The new YMCA site on Colby is shown here Thursday. (Sue Misao / The Herald)

The new YMCA site on Colby is shown here Thursday. (Sue Misao / The Herald)

City of Everett, YMCA might partner on pool at the new Y

Under the proposal, the Y would give up about 1.2 acres at the Colby Avenue property for a new park.

EVERETT — The new YMCA at 4730 Colby Ave. is supposed to have an aquatic center, and the city wants its residents to have access — regardless of whether they are members.

Everett might be willing to pay $2.5 million for that access, according to a proposal that went before the City Council on Wednesday night.

City staff and the Y were seeking council feedback on the terms of a tentative agreement.

Under the proposal, the Y would give up about 1.2 acres at the Colby property for a new city park.

The $2.5 million likely would be used toward construction of the new club, said Ted Wenta, a senior vice president with the YMCA of Snohomish County. The project has an estimated cost of $27 million. Fundraising continues, with a grand opening set for September 2019.

The club is meant to replace the century-old Y at 2720 Rockefeller Ave. The downtown location serves as many as 10,000 members. The Colby club could accommodate three times that, Wenta said.

The idea is that people with homes in city limits still would pay a fee to use the pool. However, the rate would be cheaper than a Y membership, or the day passes available to the general public. The Y also would set aside a certain amount of time for open swim, in the ballpark of 75 hours per week.

The proposed contract would last 25 years. It would have to be approved by the City Council and the YMCA board of directors.

Everett would decide the resident-use fee and collect the proceeds, said Paul Kaftanski, who oversees city parks, planning and transit.

“We believe it’s a good deal for the community,” he said.

The idea of a partnership at the Colby Y has been discussed for years, including briefings at several council meetings since April.

Several council members Wednesday asked Kaftanski to gather more details about what happens when the pool is at capacity. They aren’t sold on the notion that Y members would take priority for swim time. There also was discussion about a need to make sure income isn’t a barrier for kids to learn to swim in Everett.

Kaftanski says much of the city’s contribution could come from existing funds. He cited the $2.4 million that Everett is collecting in connection with a development agreement for a former quarry near Sievers-Duecy Road. That money was slotted for the design of new park features near the Phil Johnson Ballfields. The city can fund that project at a later date, possibly with the pool fees, Kaftanski said.

There are no plans to close the Forest Park Swim Center, which has a waiting list for swim lessons, he said. Research indicates that many families from Everett visit the aquatic centers in Snohomish and Lynnwood. The Y could recapture some of that market, he said. Projections also show Everett’s population growing rapidly in the decades ahead.

The Colby property is the former headquarters of the Everett School District. In addition to cardio and weight-training space, the Y plans a lap pool and a family pool with a lazy river and therapy opportunities. A second phase of construction is expected to bring additional amenities, such as racquetball, expanded child care and a youth basketball court. Parking also will be more plentiful than downtown.

Ground-breaking could happen in June. The city park on the site likely would open in 2020 with a gazebo, play equipment and open space, Kaftanski said.

Rikki King: 425-339-3449; Twitter: @rikkiking.

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