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Norwalk Committee Advances Agreement with the YMCA 

The YMCA will be a provider at the new Community Recreation Center at 98 South Main. (Kelly Prinz)

A five-year operating agreement between the YMCA and the City, for 2,000 square feet of space at the Community Recreation Center planned for 98 South Main Street, is headed for the Common Council with the full support of its Recreation, Parks, and Cultural Affairs Committee. 

Under the agreement, unanimously advanced by the committee at its meeting on Wednesday, February 14, the YMCA will be both a tenant and a provider, paying common charges such as electricity while also running programs, according to Robert Stowers, Norwalk’s director of Recreation and Parks director. 

“They get 2,000 square feet of space in the community center to run an E-Sports program and another program, a STEM program,” Stowers said. 

The organization’s involvement with the center dates back to before the pandemic, when the city and the YMCA entered an agreement for the Y to take over 98 South Main Street, renovate it, and run it as a YMCA. 

“That fell through some time ago,” Stowers said. “We took it upon ourselves to look at it again to see if parks and recreation could actually run this operation. We developed a program proposal and we vetted it with the mayor and we decided that parks would do that.”

The YMCA had received $2 million in federal funding through HUD to help with construction of the space. After conversations with the mayor, YMCA officials, and Congressman Jim Himes, the city and the YMCA entered into an agreement—recently approved by the council—to grant $1.75 million of that funding to Norwalk to help construct the center. The remaining funds stayed with the YMCA, to be used for their space in the building. 

The terms of the agreement include:

  • A five-year term, with an option to renew for five additional years. 
  • A $1 per year charge for the space along with common charges, such as utilities, snow and trash removal costs, and building management services.
  • A guarantee to operate STEM and E-Sports programs in the space.
  • A termination clause, allowing both parties to terminate the contract with 90 days notice.

The overall cost of the project is budgeted at $12 million. So far the city has secured $9.5 million from various sources, including the HUD grant and ARPA funds. In a memo from Alan Lo, the city’s building and facilities manager, he said that the remaining $2.5 million is being requested in this year’s capital budget. 

Comments

One response to “Norwalk Committee Advances Agreement with the YMCA ”

  1. Thomas Belmont

    In the wealthy town of Greenwich, after school activity included the use of the local elementary school Gym and a JUNIOR high School Gym for fall/winter basket ball games and free throw. The BOYS Club offered 2 days of the week at the elementary school ,and included table games and band practice. Supervision was provided , courtesy of the town funding. At the junior high school only basket ball was provided. These were places to go in the early evening for BOYS, 5 days a week. Science, Technology, Engineering and Math was provided by very stoic disciplined teachers during school hours. They were tough graders but dedicated. After School Recreational supervisors were also tough .Of course spring and summer was baseball. These were my activities as a youth. I don’t believe the Town had an exorbitant financial commitment of public funds but for many young men it provided a continuation of physical fitness and fellowship ; a stepping stone in citizenship and team spirit.

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