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Sugarwood rejects YMCA

Sugarwood residents determined a plan to build a YMCA on land owned by the Sugarwood Homeowners Association to be “not so sweet” at its annual meeting Saturday, Jan. 12, at St. Elizabeth Episcopal Church’s Tharp Hall.

Following a presentation of the proposed facility by YMCA president and CEO Jim Dickson, a motion was made and approved by a vote of 49-36 instructing the SHA Board of Directors to cease all negotiations with the YMCA.

Following the vote Dickson, said, “ We still believe there is a permanent home for the Farragut YMCA in Farragut, so we are going on with our plans to find that.

“The main [property] that we are looking at obviously is the Scott Davis property at Jefferson Park. We are still doing some due diligence on that piece of property to make sure that if we move there we would put the right thing in that space for what the community wants.”

As previously reported by farragutpress, Davis has offered to donate 10 of the 299 lots available at his new Jefferson Park development off Northshore at the former Prater farm.

During his presentation to SHA, Dickson revealed that an anonymous benefactor has promised a donation of $1 million if the YMCA facility is built in Farragut.

The Davis property is not in Farragut proper.

Dickson said he is waiting to find out if the benefactor will be on board with the Davis property.

“Part of the answer to that is based on what we build there,” he said.

“Many [Sugarwood residents] came to me and said they loved the idea of the YMCA, just not on their property,” Dickson added.

The idea to contact the YMCA regarding the property came after budgetary concerns about upkeep of the SHA pool arose.

The proposed agreement with YMCA was for the Y to take over the running and maintenance of the SHA pool and in return, they would be allowed to build on property owned by SHA.

The lease proposed terms of 30 years with a 30-year option.

Many SHA members felt the Board was entering into negotiations with YMCA without fully informing members.

Phil Ownes, a SHA member, said, “A lot of us feel that we are getting this railroaded down our throats real quick. I only received my notification on [Friday], Dec. 21, that they were going to vote on this. We have not had time to research this.

“I have gone back to look at our Board’s meetings, on our Web site, and there is no mention that this ever even came up. We are a little upset about that, we do not feel we were properly advised on this thing with enough time to even know how to vote.”

SHA Vice President Sam Rutherford said, “There is a lot that has been blown out of proportion and misrepresented, and I would suggest to you that a lot of it has been done intentionally. [Our meetings] are never intended to be ‘secret.’ I find that personally offensive.”


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