WHITING | The city is moving forward with plans to lease the Whiting Community Center to the YMCA for $1 per year.
"We have a signed MOA and the lease is waiting for board approval, so it's pretty much a done deal," Mayor Joe Stahura said.
The city would still own and maintain the building, but the YMCA would take over operational control.
On Wednesday, the city will go forward with plans to close the building for six or seven months for remodeling, Stahura said.
The 85,000-square-foot facility, built in 1923, costs the city about $800,000 annually to operate, Stahura said.
He said with revenues of only $250,000, taxpayers end up subsidizing about $550,000 a year on the building.
"Redeploying over a half a million dollars is gonna be a welcome sight for us," Stahura said.
Some of the work to be done on the building will include making locker rooms compliant with the Americans With Disabilities Act and restoring the main entrance to its original condition.
All 16 bowling alleys in the center will be removed to create exercise space that the YMCA will be responsible for furnishing.
Stahura realizes losing the lanes may be unpopular with some, but he said people these days prefer to go to modern lanes with automatic scoring.
"We have now two leagues," Stahura said. "You can't pay the bills with two leagues, and open bowling is a really small, minimal part of it."
Stahura said residential taxpayers will incur no cost of the renovation project, which is expected to cost about $3 million. It will be paid for through tax increment financing dollars.