Information on the YMCA/Scribner Place
After hearing Mayor Garner say in Monday's Council meeting that there is no division within the city regarding the YMCA/Scribner project, and he has no idea what the impetus for Ben's Courier Journal article was, I became determined to get more information.
Knowing that Garner, while a CM, questioned the project, I wanted to know where and how it started, where and when it changed, and where and how it now stands.
I found a newspaper article dated November, 2003 in which Mayor Garner announced he would commission an economic feasibility study of the [YMCA/Scribner] project. Does anyone know if that was done?
I’ve also looked at various public documents regarding the YMCA/Scribner Place project that has been interesting reading.
In trying to track down the facts, I had to go back and start at the conception of the project. This took me back to August of 2002 when then-Mayor Overton referred to the project as the "Main Center".
At that time the intentions were that the ..."City would like the YMCA to build a facility that includes the natatorium (Y project) with City assistance, and to operate and manage the Y project in cooperation with the Parks Department."
At the council’s "workshop" last week it was said that the Parks Dept. would take control of the water facilities only if an anticipated arrangement for total oversight by the YMCA wasn't reached.
The Overton document also clearly outlined the anticipated role of the Redevelopment Commission in getting the project started in acquiring the land by floating a bond for a redevelopment project located within New Albany's Redevelopment District (YMCA/Scribner).
In March of 2003, the Redevelopment Commission indeed adopted a bond resolution "...approving the issuance of bonds payable solely from Caesars Foundation Grant proceeds, in a principle amount not to exceed $2,450,000."
I assume this is the $2.5 million allocation Mayor Garner refers to as being currently "under budget" for acquiring the land and completing environmental cleanups.
The bond resolution was done "...in order to procure funds to be applied on the costs of certain improvements including the construction of a YMCA/Natatorium complex, an overhead pedestrian plaza, public parking facilities, and the demolition and/or environmental cleanup of "brownfield" developments in the area...".
The administration's 7th version of the project omits the Plaza, and the parking garage, and proposes a $3 million dollar hole cut into the floodwall to serve as riverfront access.
Now the administration wants to get another bond for $15 million dollars, guaranteed with property taxes, and dedicate $400K of EDIT funds per year to this project.
Also, I noted that while the 1st $1 million dollar installment from the Caesar’s Foundation Grant went to the Redevelopment bond payment in 2003, the 2004 & '05 disbursements of $1 million dollars from Caesars went directly to the YMCA.
I will continue with more as I work my way through the paper trails.