Schenectady County

Duanesburg schools no longer pursuing YMCA ownership

FILE - The former Duanesburg YMCA building in March
PHOTOGRAPHER:

FILE - The former Duanesburg YMCA building in March

DUANESBURG — Schenectady County is in the process of trying to find a new owner for the former Duanesburg YMCA facility after plans to purchase and donate the property to the Duanesburg Central School District fell through.

The county originally planed to purchase the 26,000-square-foot facility using nearly $2 million in federal COVID-relief funds and donate the property to the school district, but those plans came to an end in October when the district announced it would no longer be pursuing ownership of the now-shuttered community center for financial reasons.

Erin Roberts, a county spokesperson, said the county is committed to finding a new use for the facility, but did not provide any specifics. Additional information, she said, will be shared as it becomes available.

“Schenectady County will continue to look for new and innovative ways to partner with organizations and municipalities to deliver the services our residents need and expect while minimizing the financial impact on our taxpayers,” Roberts said in an email. “We remain committed to finding a path forward that allows us to find an adaptable use for this important building and re-examining other options at this time.”

The facility, which sits on 28.6 acres of land at 221 Victoria Drive in the village of Delanson, includes a five-lane swimming pool, fitness center, pickleball and tennis courts, a commercial kitchen and outdoor play equipment. The property has an assessed value of $3.8 million, according to property tax records.

Constructed in 2009, the Duanesburg YMCA permanently closed earlier this year amid financial straits brought on by declining membership. The facility closed its doors in early 2020 due to the pandemic and never reopened.

But in July, the facility appeared poised to reopen after county lawmakers approved a resolution authorizing spending up to $1.8 million in American Rescue Plan Act funding to purchase the facility. Plans at the time called for donating the property to the Duanesburg Central School District, which hoped to use the space to operate its universal prekindergarten program and host athletic and afterschool programming. 

But residents have expressed concerns about additional school tax burden associated with maintaining the property should the deal go through as planned, despite beliefs from county and school officials that the ownership of the property could be transferred with no addition tax increases through various community partnerships.

In October, Superintendent James Niedermeier notified residents that the district would no longer be pursuing ownership of the facility in an emailed newsletter to parents, citing long-term operation costs. The letter was posted to the district’s website shortly after.

“As we have considered this, it has become apparent that the costs of the long term operations of this type of facility are best taken on by a different type of entity with greater and more flexible resources,” the letter reads.

The note goes on to say that the district would continue to advocate for “mutually beneficial scenarios” and that one had emerged, but did not go into specifics.

On Wednesday, Niedermeier referred comment about the future of the facility to the county, but said the district is still hoping to partner with the eventual owner to host its UPK and other programming at the location.

“What I do know is that even though we won’t be the main owner, our plan is to still partner with the eventual owner of that facility to do the programming that we talked about in the past,” he said.

 Contact reporter Chad Arnold at: [email protected]

Categories: News, News, Schenectady County

Leave a Reply