Friday, June 17, 2016
Eric Bernsee, Editor
As the goal of establishing a YMCA community center in Greencastle continues to move forward, one of the key components emerging is a developing partnership with Putnam County Hospital.
While no location has been selected for such a facility and a full go-ahead on the project has yet to be given, positive signs persist, especially judging by the interest and support of the group of people who filled Greencastle’s City Hall for a meeting last month.
Those in attendance not only heard Wabash Valley YMCA official Deb Ringo explain her organization’s involvement and Mayor Bill Dory address local support for the long-awaited project, but also were introduced to the participation of Putnam County Hospital by its Chief Executive Officer Dennis Weatherford.
Putnam County Hospital’s desire to be a key partner with the development of the YMCA is driven by many factors, Weatherford explained for the Banner Graphic.
“Our goal, along with the City of Greencastle and the Wabash Valley YMCA, is to provide high-quality, affordable services to the community to promote a healthier Putnam County,” he said.
Weatherford pointed out that as the hospital “adapts to value-based payments and delivery models,” PCH officials understand that offering services and personalized care outside the four walls of the hospital will help provide better care for the community.
“Doing this will fulfill the hospital’s strategic goal of managing population health in Putnam County,” the PCH administrator said, citing urgent care and occupational health as examples of service lines that would benefit the community in a space such as the YMCA.
“With these, and possible other areas that could be provided in such a location, the hospital services and involvement would not only offer invaluable healthcare to the community, but it would also add to the sustainability of the membership to the facility thanks to industry partnerships and foot traffic,” Weatherford added.
Providing services throughout the community — including inside the proposed YMCA — would also work cohesively with the efforts of Putnam County becoming an Indiana Healthy Community (IHC) through the Indiana Chamber, he said.
The requirements of becoming an IHC involve meeting or exceeding several strategic initiatives that require the community and industries to work together to make Putnam County a healthier place to work and live.
“Obtaining an Indiana Healthy Community status will be a key tool in economic development as we continue to attract new business and industry to the area,” Weatherford said. “Putnam County Hospital is spearheading the efforts of the application process and is currently working with a steering committee composed of key community and industry leaders to learn about and implement the strategic initiatives.
“Putnam County Hospital is excited for the long-awaited addition to the community,” he added. “Dependent on the chosen location and design of the facility, the hospital is hopeful that the upcoming addition will prove to be beneficial to the community’s wellness goals as well as the alignment of Putnam County Hospital’s strategic plan initiatives.”
Although no official action has been taken by the City of Greencastle or the Wabash Valley YMCA Board of Directors — other than a memorandum of understanding — the proposal continues to be for the facility to be built by the city and staffed and operated by the YMCA.
YMCA officials have said individual memberships could cost as little as $30-35 a month with family memberships as low as $60 a month. Approximately 1,000 memberships will be needed to make the project successful.
Size of the facility has been pegged at 30,000 to 35,000 square feet with room on the lot for future growth and adequate parking.
Cost figures on such a facility have been estimated at $8-$10 million.
Three sites reportedly have been explored by the YMCA board — Big Walnut Sport Park, the old Jones School property on the west side of Greencastle and a location “generally on the East Side,” the mayor said.
Requests for qualifications (RFQ) were expected to go out this week, Dory told the City Council Tuesday night, indicating some firms that have done work on YMCA projects around the state will be contacted.
One of the next steps in the project will likely be the naming of a community center steering committee.
Mayor Dory said he has been gathering names for the panel, which he said, will serve as “sounding board for the community.”
While the size of the steering committee is “being debated,” the initial group will not be charged with the task of fundraising. That would likely fall to another committee.
Additional update meetings on the proposed YMCA project are expected to be called as needed.