2010-07-09 / Top Stories

Sanders Allocates Additional $1.87M For YMCA

By Nicholas Briano

The original plans for the Rockaway YMCA included an outdoor gymnasium, but new funding announced this week may enable the YMCA to be constructed with an indoor gymnasium. The original plans for the Rockaway YMCA included an outdoor gymnasium, but new funding announced this week may enable the YMCA to be constructed with an indoor gymnasium. Councilmember James Sanders Jr. announced this week that he has secured $1.87 million for further construction on the Arverne By The Sea YMCA, giving hope to the Rockaway community that the facility may finally include an indoor gymnasium.

Officials from Arverne By The Sea and the YMCA, however, are still sorting through the details and confirming the availability of the funds.

It was announced earlier in the year that $3 million dollars was required to enclose the basketball courts, which would make it an indoor gymnasium, capable of hosting many more activities year-round opposed to the limited concept of having outdoor basketball courts.

The new Rockaway YMCA, planned for the corner of Beach 73 Street and Rockaway Beach Boulevard, started construction last fall when the foundation piles were driven, with plans of continuing work in the spring.

But with new sources of funding, such as potential money from the state and the recently allocated money by Sanders, comes rising costs that push the project to more than $12 million. That price tag automatically triggers Local Law 86, which was passed by the city council in 2005 and took effect in 2007.

Local Law 86, as originally reported by The Wave last month, was not included in the original plans for the facility. The law states that capital projects involving city funding with an estimated construction cost of more than $12 million and less than $30 million must be designed and constructed to reduce energy costs by a minimum of 20 percent as prescribed by a very strict set of national standards.

Gerard Romski, the project manager for Arverne By The Sea, told The Wave this week that he and the YMCA officials are ironing out the specifics to the deal and are in the process of confirming all the additional funding, which may include a waiver from the mayor’s office to allow construction to continue under the original plans. That waiver could prevent more than a year worth of delays to the project. Without it, however, new plans must be submitted and approved and the process has to begin all over again.

YMCA spokesperson Kevin Shermach, like Romski, says they’re currently in the process of confirming the city council funding and will move forward from there.

“Once the numbers are confirmed, we will look to Benjamin-Beechwood [Arverne by The Sea developers] to provide an update on how they intend to put the additional funding to use in order to provide the YMCA with the first-class facility the Rockaways community deserves,” he said this week.

Shermach added that the YMCA is grateful for the support in making the needs of Rockaway a priority.

“We are, as ever, anxiously awaiting the day that we can stand with our neighbors and friends and cut the ribbon on the new center,” he said.

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