Stanwood, YMCA may swap permit costs for services

STANWOOD — With the YMCA preparing to build a new center here, city officials are working on an agreement that waives permitting costs for the project in return for some free public services at the building.

The City Council unanimously approved a resolution Thursday to waive up to $50,000 in permit fees for the Stanwood-Camano YMCA. An agreement outlining what services the city will receive is likely to come back for a vote in late May or early June, City Administrator Deborah Knight said.

“If we’re waiving any permits there has to be something in return, some kind of public benefit,” she said.

YMCA staff offered free swim Saturdays and coordinating league sports at Heritage Park, according to a city staff report. The council wants more options that are based at the center, such as the free swims, so people can enjoy the building the city is contributing to, Knight said.

The $50,000 permit waiver breaks down into $10,000 a year for YMCA services over the first five years the facility is open, which could happen by the end of next year.

The YMCA of Snohomish County purchased the old Resilience Fitness building at 7213 267th St. in December and aims to break ground on its new building there in August, said Scott Washburn, president of the YMCA of Snohomish County.

“We are in the final design phase,” he said. “It’ll be a really nice, full-service YMCA to serve the needs of that community.”

The design is influenced by surveys of people who live in the area, and the biggest request was a large aquatic center. That’s part of the plan, Washburn said, as are a gymnasium, exercise classrooms and teen center. Sketches include elevators and family changing rooms for senior citizens, families with young children or people with disabilities.

“The City of Stanwood believes the services provided by the YMCA in the Stanwood community benefits all residents young and old,” according to the council’s resolution.

The building permit for the YMCA was estimated to cost up to $80,000. Waiving $50,000 of that has a minimal impact on the city’s budget, according to the staff report. Because of unexpected construction on new homes, the city is pulling in more permitting fees than originally budgeted, even with the YMCA waiver.

The council’s decision to contribute is important, as are individual donations and volunteer hours, Washburn said.

“We need the full support of the community to make this happen,” he said.

The state Senate also has recommended $1.2 million for the new building in its proposed budget. That money is not guaranteed.

The YMCA set a goal to raise at least $9.6 million of the $18 million project cost before breaking ground, Washburn said.

They’re on track to have that money by the end of the summer.

Kari Bray: 425-339-3439, kbray@heraldnet.com

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