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?