Land being acquired for rec center
By Brian L. Gray
Plans for a YMCA in Mandan has taken another major step forward to becoming a reality.
The city of Mandan has approved $1.5 million to be used for the purchase of 1.25 acres of property next to Raging Rivers, which will be set aside for a potential YMCA.
An initial $750,000 has been given for the project, and an annual $150,000 will be distributed the following five years.
The money will come from the Mandan Visitor’s Fund, which usually generates an average of $300,000 to $350,000 each year from funds collected from restaurant and lodging taxes.
The proposal to purchase the property and to sign a draft agreement with the YMCA will now go to the Mandan Park District for approval during its regular monthly meeting on Monday, July 8.
The process of bringing a YMCA to Mandan has been in the works for three years now.
Mandan Parks District Director Cole Higlin says he hopes the Mandan Park District and the YMCA are able to create a $10 to $12 million facility for residents.
The park owns little over 8 acres in the Raging Rivers area. Higlin says 5.25 acres are needed to operate a YMCA. Two additional acres in the park, on the southwest corner, have been purchased by a private buyer.
On another area of the park, where the racetrack sits, is where another buyer has acquired that land. Higlin says it is being set aside for further expansion, but can’t say who it is at this time.
“Before anything is built there, the people want to see at least two years of work before they step in,” Higlin said.
The park district will purchase and own the land, while the YMCA will lease the land from the district and own the building.
The process of bring a YMCA into Mandan still has a ways to go. Funding will require more partnerships with private and public entities before anything will be built. Even if all goes as planned, Higlin says, ground will not be broken for the YMCA until 2015.
The plans at this time are to have a large gym with a suspended running tack, a wellness center, studio for classes, childcare classrooms, office space and locker rooms.
If the plans do fall through, proceeds from the sale of the land would go back to the Mandan Visitor’s Fund, Higlin said.
Bismarck YMCA Executive Director Bill Bauman said the YMCA has been looking to expand locally for some time, and one of the best ways to expand is with the help of multiple entities.
“This is the way you get jobs done. You partner with people,” said Bismarck YMCA Executive Director Bill Bauman. “These projects are so costly, unless you get creative and you have to partner to get these things done.”
Previous projects funded by the Mandan Visitor’s Fund include the Mandan Community Center, All Seasons Arena, Dykshoorn Park and Dakota Centennial Park.