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New Orleans YMCA Development Continues at Former Naval Base Despite Litigation

The YMCA of Greater New Orleans is planning a dedication ceremony on May 16 after the completion of a state-funded $2.4 million first phase of development of a fitness center that is being converted from a former naval base in the Federal City complex in Algiers, LA.

The center, which recently opened, already has about 800 members and will continue developing its second phase, which will include a swimming pool, The Times-Picayune reported.

The privately operated YMCA helps serve the 1,300 Marines and civilians working at the Marine Corps Support Facility, which is at the heart of the new complex. The $150 million state-funded project to convert the former Navy base will help support the Marines and their families with amenities, including a child development center, a hotel, an auditorium and a parking garage

The YMCA will operate the Federal City's child care development center as part of the Navy lease agreement. To do this, the YMCA entered into a separate sublease with Federal City development team HRI/ECC to run the child care center. Contractual disputes then led the YMCA to sue HRI/ECC last month claiming it owes almost $100,000 for the center.

The lawsuit, filed in New Orleans Civil District Court, alleges HRI/ECC violated the sublease with the YMCA by not paying nearly $100,000 in start-up costs and compensation for the losses the YMCA incurred in operating the center, the Times reported.

The New Orleans Federal Alliance, which selected HRI/ECC as the master developer and oversees Federal City, released a statement saying it "remains committed to ensure that anyone working on the Federal City project fully meets its contractual requirements and that the Mega Fund money granted to this project will only be spent on things that are clearly appropriate and in the community's and the project's best interests."

More than 60 children, primarily of military parents, attend the child care center. The YMCA's board of directors has considered not renewing its contract to operate the center when it expires June 30. The lawsuit has no effect on the fitness center.

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