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During the May 10 City Council meeting, Council Members unanimously approved a measure that will authorize the City Manager to enter into an agreement with the YMCA of Metropolitan Fort Worth to operate the Center recreational facility within Generations Park at Boys Ranch starting this fall, when the building is complete. By moving forward with the YMCA, it will save the City of Bedford approximately $600,000, expand programming choices, help reduce membership rates, and provide financial assistance options to members.
“This was a difficult decision, but at the end of the day we have a responsibility to be as financially responsible as possible with taxpayer dollars while also finding a way to bring more value and more services to residents,” said Mayor Michael Boyter. “We consulted with other cities who partner with the YMCA for their recreational facilities operations and gained valuable insight into how we can make this partnership as success. We’ve also taken feedback from the residents during the Town Hall meetings and incorporated a number of those ideas into the operations and future management of the Center.”
When the agreement is finalized, the YMCA will be responsible for staffing of the Center (and maintaining staffing levels); maintenance, repair, and janitorial/custodial services for the building; as well as the maintenance costs of the Center, including the outdoor waterpark. However, the rest of Generations Park at Boys Ranch, including the ballfields, will be City-operated.
The City will also be responsible for covering the cost difference between total expenses and total revenue, equipment and furniture replacement, capital items and repair, paying the lease for the cardio fitness equipment, in addition to grounds keeping and lawn care.
A rate structure has not been finalized at this time, as the City is still exploring ways to deliver the lowest membership costs possible. However, in the agreement, Bedford residents will receive a 20 percent membership fee discount and will not have to pay any initiation fees. Non-Bedford residents will not have to pay an initiation fee during the first six months. The City Manager, Mayor, and Council will present a plan to further reduce membership rates for residents, beyond the 20 percent discount, at an upcoming Council meeting.
The City will also ensure all available senior citizen discounts will be available as well as financial assistance programs (for lower rates) for qualifying members. All members of the Center will also have access to any other YMCA facility in the country, as an added benefit of the future partnership.
Checks and Balances
City officials have come up with a list of primary deal points that will be incorporated into the agreement, they include, but are not limited to:
The Process Behind the Decision
The Council and staff have been exploring the potential of a partnership with an outside agency to operate the Center for several months. In January, the Council held Town Hall-style meetings in January for the YMCA to present detailed information about what to expect from a potential partnership and for community members to ask questions. Following the meetings, the City began a formal Request for Proposal (RFP) process soliciting bids from organizations, like the YMCA, interested in potentially operating the Center. The YMCA of Metropolitan Fort Worth was the only one to respond to the RFP.
The timing of this decision was crucial so whichever entity deemed responsible for the Center operations could begin the lengthy hiring process for all positions and other preparations needed to open the facility in October.
Now that City staff has Council approval to move forward with negotiating terms, the City Manager and City Attorney will work with the YMCA to finalize an agreement over the next several weeks. A finalized rate structure will be announced, when available.