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YMCA Board votes to terminate operating agreement with city

Ponca City Now - August 16, 2018 4:39 pm

The YMCA of Ponca City Board of Directors voted on Thursday, Aug. 16, to terminate the Recreation Center Operating Agreement with the City of Ponca City to operate the Ponca City Aquatic and Family Center-YMCA.

“Over the last eight years, the YMCA has operated the facility in total autonomy, including the provision of programming, establishment of user fees, and responsibility for maintenance and capital expenses. The residents passed a ½ cent sales tax in April 2007 and approved an extension in December 2008 as well as donated funds to build this state of the art recreation center.  First and foremost, I want to assure the community that this facility will remain open and operational” stated Craig Stephenson, City Manager.

The residents of Ponca City approved the passing of the sales tax to pay for the construction of a recreation center for the community and surrounding areas to enjoy.  The total cost to construct this facility, including architectural and engineering fees and the equipment to make it a fully operational recreation facility, was $27.5 million.

The YMCA of Ponca City at the same time entered into an Operating Agreement, whereby they would contribute $2.5 million, which included public donations, to go towards the construction of the aquatic piece of the facility.

There is a requirement in the current Recreation Center Operating Agreement with the YMCA of Ponca City that if either party wants to terminate the agreement, it must do so 180 days before the end of any term. The current term ends at the end of March.

“The YMCA board of directors, in an effort to better serve the citizens of Ponca City and surrounding area, voted in their regular session meeting not to renew the present operating agreement with the City of Ponca City, said. Jennie Hinterreiter, YMCA Board President. “The YMCA Board and staff continue to work diligently with the City to confirm a new operating arrangement.” 

Stephenson said the YMCA has indicated that it cannot continue to operate the facility under the current terms of the agreement and desires to renegotiate the terms.  Over the last two years, the City has renegotiated with the YMCA twice, both times removing some operational and maintenance expenses and placing those responsibilities on the City.

Hinterreiter stated that the YMCA board of directors’ vote to not renew the current agreement effective March of 2019 is a procedural step. 

“While essential to the process, this does NOT affect the status of the facility, the availability of programs, fitness classes and accessibility. We fully expect a new agreement to be in place on or before March 31, 2019,” Hinterreiter said.

“When a community is willing to step out and be progressive it does so to create a ‘vibrant community’ for the current residents as well as to attract new residents to the community,” Stephenson said. “However, there will be bumps and detours along the way. These types of amenities are critical to the future growth and sustainability of Ponca City. I want to put to rest any concerns that the Ponca City Aquatic and Family Center will cease operations:  That will not happen.”

Hinterreiter agreed.

“We look forward to an agreement that will allow the YMCA and the City of Ponca City to continue to serve our members and allow the YMCA to sustain and grow its programs,” she said. “The YMCA board appreciates our City partners and all of the citizens of Ponca City for their continued support. The YMCA is a valuable resource for the citizens of Ponca City and in the development of our youth.  Working together, the City of Ponca City and the YMCA will continue to have a magnificent facility in our city for generations to come.”

 

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