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Crosby explores possibility of building new YMCA

By BOBBY HORN JR.

CROSBY— Fifteen acres and $5 million. That is the estimated requirement to bring a YMCA facility to Crosby.

Last week, members of the Crosby-Huffman Chamber of Commerce’s economic development committee met with a senior member of the Greater Houston Area YMCA to find out exactly what steps would need to be taken to bring the organization to Crosby.

As vice president of operations for the YMCA, Doug Earle’s main duty is to supervise “baby branches” or facilities in outlying areas of the service area which stretches from League City in the south to Huntsville in the North, and from Katy to Baytown.

Typically, Earle said, when a community begins to seeking a YMCA branch they envision a building. But this is only a small part of what the organization offers he said. “Some people have a vision of what the YMCA is. Whether it is a building, a workout center, childcare, sports league or day camp for the underprivileged. Actually, we’re all of those.”

In most cases, when the YMCA comes to a community they look at first establishing a schedule of programs using facilities owned by local churches, schools, and county parks. “Most of the things we can do without a building, although most communities want a building,” Earle said.

Earle said that the YMCA is committed to developing the Body-Mind-Spirit triangle, which is part of the organization’s logo, through its program.

In order for Crosby to be considered for a YMCA branch, Earle said, the community would have to show that they could support programs that would generate at least $150,000 in fees per year. This, he added, would enable the YMCA to employ a full-time person to coordinate the local programs with an assistance from a parent branch. In Crosby’s case, the parent branch would be the Wendel D. Lay Branch on Wallisville Road in North Shore.

To become chartered as a branch, Earle said that a branch should have an operating budget in excess of $500,000, have two professional directors on staff, serve at least 2,000 participants and have a support campaign that is at least 5% of the operating budget.

Earle suggested the first step for Crosby to get a branch would be for a group of citizens, such as the economic development committee, begin polling residents to determine if there would be widespread interest in the organization’s programs. Once this is determined, the committee can begin looking for land and major financial backers. Ideally, 20% of the initial start-up funds should come from a philanthropic source such as corporate or individual donations of money and/ or land, Earle added.

Velma Ellison, who serves on the economic development board, said that they would like to have community wide meeting in late July to gage citizen support of the program.