September 10, 2012
KINGSPORT, Tenn. – At its regular monthly meeting last night, the Kingsport BMA approved a resolution to terminate its agreement with the Greater Kingsport Family YMCA to manage the operation of the soon to be opened Kingsport Aquatic Center. Scheduled to open in the spring of 2013, the YMCA Wellmont Center and Kingsport Aquatics Center projects are moving forward. Since 2010, the Greater Kingsport Family YMCA and the City of Kingsport have been pursuing a partnership involving the construction of a new Y facility and the adjacent City owned aquatics facility, both designed to improve the local quality of life as well as attract new visitors to the greater Kingsport area.
The partnership, forged some three years ago, initially included a Management Agreement under which the YMCA would manage and operate the Aquatics Center for the City of Kingsport. After further analysis and study, the City has now chosen to manage and operate the Aquatics Center in-house, but continues to move the overall project, and partnership, forward.
The City has always had the intent to improve the quality of life for residents through safety instruction, family leisure opportunities and the chance to use aquatics as a tool for a more physically active community. While the Y will no longer be assuming the management of the Aquatics facility, they will continue to deliver their family-friendly member experience for everyone wishing to be a part of the Y family at the adjacent Y facility. Y members will also continue to have access to all the aquatics facilities as part of their membership.
“The Y is committed to providing quality facilities and programs to our community,” said Charles Glass, Executive Director and CEO of the YMCA. “The City’s decision to manage the Aquatics Center themselves does not change accessibility for Y members, who will still have full access to everything on site, including all aquatics. Neither will it change our commitment to work with the city in assuring the best experience possible for everyone. We will continue to honor our cause and commitment to building a healthier community in an environment which is welcoming to all segments of the community. We are very excited for the opportunity to do so as part of a one-of-a-kind, state-of-the-art complex for the Kingsport area.”
Kingsport City Manager John Campbell applauded the Y for its ongoing community leadership, with the new Y facilities and Aquatic Center playing a major role in the Y’s mission.
“The Y is an extremely effective non-profit entity dedicated to improving the safety and health of the entire community,” Campbell said. “And the effectiveness of their efforts will be even greater in partnership with the City.”
At the same time, Campbell also said City staff continue to study how successful publicly-owned aquatic facilities are operated.
“Through the new arrangement, Kingsport can more fully integrate the facility into the fabric of existing city operations,” he said. “As our understanding has evolved, it became clear a good operating solution would more fully utilize existing City resources already in place, including Public Works, Information Technology, Human Resources, Legal and Finance. This also allows the City greater flexibility to partner with other community resources to maximize utilization.”
According to a release by the Y, their focus is on more than a building, or a list of services relating to physical health. The Y provides care for children afterschool, a welcoming summer camp experience for students, year-round activities and care for children with special needs, swim lessons, physical activity opportunities for every age group, a safe place for families to learn life skills, and best of all, they make it accessible to everyone. Roger Mowen, YMCA Board Chair 2012 Annual Support Campaign Chair reaffirmed that “the Y is committed to, and has the capacity to, serve all members of our community, as evidenced by the financial assistance the Y provides each year to members of our community who otherwise would not have access to the Y’s programs and services. The Y will continue to offer assistance to anyone wanting membership with the Y, which will also include the aquatics amenities.”
The Y is the nation’s leading nonprofit committed to strengthening communities in the areas of youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. The Kingsport Y currently serves over 3,800 people in our community—regardless of age, income, or background—to nurture the potential of children and teens, improve the nation’s health and well-being, and provide opportunities to give back and support neighbors. For more information, please call 423.247.9622 or visit ymcakpt.org.