Wednesday, May 09, 2001

Boone Co. to acquire two Y sites

Choice replaces plan for an aquatic center

By Ray Schaefer
Enquirer Contributor

        FLORENCE — Instead of building one new aquatic center in Florence, Boone County Judge-executive Gary Moore said Tuesday the county plans to buy and upgrade two YMCA facilities for a total of $2.5 million.

        Mr. Moore said at a joint meeting of Boone County Fiscal Court and Florence City Council the county has signed a letter of intent to purchase the Tri-City YMCA on Main Street in Florence and the Union facility on U.S. 42. The two would become county facilities, managed by the YMCA for a fee to be determined.

        The YMCA is spending between $6 million and $8 million on a new facility at Boone Woods, a county park on Ky. 18 between Florence and Burlington.

        The county's decision to buy the two Y's will cost about $300,000 more than an aquatic center in Florence would have cost.

        Tuesday's announcement effectively ends any discussion of putting an aquatic center on property near the Florence Government Center on Ewing Boulevard.

        The county plans to build a new outdoor pool at Tri-City and upgrade Union's outdoor pool. The move would in effect give the county four pools — one indoor and one outdoor at Tri-City, Union's outdoor pool and the Boone Woods outdoor pool.

        While the two older YMCAs would be open for county residents' use, YMCA membership would still be required to use the Boone Woods indoor pool and facilities.

        “To have a (Tri-City) community center (Boone County residents) can use, there's a lot of positives there,” Mr. Moore said.

        Florence Councilman Mel Carroll said the city and county have been talking about an aquatic center for at least six years and seriously the past two. He was concerned about having a facility at least 35 years old.

        “We don't want to be perceived as the stepchild of the county,” Mr. Carroll said. “We would want the same type of facility” as Boone Woods.

        Added Florence Mayor Diane Whalen: “We want a first-class facility. We don't want a leftover YMCA.”

        Mr. Moore said the county doesn't have up to $8 million for that, but it would be seeking other funding for later improvements.


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