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THE WEST END ASSOCIATION, INC.
c/o James E. Vaughan, President
814 West End Boulevard
Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27101
(336) 724-4579
October 30, 1998

 

VIA TELECOPY: 777-6345
Mr. Brian T. Cormier
YMCA of Greater Winston-Salem
1144 West Fourth Street
Winston-Salem, North Carolina 27101

Dear Brian:

 

First, I want to thank you for taking the time to meet with Lisa Elam and me to discuss the Central YMCA’s plans regarding the proposed aquatic center. As you know, we consider the Central YMCA to be a significant facility in our neighborhood and are extremely interested in any major changes to the use or structure of the facility. The YMCA and the West End neighborhood have been, for the most part, good neighbors and we would like to see our relationship flourish.

 

Second, I wish to apologize for the delay in sending this correspondence. After our meeting, Lisa and I presented our discussion with you to our Board of Directors. It was decided at our Board meeting that we simply did not have sufficient information to justify taking an affirmative position with regard to the proposed aquatic center at the Central YMCA location. We appointed a task force to look at this issue and complied a list of questions and concerns. The task force was only able to meet this week, resulting in the delay in forwarding this letter. The specific purpose of this letter is to advise you of certain concerns raised by the task force and to solicit additional information that may be helpful in formulating our position.

 

As a preface, please recall that the West End Association, Inc. (WEA) has presented a Resolution to the Downtown Development Corporation (DDC) supporting in principle the Downtown Plan proposed by the DDC. The version of the Downtown Plan which the WEA supported included the proposed aquatic center in a downtown location. We remain firm in our conviction that the Downtown Plan will be viable only if sufficient activity centers are in place to draw people downtown. The proposed aquatic center is just such an activity center. We realize that the aquatic center was removed from the version of the Downtown Plan approved by the Board of Aldermen; however, the City-County Planning Board approved a version of the Downtown Plan which contained the aquatic center. The WEA stands behind its support for the Downtown Plan and we would be disappointed to see a sufficient number the suggested activity centers fail to be developed.

 

As a preliminary assessment of the proposed aquatic center, it is the belief of the Board of the WEA that the current Central YMCA facility is oversubscribed, overburdened and already presents a barely tolerable strain on surrounding neighbors, particularly during peak usage hours. We have significant concerns that the proposed aquatic center will only add to the burden of the existing location and will place additional strain on the West End neighborhood. However, we wish to remain open-minded and are soliciting additional information to assist us with making a more considered assessment.

 

Now, on to the specific information regarding the proposed aquatic center. In order to assist us with our analysis of your request that we support that proposed aquatic center at the Central YMCA, we would like to have specific information regarding the following items:

 

• Impact on the Central YMCA Location

• Proposed size of the facility

• Orientation to the existing site

• Number of parking spaces lost by new construction

• Number of additional parking spaces required by new construction

• Anticipated number of parking variances to be requested

• Proposed demolition of residential properties owned by the YMCA

 

• Anticipated Usage of Aquatic Center

• Number of schools using facility for practice purposes and proposed schedule for such use

• Number and frequency of anticipated special events

• Hours and duration of special events (will such use coincide with current peak hours?)

• Incremental increase in number of people using the facility versus current usage figures for Central YMCA

 

 

• Feasibility Study for Alternate Locations

• Has one been done?

• Are there comparable facilities in comparable cities?

• If such facilities exist, is financial information regarding their operations available?

• Has the national YMCA been approached to fund a feasibility study?

• Financial justification for the conclusion that a stand-alone facility will not work, including comparable financial data from comparable facilities in comparable cities

• Have alternative funding options, such as area development incentives and tax subsidies, been considered?

• If a stand-alone facility is not feasible, whether the aquatic center would be better located at a less burdened site, such as Clemmons or Winston Lakes.

• Impact on the West End Neighborhood

• Plans to close Sunset Street

• Impact on traffic flow

• Justification for closing

• Anticipated changes in traffic flow and parking requirements

• Anticipated increase in noise and late evening usage of the Central YMCA facility

• Anticipated change in number of general memberships at Central YMCA

• Proposed demolition of residential properties owned by the YMCA

• Proposed changes to landscaping on Glade Street and other areas surrounding the facility

• Visual impact from Glade Street, Sunset Street and Hanes Park

Brian, we realize that this encompasses a significant amount of information; however, we trust that the YMCA has already compiled a substantial amount of this information as part of the justification materials for its capital campaign. We simply do not feel in a position to offer a firm position without additional information. We hope that you can provide the response to this request in writing in order to permit the information to be shared with the largest number of people in the most efficient manner. Although it is too late to have the information compiled and returned to us before our November Board meeting, we may wish to invite you to attend our Board meeting on the first Tuesday in December.

 

We look forward to your response. Of course, feel free to call me should you have any questions or should you require clarification of any issues.

 

Very truly yours,

 

WEST END ASSOCIATION, INC.

 

James E. Vaughan

President