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Town Meeting on YMCA Thursday will gauge community interest

By BOBBY HORN JR.

CROSBY— How bad does Crosby want a YMCA and what are they willing to do to get one. These are some of the questions that organizers hope to get a handle on when they hold a public meeting July 31. The Crosby-Huffman Chamber of Commerce is hosting the meeting at Newport Elementary beginning at 7 p.m.

Despite the presence of youth programs at the Texas Sports Ranch, the Crosby Sports Association and a swimming pool in Newport, the chamber of commerce’s economic development committee has begun investigating the possibility of a YMCA in Crosby.

Speaking at the meeting will be Doug Earle, vice president of operations for the YMCA.

In June, Earle met with members of the economic development committee. At this, meeting he said that in order for Crosby to get a full-service facility, a number of actions must be taken. The first, he said, would be to charter a branch. The Houston Area YMCA would require Crosby to have an operating budget of $500,000, serve 2,000 people through their programs and have an ongoing support campaign which could contribute at least $25,000 annually to the local branch.

To build a facility the YMCA would have to acquire about 15 acres of land and $5 million. Since this is not often feasible at the start, Earle said that it is more likely that Crosby could begin a satellite office, from which they could run their programs. “Most of the things we can do without a building, although most communities want a building,” said Earle.

To operate a satellite office, Earle said that the community would have to provide at least $150,000 in program fees. Currently, those wishing to participate in YMCA programs have to go to either the Wendel D. Lay Branch in North Shore or the Baytown branch.

Earle said that he didn’t think a YMCA would have an adverse effect on existing youth programs in the community because their programs are less competitive and experience has shown that parents will supplement existing programs with the Y’s programs rather than replace they outright.