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Survey gauges interest in regional YMCA

By Bryan Marshall

If they build it, will you come?

That’s the question a committee of areas citizens is trying to find an answer to as they assess the possibility of a YMCA facility or programs coming to Walton.

The committee is asking residents of surrounding areas to fill out a survey by Oct. 7 to see what programs they would like to see, how much they would be willing to pay in dues and how often they would visit a YMCA facility weekly.

“Our committee needs to understand the needs of the citizens and if those households would drive to a facility such as a YMCA,” said Nicole Mize, chair of the committee. “We are looking at property directly off Interstate 75 near the Walton Kroger. We thought this was centrally located to serve areas such as Walton, Union, Richwood, Dry Ridge, Crittenden, Williamstown, Independence, Taylor Mill and others and be sort of a middle ground between Cincinnati and Lexington.”

There are two Grant County residents on the committee, which organized this spring.

Shelley Hurles covers Crittenden and Dry Ridge and Michelle Ballard covers Williamstown.

“We couldn’t decide if we wanted to be simply a recreation committee to get teens off the street or branch out to serve a greater need to a bigger audience,” Mize said. “We have partnered with the YMCA on this initiative and in June 2011 they performed a feasibility survey through a company in Tampa, Fla.”

The results of the study indicated that the area was too sparsely populated and the region could not support a complete amenity facility.

The committee now is hoping to bring a variety of YMCA programs to the area as a first step to an eventual facility.

Potential programs could include cooking classes, swim lessons, yoga, art and a variety of youth sports.

“We all feel as though the survey didn’t fully paint the picture of the need and did not take into account that in our area, people will drive and do drive to get to the grocery store, churches, schools, etc. and could drive to come to a YMCA,” said Mize.

Once the committee determines what programs the area would like to see, they will work with the YMCA to set up satellite locations to hold classes based on the needs.  

The goal is to have programs in place in early 2012 with fundraising for a building to follow.

The surveys can be found on the City of Walton website at www.cityofwalton.org .

They can be mailed to Walton City Hall: 40 North Main St., Walton, KY 41094 or e-mailed to waltonymca@cityofwalton.org.

The committee also has a Walton YMCA Facebook page where residents can follow the progress.

“A YMCA facility strengthens a community,” Mize said. “Through grade school, everyone plays at recess, but in high school not everyone gets to play. A YMCA helps kids build confidence, teaches them important things about staying healthy and overall gives them some place to belong. It takes a village to raise a child and a facility like a YMCA brings the village to a common meeting place.”