Battle Ground YMCA progress: $2,000 donation goes toward market study

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The dream of a Battle Ground YMCA recently got a nudge forward. 

The Southwest Washington Contractors Association donated $2,000 to the project in July, which will go toward a market study. 

The YMCA Task Force — made up of around 18 members including local residents and the Columbia-Willamette YMCA CEO and director of the Clark County Family YMCA — has also narrowed down its options for a potential location to three, according to its website. One is the Lewisville campus and the two others are development areas near the BG Cinema. 

The task force estimates that the facility will cost between $20 million and $30 million, but it has not yet revealed an exact plan to fund it. 

“The YMCA Task Force is exploring every option for funding including private donations, a county bond, and other options,” a statement on their website reads. “As the citizens rally together to build the facility, the YMCA of the Columbia Willamette will collaborate to fully manage and maintain the property.”  

But a petition supporters can sign is titled “Help Us Build the Battle Ground YMCA!” and reads “Yes, I want a YMCA in Battle Ground! I am a registered voter in the Battle Ground School District and support a bond to build the YMCA.” 

The task force estimates that for a homeowner with a house valued at $250,000, it would cost an estimated $10 per month over a 15-year period.

The first official campaign for the YMCA was launched in mid-June, although work began forming over four years ago.

Joy Russell, the chairwoman of the task force at the time, told The Reflector in June that the market study will focus on listening to the community and identifying specific needs. Its overall goal is to determine if Battle Ground is a marketable area for a YMCA.

Russell was moved to take action in the fall of 2012 after several youth suicides. After learning about the many benefits of youth sports and seeing there are few options available in Battle Ground — no major recreation facilities or middle school sports — Russell began looking into a YMCA. 

Community feedback has mostly been positive. The project’s petition had 785 signatures at The Reflector’s print deadline.  

“I love the YMCA but don't go because of the distance and location,” one petition signer wrote. “I would definitely join and use the facilities if there was one in Battle Ground.” 

But others see it as potentially being just another tax. 

“I'm not ready to pay over $120 per year for a facility I will never use,” one Reflector reader wrote. “Go with private funding and donations and you have my blessing, but don't ask me to pay for your recreation.” 

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