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By Chevon T. Baccus APR
Executive Editor 

City Still Negotiating for YMCA Facility Purchase

Lake Wales Residents Now Have Free Access to Swimming Pool


Last updated 6/12/2019 at 4:01pm

Mike Carter

While the City of Lake Wales continues negotiations to purchase the local YMCA facility, their current partnership still allows city residents free access to the Y swimming pool.

This is the third year the city has been paying $3,000 per month to give city residents access to the Y pool. City residents may use the pool from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. and 4-7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 4 p.m. on Sundays. The Y is located at 1001 Burns Ave in Lake Wales.

To receive a guest card to utilize the pool, show proof of Lake Wales residency such as a driver's license or utility bill, at the YMCA front desk and fill out a guest waiver form. Once guests receive a usage card they can simply scan it before each visit to the pool. All patrons under age 13 are required to check in with the lifeguard on duty to receive their swim test.

The city has been talking to the Y about purchasing the facility for more than a year. The proposed purchase price included in this year's budget is $636,000, which would pay off the mortgage, but city officials have estimated the need for another $250,000 in repairs.

Lake Wales Assistant City Manager James Slaton and City Attorney Chuck Galloway are working with Y officials to hammer out both facility use and program operating agreements. Slaton is working on a win-win proposal that would free the local Y from its facility debt and give the city a recreation asset at significantly below market value.

City commissioners will hold a workshop to discuss recreation issues, including the latest contract proposal for the YMCA of West Central Florida to continue operating the facility once it is purchased by the city. The Lakeland organization has been managing the Lake Wales Family YMCA, which has its own local Board of Directors. If city commissioners agree to proposed terms, the city would proceed with purchasing the facility and then leasing it back to the Lakeland Y group to operate.

Mike Carter

The YMCA would continue to manage and operate the child care program, camps, aquatics, youth and sports activities, exercise and wellness programs. Under the proposal currently being negotiated, the property would be leased back from the City to the YMCA for $1 a year. The building and property would be owned by the City with future ability to renovate, expand, add other amenities and use the property for city events.

Slaton said agreements would include special pricing for city residents, who currently make up about 41 percent of the Y's membership. He said as the "landlord," the city would be responsible for any major repairs or renovations, but the Y would still be expected to handle minor repairs and pool maintenance.

Author Bio

Chevon T. Baccus APR, Contributing Writer

After working as a newspaper reporter and editor for eight years, Chevon moved on to a long career in public relations, marketing and business development. After 2 1/2 years as founding publisher of she's happy to still be an occasional contributor.

Email: [email protected]
Phone: 8636511065


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