Work to begin next week on $4.2 million YMCA facility in Milton
MILTON Whether residents choose to view it as “Janesville YMCA North” or “Milton YMCA South,” it’s coming in fall 2013—and it has a new name.
It’s the Parker YMCA.
The YMCA of North Rock County is ready to break ground next week on a 25,000-square-foot facility at Townline Road and Parkview Drive in Milton, CEO Tom Den Boer told The Gazette.
Den Boer said crews are poised to start excavating as early as Monday on the $4.2 million facility, which will include a full-service preschool and day care service, a gymnasium and fitness center and a youth activity center.
Construction of the Parker YMCA will likely start in earnest in spring 2013, and the new Y could be open to the public by October 2013, Den Boer said.
The facility, which will be located in Crossridge Park in Milton, is intended to serve Milton residents and hundreds of families who live on the north side of Janesville.
When the Parker YMCA opens, the two satellite YMCA facilities on the northeast side of Janesville and along Janesville Street in Milton will close, Den Boer said.
He said he expects membership at the two facilities to migrate to the Parker YMCA.
Members will have access to both the Parker facility and the downtown Janesville YMCA, Den Boer said.
The YMCA was prepared go forward on a Milton facility at Townline Road 2008, but the economic downturn delayed fundraising for the project.
The YMCA earlier this year landed a $1 million challenge grant from the Parker family of Janesville. Den Boer said that along with hundreds of other private donations have set the table for the project, which will bear the Parker name.
Earlier plans called for the facility to be named a more Milton-centric "Crossridge YMCA."
The city of Milton already has approved all major plans for the project except for façade designs, which could be approved in the coming days, said Jeff Hazekamp, president of Angus Young Associates, the project’s engineer.
The city plans to kick in $170,000 for a shared parking lot at the Parker YMCA, which will be connected to Crossridge Park and several acres of YMCA-owned playing fields.
Den Boer said the project is timed so the grand opening will come next fall, when families are fresh off summer break and returning to their routines.
“The excitement and anxiety is so high,” Den Boer said.
Hazekamp said plans are for contractor JP Cullen & Sons to complete as much of the project as the weather will allow this fall and winter.
The Parker YMCA will be a scaled-back version of initial plans to build a 60,000-square-foot, full-service facility with an aquatic center.
The potential price tag for that facility was $12 million. Den Boer said those plans were hatched between 2005 and 2008, before the economy took a nosedive.
Unlike earlier plans, Parker YMCA does not include an aquatic facility.
Den Boer said that amid the economic recession, the YMCA’s board decided it wouldn’t be realistic to try to raise the capital necessary for an aquatic center, which he estimates could cost $3 million.
Den Boer said that when the YMCA was considering a Milton facility with an aquatic center, local officials were projecting an explosion of residential development along Highway 26 corridor between Janesville and Milton.
But that boom never happened. In fact, residential growth wilted along Highway 26, most notably with the 2009 insolvency of Kennedy Homes—a planned 900-home residential development between Janesville and Milton.
Den Boer said current residential development along Highway 26 does not provide a potential user base big enough to justify an aquatic facility at the Parker YMCA.
“It (an aquatic center) will be there in time, just not at the current pace of things in the economic world,” Den Boer said.
Normal daytime use of the Parker YMCA is estimated to be 30 to 50 people at any given time during operating hours, with 120 to 150 users at times of “high capacity,” according to estimates by Angus Young Associates.
Den Boer said the Parker YMCA would need more users than that before adding a pool. He said the building is being designed so an aquatic center could easily be added to its southwest side.
In the past, the YMCA was in talks with the Milton School District over a partnership on an aquatic center that would replace the aging pool at Milton High School. Under one concept, the school district would fund an aquatic center at the Parker YMCA, and the YMCA would cover the $250,000 annual operating and maintenance costs.
Den Boer said that plan
hasn’t been discussed between the two sides since a 2011 survey by the YMCA and the district showed residents did not favor a referendum to fund a public-private aquatic center.
Still, Den Boer said, the YMCA has “left the door open for that option.”
Milton School Board President Rob Roy dropped hints at a board meeting Oct. 9 about a potential referendum to support district operating costs, and potentially, construction of a new Milton High School.
Roy at that time did not mention an aquatic facility tied to referendum spending.
The board hasn’t resumed talks on a referendum since last month, and the district’s top official, Superintendent Mike Garrow, has been on an approved leave for the last four weeks.