Nashville's Metro Parks Department has preliminarily agreed to take ownership of the Northwest Family YMCA in the city's Bordeaux neighborhood, but Mayor Megan Barry has delayed a vote on the matter until September.
The Northwest Family Y is one of the YMCA of Middle Tennessee's least-active sites, according to The Tennessean. If approved, the change in ownership could allow for additional on-site services and the ability to better meet the fitness needs of low-income families near Bordeaux, according to those pushing for the change. Importantly, the YMCA of Middle Tennessee would be relieved of one facility without having to undergo a closure.
A vote on the matter was slated to take place during the Aug. 1 meeting of the Board of Parks and Recreation, but on July 30 Mayor Barry asked the board for a postponement. The Y had offered to transfer the facility to the parks department for a sum of $10, but Barry told The Tennessean that more time is needed to discuss the proposition with the community.
Under the preliminary agreement, the facility's name would change and no longer carry the YMCA brand. However, it would offer new literacy, after-school and healthy-foods initiatives through the YMCA of Middle Tennessee's Healthier Communities Initiative. The parks department would also reimburse the Y for up to $750,000 in operating expenses during the first year of ownership.
“My goal in partnering with the YMCA is to ensure that the Bordeaux community continues to have access to a great fitness and recreation facility," Barry told The Tennessean. "When the YMCA leadership approached my administration with this proposal, I believed it was important for Metro to step up and commit to maintaining operations as the most viable option for long-term sustainability of this facility.
“It is clear from conversations with members of the community that more work needs to be done to deliver this message to the Bordeaux community," Barry said. "I’m asking the Metro Parks Board to defer this proposal until September so further community engagement can take place that will allow the Y and Metro to explain why we believe this proposal is in the best interest of the community long term, while also hearing feedback and answering questions about the future of this facility."
Jessica P. Fain, chief strategy officer of the YMCA of Middle Tennessee, also issued a statement in support of the delay and "continuing conversation," according to The Tennessean.
Metro Councilman DeCosta Hastings told The Tennessean the proposal has caused "mostly confusion" since it was first announced. He also expressed concerns about the services the facility would offer and whether or not residents would be "left out in an empty place."
The 45,000-square-foot center is situated across 11 acres northwest of downtown Nashville.