Wednesday, February 11, 2004

YMCA proposal/request at Bright Meadows Park

At the Feb. 11 monthly meeting of the County Parks Board representatives of the YMCA presented a proposal for the establishment of a YMCA facility on two acres of land adjacent to Bright Meadows Park at the corner of State Line and Einsel Rd. in Bright. In exchange for easement for access and utilities, the YMCA has offered to add parking in the park in the area furthest from State Line road (the back of the park), perform ordinary maintenance (mowing, grooming sports fields, trash management, open and close bathrooms, etc), and provide a single point of contact for scheduling the use of park facilities. The advantages to the YMCA in this matter are clear, allowing their patrons to have access to park acreage for jogging, organized sports, etc. without having to dedicate funds to purchasing additional land and making the appropriate improvements.

This proposal is in it's earliest stages of consideration. The Park board is, however, inclined to look favorably on this arrangement, as it will increase use of the park by citizens of Bright in particular and Dearborn County in general, as well as expand the range of options available to people engaged in the sort of activities the park naturally promotes. The board intends to retain the right to direct the YMCA in matters concerning scheduling of the park to ensure that citizens continue to have unimpeded access to use of the park without regard to their association or lack of same with the YMCA.

What is your view on this arrangement? Is this a naturally synergy that should be encouraged or an unacceptable entanglement of public facilities with private (albeit non-profit) operations? Do you think the YMCA will manage use of park facilities (ball fields, picnic shelters, etc.) appropriately?

Unfortunately, County administration has not yet established any e-mail accounts for use by the Board for feedback to the members on issues such as this. Therefore, please post your reactions using the 'Comments' link below (or submit your own article!!). Thank You.

Steve Walker
Dearborn County Park Board
Steward for Gladys Russell Park
Manchester Township

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