Putting the pieces together

Darrell Cole
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YMCA continued to meet separately with town, county on funding proposals

AMHERST - As much as they are fighting against the clock, officials with the Cumberland YMCA are continuing to work towards a solution that will make the cash-strapped recreational facility economically sustainable.

"We had hoped to be in a position to make a decision at Tuesday's board meeting, but we're just not there yet," board chair Paul Pugsley said Monday. "We are continuing to meet with the key stakeholders and work towards a solution."

Since announcing in late February that it was closing the pool because it could no longer support it while maintaining other core services, the YMCA's board has been meeting with both the Town of Amherst and the Municipality of Cumberland to develop a partnership agreement that would enable it to reopen the pool that closed March 16 while bringing about economic stability and allow it to put money aside for needed capital improvements such as the roof and the gym floor.

While it requested $280,000 as part of a five-year partnership agreement, the proposals from the town and the county came up about $60,000 short and left YMCA officials with some unanswered questions such as would the county's proposed $100,000 be less now that Amherst's offer was lower than expected.

The effort seemed to suffer a bit of a setback last week when Amherst Mayor Robert Small said the town is not interested in meeting with the county over the YMCA, suggesting the town is not interested in negotiating.

However, Pugsley said members of the YMCA board continue to meet with the town to clarify some issues and will be taking that information to a meeting hopefully later this week with the county.

The board chair would not say he's optimistic a deal can be reached, but at the same time he quickly pointed out it's not a doom and gloom scenario either.

"We're continuing to work our way through this and put the pieces of the puzzle together," Pugsley said. "It's just taking time to pull everything together. We'd like the process to go quicker, but this is a very important matter and we want to be careful because there's so much at stake."

Pugsley said the board has taken both offers and plugged them into the Y's proposed business plan and is presently working to see if the altered budget will work.


Organizations: YMCA, YMCA board

Geographic location: AMHERST

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