Roving Reporter | "YMCA Committee Meeting Draws Large Crowd" | Article and 3 Photos by Jeanette Larson

The City of Rockport's YMCA Development Committee held its regular monthly meeting on November 2, 2016 starting at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall. Due in part to recent coverage in the Corpus Christ Caller-Times and on social media, more than a typical number of people were in attendance.

Several citizens requested an overview of the plans to bring the Y to Rockport. The committee also cautioned that the plans are a "work in progress" and mentioned changes from published draft plans, such as adding a mezzanine with a jogging track and an area for child care. The planned facility, near the Community Pool, would currently be about 23,000 square feet and include space for classes, tutoring, and a service kitchen along with typical exercise and meeting space. The committee also stated that they had no plans to change any of the current pool programs and would, in fact, be adding to them.

In response to questions about fees, the committee said they are anticipating fees would be $30 a month for individuals and $35 for families. $40,000 in scholarships is budgeted for low income children to be able to join the Y. Fees for Rockport should be lower than in Corpus Christi because the building will be paid for with City bond money (2007 bond for a recreation center) and grants and donations, reducing overhead.

The committee promised that when the permit is pulled the plans will go before the City's Tree and Landscape Committee to save as many trees as possible. Chair, Brian Olsen, also corrected some misconceptions that have been floating around: all of the trees will not be taken down and new trees will be planted. There will be about 133 parking spaces, not the 400 some people have touted. Perhaps the piece of news many in attendance wanted to hear was that the Committee will include a "pool only" membership in the agreement between the City and the YMCA. This has been a major concern for many pool users who don't want to pay a full Y membership for occasional or winter use of the pool.

Because the Committee needs to raise closer to 90% of the building cost before starting construction and needs to raise funds for an executive director who will be responsible for grant writing and fundraising, there is currently no timetable for when the Y might actually be up and running in Rockport.

Jeanette Larson is a retired librarian and author. She and her husband, retired architect and artist Jim Larson, moved to Rockport several years ago for the birds, the beach, and the coastal community.

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