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Time Running Out on YMCA's Lease to Build in McIntire Park - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

Time Running Out on YMCA's Lease to Build in McIntire Park

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The clock is ticking for the Piedmont Family YMCA to build in McIntire Park. Because of a legal battle, the YMCA is no closer to construction five years after signing a lease to build in McIntire Park.

According to the Charlottesville Area Fitness Club operators, which includes ACAC Fitness and Gold's Gym, both Albemarle County and the city of Charlottesville did not follow the Virginia Public Procurement Act, which requires a bid process.  City and county attorneys claim the deal was a donation and falls under a different code.   The case made it all the way to the Virginia Supreme Court. 

The Virginia Supreme Court has not yet handed down a decision.  It was supposed to come down in September, then November.   The next possible date for the court to issue an opinion is January 11.   

According to the lease between the YMCA and Charlottesville, the YMCA has 60 months from the agreement date to break ground on the project. That lease expires on January 15, around the same time a decision could come down. 

"That will squeeze us a little tight in terms of getting the ruling and gearing up a contractor to actually break ground," said Kurt Krueger, board of directors chairman for the Piedmont Family YMCA.  "I don't anticipate an issue getting an extension for the ground lease."

The delay means a 3.2 percent jump in construction costs - that's more than $1 million.  The price tag now stands at $14 million and so far, $9 million has been raised.  The rest will have to be financed.

We're told the legal challenge has stalled fundraising efforts.  Krueger said, "New donors want to know that it's really going to happen."

Even after all this time, and battle after battle in the courtroom, the Piedmont Family YMCA says building in McIntire Park is still the best option.

Krueger said, "There's no other location that is as good as McIntire in terms of access to people in the city, in terms of access to people in the county."

Over the summer, the YMCA partnered with a group to run a pool and fitness center in Claudius Crozet Park.  While they expected 500 memberships within six months, they actually had 745 within one month of opening. The YMCA says this is a sign that its services are needed.

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