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Carondelet rec center opening in November

Judging by the amount of frustrated comments I received on the previous story I ran on the Carondelet Rec Center, I imagine this news isn’t going to please a lot of people. While nobody will question that this recreation facility is very nice, the fees and management arrangements for running the facility are proving contentious.

When the facility opens this November it will be run by the YMCA. Originally, it seemed that the Y would simply handle the logistics of the operation, but it now appears the the facility will be a YMCA in all but name. According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch

Membership rates for city residents will be similar to a YMCA membership. An adult membership will run $46 a month. A household membership will run $69. Seniors will pay a slightly reduced rate of $41.50. The fees will also include membership at the South City YMCA.

Some deal huh? While they might not have a pool, there are plenty of for-profit facilities around town that cost less than that. Since the construction of this facility was funded by a special 1/8 cent sales tax, these dues will be paying for management and upkeep of the facility only. That is what has me scratching my head. If this is a subsidized project that the public is paying for, why are the fees nearly identical to the Y’s normal fees? The Y who has to build their rec centers with their own money? In reality, it seems like the public was pretty much duped into footing the entire bill for a true-blue YMCA.

This is a big deal as the public outcry from this situation is likely going to affect construction of the second rec center due to be constructed in O’Fallon Park (in North City) and the potential for other such public projects in the future. Something just isn’t adding up here, which is causing a project that should be a celebration to be met with criticism.

Does anyone have any special insight into this situation?

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Matt Kastner

Matt Kastner is an Investment Real Estate Consultant at St. Louis Real Estate Society in St. Louis, Missouri. He is also develops properties on the side through Threshold Properties. When he isn’t representing investors in the purchase or sale of multifamily properties, rehabs, foreclosures and other income producing properties, he is often taking on rehab projects himself. He lives in South St. Louis and has been in the real estate business since 2004.

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2 thoughts on “Carondelet rec center opening in November”

  • Craig Scandrett-Leatherman

    September 10, 2010 at 8:45 am

    Matt,
    I often exercise in Carondelet Park, but this Monday went into the Carondelet Rec Center to see about a place to exercise on cold or rainy days. I was asounded to learn that the center built on public land and with public funds was being run by the YMCA and charging regular rates with no mention of sliding scales. This is outrageous. I can understand a need for boundary-making as such a facility, but we need more imagination than a boundary system that is class-income based. Public funds and lands should not be used for private health clubs that charge fees that are difficult or impossible for poor and middle income people to afford!

    -Craig

    Reply
    • Matt Kastner

      September 10, 2010 at 11:41 am

      I have heard that they will not turn anyone away for lack of ability to pay. I think the idea is that people that cannot afford to pay full membership can request a lower fee if they truly cannot afford it. If this is the case, which I don’t know one way or another, my guess is that they didn’t want to make it too easy to get lower rates or everyone would be claiming they should get the lower rates.

      That said, there are clearly some big questions about what is going on over there. The second Rec Center planned for O’Fallon Park is said be not have anything to do with the Y and will be run by the city. Makes you wonder. I am really surprised no print or video journalist in town has done an investigative piece on our use of tax dollars. (If they have, please provide a link).

      Reply

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