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‘Y’ news premature

Local television station news reports may have been a bit premature reporting that plans are underway for a Northshore YMCA facility.

Those plans are preliminary and not yet set in stone, a YMCA spokesman told farragutpress.

“The cat got out of the bag a little early,” Jim Dickson, president and CEO of the Knoxville YMCA said. “But we are a public company, so we certainly do not mind talking about it.”

Dickson said he still has meetings set up with local developer and farragutpress owner Doug Horne regarding the possible donation of some property in deep West Farragut, as well as being in talks with members of Sugarwood Homeowners Assoc-iation regarding the possibility of constructing a facility on the subdivision’s recreational property.

Dickson said, “They have a swimming pool and some flat ground out there that some people think would be great for a Y-M-C-A, so we are going to meet with their Homeowners Assoc-iation [Saturday], Jan. 12.

“There are always some hurdles, big and small, to jump in trying to develop a piece of property and we are in the mode of finding out what all those are.”

He added, “For us, the big piece of it is making sure it’s the right thing for the community and for us to go there. It sounds great and every one I have talked to is excited about this [Sugar-wood property] and the North-shore property.

“We are an organization run by volunteers. We are not some big franchise that comes in and drops a facility in a certain spot, we go where people want us.”

Dickson said it is possible YMCA will build a facility on both properties, adding it is too early in the planning phase to discuss what amenities each facility would have.

In regard to the Northshore property, which is located about six miles west of the Northshore exit off Interstate 140 on the old Prater farm, Dickson said, “We are in the process of doing the schematic designs to make sure that what we would like to put there will fit, what it will look like, preliminary budgets and that sort of thing.

“I would say there is a good chance that it will work here. There are so many factors that weigh into this; the support of the community, the cost of construction, what we can afford to build, all of that weighs into the final decision, which is made by community leaders that are volunteers for us.”

“It sure is nice to have four acres of property being offered free and clear to us,” he added.

The property would be located on the site of the Jefferson Park development being built by Eagle Bend Development Company.

Scott Davis, who owns Eagle Bend, said he donated the land because he felt a YMCA facility and Jefferson Park would be complimentary to one another.

“I know if my wife and kids had the opportunity to ride their bikes to a [facility such as the YMCA], they would love it,” he added.

If the property donation is accepted and the facility is built, the Jefferson Park development will lose 10 of its 299 approved lots, making Davis’ donation worth about $850,000.

Dickson said once the designs are in place and the decision is made to build on the property it takes about a year to build a YMCA facility.

“Usually a design for a building like this will take about three months ... so it would open spring or early summer of the next year.”


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