corporation that competes with taxpaying local businesses? This is a dangerous precedent. Why the Y and not a private gym? Or land to charities? Or to any entity that can win the support of politicians.
We are giving them five acres in the middle of Rumsey Park. Looking at a map, it is hard to see how they can fit it in without seriously damaging the park.
Rumsey Park is currently shaded by beautiful ponderosa pines … many will need to be removed.
They will need to raise $5.6 million. If they are successful, this will have to dig deeply into the ability of charities to raise dollars for their needs in an economic climate that is already difficult.
While I would like to see a YMCA in Payson … Proposition 401 is not the proper route.