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Tuesday, April 16, 2024 at 10:24 PM
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YMCA, city collaborate on expansion

YMCA, city collaborate on expansion
The 10-year-old YMCA building serves as Hutto’s community recreation center. With the city growing, the facility is in dire need of expansion. Photo by Edie Zuvanich

HUTTO — Hutto and the YMCA have a unique arrangement. In 2014, Hutto built a community recreation center at 200 Alliance Blvd. The city awarded a contract for operations of the facility to the YMCA to manage the facilities. Today, the facility is overcrowded and, according to the city and the YMCA, greatly in need of expansion.

“Overcrowding is an issue across all of our Central Texas locations, but if you look specifically at the Hutto YMCA you’ll see that we’ve got the smallest square footage and we’re fitting well over 10,000 people into that little building,” Russell Daniel, a YMCA representative, told City Council at its March 21 meeting.

Hutto’s recreation center is a 28,000-square-foot building housing 10,568 fee-paying members. Round Rock’s YMCA serves a couple thousand more — 13,714 members — in an 80,000-square-foot facility. Of the five locations Daniel presented information on, Hutto was smallest followed by Burnet YMCA at 50,000 square foot, Cedar Park YMCA at 65,000 square feet, then Round Rock and Waco both at 80,000 square feet.

Residents lined up at the podium to tell council how important “the Y” has been to their health and well-being during a March 21 council meeting. Many of the residents are seniors who said they depend on the YMCA for their social lives as well as maintaining a level of health that keeps them independent.

“I have developed a huge group of friends. The amount of seniors there is staggering,” said Hutto resident Rochelle Bradley of her experience at the YMCA. “There is so much that the YMCA does for seniors and their wellness. We need that facility and we need it to be bigger.”

According to data presented, the YMCA had 24,000 people participate in group exercise classes last year and 2,500 kids enrolled in youth sports. Their child watch program served 39,600 drop-ins for children’s programs or childcare while parents exercised.

Per the most recent agreement between the city and the YMCA, the non-profit organization covers 100% of the operation and maintenance costs of the facility.

YMCA representative Bryon Borchers said that over the 10 years of its existence, Hutto’s YMCA has provided over $800,000 in community impact to Hutto.

The representatives then asked the city to fund half of a $1 million upgrade which would provide some immediate alleviation of overcrowding.

The money would be used for four projects: Building a shaded outdoor exercise area with equipment.

Creating more interior space for free weights and stretching by knocking out some interior walls Building outdoor pickleball courts Updating the institutional- style locker rooms and possibly adding more showers After the YMCA presentation, in a bit of serendipitous timing, Council Member Amberley Kolar asked Mayor Mike Snyder if council could move up an item posted for discussion later on the agenda. The item included options for spending $1.8 million in unassigned funds from the Durango Farms Community Benefit Fee.

Council had discussed projects for the $1,814,600 income from the fee at a previous meeting and had asked city staff to come back with some suggestions. Staff’s response was included on the March 21 agenda.

City Council voted unanimously to give $500,000 to the YMCA out of the Durango fees rather than working the request into the upcoming 2025 budget strategy.

“We appreciate the partnership with the city and all the city staff, all the city departments. We couldn’t do this without the help of the city. You’ve been a great partner. We just want to be a partner back,” Borchers said.

Hutto resident Rochelle Bradley says she depended on the YMCA to help her overcome health issues and create a social network. Photo courtesy of the city of Hutto

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