Update: Crozet Gazette has a story.
Update 2: Good conversation, lots of questions, and some answers, at Nextdoor. This is a great example of how detrimental these platforms are that are locked behind walled gardens that require membership/login. These discussions should be freely available.
As of 1 March, 2020 things change at Crozet Park.
Read the letter from Crozet Park.
Crozet Park Aquatic & Fitness Center
The Claudius Crozet Park Board of Directors is pleased to announce their partership with the Atlantic Coast Athletic Club (ACAC) to begin operating the Park’s aquatic and fitness center starting April 1, 2020. Although we are stlll working out many of the details preparing for this transition, we are providing this Q&A to help answer many of your questions. More information can also be found by reading the latest article in the Crozet Gazette. Until March 1, 2020 members should continue to use the Crozet YMCA website to find out about current programs and schedules.
Q: What will happen to my current Crozet YMCA membership?
A: Your current YMCA membership will not change between now and March 1, 2020. Following March 1, 2020, members will be offered the opportunity to retain their Crozet facility membership by joining the Crozet Park Aquatic & Fitness Center operated by ACAC. ACAC will offer membership at the same Crozet YMCA membership rates.
Q: Can I still use the Crozet Park facility during the month of March?
A: Our understanding is that the YMCA will begin reducing services as early as March 1st. The Park Board and ACAC are preparing to step in and cover any degradation in services caused by the YMCA’s departure in March. This will likely include group exercise classes in the Community Building (aka radio building) on the northwest side of the Park and use of ACAC’s facility in Old Trail.
Q: What will happen to current fitness programs and staff?
A: Popular programs will continue, e.g., aquatic aerobics, and ACAC will attempt to maintain key instructors and personnel.
Q: Will my child have after-school care through June and options for summer camp?
A: Yes. The Crozet Park Aquatic & Fitness Center operated by ACAC intends to offer after-school care and summer camps under the ACAC brand and we are really looking forward to seeing how creative they can get to maximize the use and benefit of our 22 beautiful acres. The Park Board will work to ensure that there is no interruption in after school care for those families currently enrolled in the YMCA afterschool care program at the Park.
Q: What will happen to swim programs including year-round competitive swimming?
A: The Crozet Gators Swim Team and the Western Albemarle High School Swim Team will not be affected by this change in operator. And, it is our intent that year-round swimming will be offered without interruption. Whether that is an expansion of the ACAC program, a continuation of the CYAC program, or an entirely new Crozet based year-round team, or some combination of the three, is yet to be determined.
Q: Should we build a competitive swim program based in Crozet?
A: Crozet based CYAC swimmers eventually age out of the Crozet program and must swim in downtown Charlottesville if they wish to continue to compete in high school. This can put a lot of strain on kids and families trying to balance school and family time with competitive swimming and several hours a week of driving into Charlottesville. A Crozet-based program that allows our local teens to continue to swim year-round in Crozet would be an added benefit the community.
Q: Will the Crozet Park Aquatic & Fitness Center operated by ACAC offer needs-based scholarships?
A: Yes. We are currently working on details to offer the same or more scholarships to those who qualify.
Q: Will the Crozet Park Board continue to pursue a facility expansion?
A: Yes. The Park Board will continue planning this facility over the next 12 -18 months. Because we are requesting County funding to build this facility, the Park Board is committed to a competitive bid process to choose an operator for this facility. When the time is right, the Park Board will issue a Request for Proposal (RFP) and welcomes all organizations to bid including, the Piedmont Family YMCA and ACAC.
Q: Why did the YMCA elect not to renew their lease to operate the current facility?
A: The YMCA was unwilling to operate the current facility without a long-term commitment from the Park to operate a new facility when built. That long-term commitment entailed a multi-decade ground lease similar to what the YMCA has with the City and County for their Brooks facility at McIntire Park. From the Park’s perspective, this was an unreasonable demand. The YMCA wanted the Park to take on all the debt and fundraising for a new facility and then lease it to the YMCA for decades for a nominal amount like their Brooks facility at about $1 a year, without any competing bids from other operators. From a financial perspective, that is just not feasible for the Park and from the perspective of our Charter, it would not be the right thing for the community. The Park Board was willing to entertain other arrangements, but the YMCA refused to negotiate further.
Q: Why can’t the Park Board offer a ground lease similar to McIntire Park to build Brooks?
A: McIntire Park is a public park funded entirely with taxpayer dollars. The YMCA built the Brooks Family facility and is now servicing the debt on that construction through revenue from membership and other programs. Claudius Crozet Park is not a publicly owned park. It is a non-profit organization with a charter to provide low cost recreational amenities to the community. If the Park builds a new facility, it too will need to service debt through revenue earned in the facility. To give all of that revenue to the YMCA and receive only nominal rent for an extended ground lease would make servicing the construction debt impossible. What the construction will cost, how it will be structured and what the income stream requirements will be to maintain this new facility are not yet known. The YMCA’s requirement that the Park commit to a long-term structured ground lease before the effects of that structure can even be assessed would pose an unreasonable risk to the financial solvency of the Park and therefore would violate the fiduciary responsibilities of the Park Board.