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Kansas Y May be Built with Tax-free Bond Issue

Kansas Y May be Built with Tax-free Bond Issue

A new YMCA may be built in downtown Wichita, KS, using funds raised by a public bond issued by the city of Wichita.

A public hearing will take place next Tuesday at Wichita City Hall to determine whether the city will issue a $23 million industrial bond issue, according to a report in The Wichita Eagle.

Allen Bell, the city's director of urban development, told the newspaper that if the deal is approved, the city would own the facility and the Y would pay off the bond through lease payments and be deeded the building when the bond was fully repaid. Because the YMCA is a nonprofit organization, the bond issue would be tax-free.

The communications director for the Greater Wichita YMCA, Shelly Conrady, told Club Industry that the bond issue would enable the Y to begin construction soon and pay off the bond through operating revenue as well as a capital fundraising campaign that will include private gifts, foundation grants and financing.

The new facility is slated to be built adjacent to the Y’s current downtown Wichita branch, which is 50 years old and would be demolished after the new Y opens. Current plans for the new Central Family Y include family-oriented fitness and recreational facilities, such as a zero-entry pool, a lap pool, cardio and strength equipment and exercise studios.

In addition to offering updated facilities and programming, Conrady says the new building will increase the number of people that the Y can serve.

“Within the three-mile area around the facility, there are about 110,000 residents, and a majority of the households in that area are low-income households,” Conrady says. “I believe that about 50 percent of them are households with annual incomes of $25,000 or less. Right now, the downtown Y is able to serve about 15,000 people, and we’re looking to at least double that to 30,000 with the new facility.”

Conrady adds that although the square footage of the current facility is around 60,000, only about 45,000 square feet of that is usable because the facility has so many stairways and corridors from additions built through the years. The new facility will be about 110,000 square feet, she says.

Although the construction timeline cannot yet be confirmed, Conrady says the new branch is expected to open sometime in 2012.

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