A recent letter to the newspaper asked "Why the Y?"
I'll answer this question and I ask you to support the "Y" as we move forward to build a family recreation center in Payson.
Why the Y? Because the YMCA changes lives. In 34 years with the YMCA, I've seen firsthand the results of YMCA employees and volunteers who touch the lives of the people they serve. From helping gang members negotiate conflicts to mentoring youth and teaching confidence, I am proud of the YMCA's efforts.
Why the Y? Because the non-profit YMCA is one of America's top social service organizations and serves 21 million people annually, including children and adults of all ages, races, faiths, backgrounds, abilities, and income levels. Valley of the Sun YMCA raises over $2.9 million annually for financial assistance for families and individuals.
Why the Y? Because the YMCA has been promoting healthy living and strengthening spiritual, mental and physical well-being for more than 160 years. We've collaborated with local governments more than 1,400 times and we will work hard to serve Payson's residents and to fill unmet needs in this community.
Why Payson? Because once Payson recognized it needed more indoor recreational facilities, it learned it couldn't afford the $10 million facility. Members of the non-profit Friends of Payson Parks and Recreation have worked tirelessly for years to provide this asset for the community and invited the YMCA to help make the dream a reality.
Why the Y? Because the YMCA can meet Payson's needs without costing taxpayers a dime. In fact, the agreement saves Payson millions of dollars that can be used to meet other town needs - like the Senior Center, better roads and water infrastructure, police and fire, or even to contribute to other non-profits like the Payson Humane Society.
Why the Y? Because we focus on families and children. Half of YMCA members are kids, even though children are less than one quarter of the U.S. population. We work with youth to deepen positive values, commitment to service, and their motivation to learn. We also help families build bonds, connect with community resources and become strong and self-sufficient.
Why town property? Because locating on town property lets the YMCA build the facility with a limited budget of $5.6 million. The YMCA will pay $10,000 in yearly rent and will save the town an additional $130,000 in expenses annually. Collaboration with the Town of Payson is a big win for all Payson's residents.
Why Rumsey Park? Because the town's own study picked Rumsey Park as the best location. The YMCA examined several sites before agreeing on Taylor Pool. Payson will see significant savings as all the pool expenses will be shifted from taxpayers to the YMCA. This also allows the YMCA to direct the limited building funds to other important areas, including a high school-sized indoor basketball court.
Why challenge the referendum effort? Because the anti-YMCA group broke the law by collecting signatures through an illegal political committee. If either side in this discussion breaks the law, there are consequences. A judge ruled that the group acted illegally, and that the required penalty is to invalidate the petitions. If there is a referendum in November, we believe that the YMCA should stand on its merits, not on misleading and inaccurate representations made by some in the community.
Why the Y? Because the YMCA will change lives in Payson. We are committed to making a difference in Arizona's communities, and we hope you will support us as we continue this work in Payson.
Thank you for the opportunity to do so.