BOZEMAN, Mont. - The Gallatin Valley YMCA is one step closer to creating its new facility after making an agreement with Gallatin County on Tuesday.
"It was a big step today," Gallatin Valley YMCA CEO Andrea Stevenson said.
On Tuesday, the Gallatin County Commission approved a memorandum of understanding with the Gallatin Valley YMCA centered around the regional park.
"It's an agreement that we're going to move forward and come up with a configuration that is in the best interest of both the county and YMCA," explained Conservation Parks Director for Gallatin County Michael Harris.
Harris said the main part of the agreement outlines shared parking between the Regional Park and YMCA.
The YMCA owns seven acres of land at Regional Park, but leases 16 more from the county. In the agreement, 11 of those acres will go back into the hands of the county, with the remaining going toward the shared parking.
"When you add that large a facility of aquatics, plus a recreation center like the YMCA, plus all the uses at the Regional Park, you start to add up a lot of parking spaces," Harris said.
Harris is referring to a possible new City of Bozeman aquatics center, which is another piece of the puzzle. The city still needs to figure out where they want to build their facility, and if they will partner with the YMCA to build at Regional Park.
"We sure hope they join the Y because we would finally in our community have an all weather, indoor recreation center," Stevenson said.
Stevenson said they hope the city will agree to team up with them, instead of building on their own, but explained either way, the YMCA project is moving forward with or without the City of Bozeman's aquatic facility.
The YMCA is currently working on a campaign to raise $10.5 million to build the new facility.
The City of Bozeman has two aquatics facilities -- the indoor swim center and outdoor Bogert Pool. But Bogert Pool is aging, and the community is fast-growing. That is why they are looking to build a new aquatics center.
They have narrowed the possible locations down to Rose Park on the northwest side of town, or partnering with the YMCA at Regional Park.
The city is working hard to keep Bogert Pool open as long as they can until a new facility is built. The Bozeman Parks Department just finished re-doing the pool's drains to get it up to speed with new federal standards. Right now, they're working on washing the pool so they can fill it by the end of next week.
City officials explained Bogert needs a lot of maintenance and repair, but this year they are only doing the bare minimum while they wait for the city to move forward with a new aquatics center.
"We're not going over or above and beyond," explained Aquatics Manager Dan McCarthy. "We're not purchasing new slides, we're not doing anything like that. We're just getting the facilities open, safe for the public, so they have something to use for the summer and then continue the discussion of where to put and what to put for aquatics in the City of Bozeman."
Bozeman City Commissioners are set to discuss the aquatics facility at their meeting on June 9.
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