North Strabane Township supervisors reject YMCA agreement

June 29, 2017

North Strabane Township supervisors Tuesday rejected a development agreement with the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh to build a YMCA facility in the township.Supervisors voted 3-2 to reject the agreement, which outlined terms and conditions for the development of a YMCA branch in North Strabane.Under the proposed agreement, the township would commit $2.5 million from gaming revenue it receives annually from The Meadows Racetrack & Casino to help finance building construction. The facility amenities likely would have included a swimming pool and gymnasium.Supervisor Robert Balogh, who voted against the agreement, said he could not justify using casino money to fund construction of a facility “for private enterprise.”“I fully support the Y and what they do, and hopefully they’ll find some property here in North Strabane and build a wonderful facility. That would be great,” said Balogh. “I just can’t support this agreement.“Kevin Bolding, president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh, expressed disappointment with the township’s decision to reject the proposed letter of intent.“While we are disappointed with the decision, we want our members and stakeholders to know this decision does not impact our commitment to the residents of Washington County or our current programming there. This includes the summer day camp currently serving 30 children at the North Strabane Municipal Park and the seasonal swim team resuming in August,” said Bolding. “We’ll continue to review alternative options for future programming and will keep the community informed of any updates.“Carolyn Grady, chief development officer for the YMCA of Pittsburgh, estimated construction of a new building would cost between $12 million to $14 million, based on preliminary analysis. The YMCA planned to raise funds for 50 percent of the cost of the facility and finance the remaining 50 percent.Supervisor Sonia Stopperich Sulc, who supported the YMCA project, said the agreement would have provided township residents with access to a recreational facility, without the township having the responsibility of managing and staffing a recreation center.“It was an excellent way to meet the recreational needs of the residents of North Strabane Township as well as surrounding communities,” she said. “It would have saved the township a ton of money in the long run.“Stopperich Sulc said the township had initially planned to donate a portion of North Strabane Township Municipal Park - which includes an artificial-turf football field, baseball fields, a soccer field, pavilions, playgrounds and concession stands - to the YMCA, but a geotechnical study showed that would not be possible.“That did not work out when we did the geotechnical study. So this was our way of kind of bridging that gap,” said Stopperich Sulc. “We wanted to be the initial donor to attract other donors to come in.“In other business, the board approved a preliminary final site plan for a 16,000-square-foot addition to the Ensinger Inc. building on Meadowlands Boulevard and approved the preliminary final site plan for a 214,700-square-foot building the plastic fabrication company plans to construct at Highland Meadow Drive.