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YMCA could expand operations in Oakwood
Plan includes walking trails, playgrounds and sport fields
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Oakwood and the Georgia Mountains YMCA are working on a plan to offer expanded services in the South Hall city.

The YMCA already operates the swimming pool in the Oakwood City Park off Railroad Street, between Main and Allen streets, during the summer.

City Council has given its blessing for city officials to work with the YMCA to further develop what is being called the "Oakwood Parks Family YMCA."

"We met with them about a parks and recreation program," said Assistant City Manager Patti Doss-Luna. "We did a site visit of some of the buildings that we have ... (in looking at) doing some programming."

The city and the YMCA have developed a preliminary plan, which is dated May 27.

"It doesn't get into numbers or any of that type of thing," Doss-Luna said.

Mayor Lamar Scroggs said such an agreement would "shift the costs for the park, pool and that sort of thing from city government over to the YMCA. It (would be) their responsibility."

Mike Brown, president and CEO for the Georgia Mountains YMCA, couldn't be reached for comment Sunday.

In the past year, the YMCA has worked out similar parks and recreation agreements with Lumpkin and White counties, which are part of the Georgia Mountains YMCA's eight-county region that also includes Hall.

"We have no capital debt in any of those counties and we can truly run programs," Brown said in a November interview. "It's really a great model. Taxpayers are paying less and the YMCA is coming in and generating substantially greater numbers."

"The development of a full-facility family YMCA in the city of Oakwood is critical for us to expand the number of children, youth families and seniors we are entrusted to serve," according to the 15-page preliminary plan.

The plan foresees the YMCA setting up operations in a building off Main Street and McClure Drive and opening a senior and teen center in a second building at the same location.

It also could involve using the two community buildings in City Park, Doss-Luna said.

"In addition, the YMCA will work with ... Oakwood to develop sport fields, walking trails, playgrounds, lighting on some fields and continued work on current field spaces," the plan states.

Funding could come from several sources, including fundraising, grants and donated labor.

Also, a 12-member board of advisers for Oakwood would work with the Georgia Mountains YMCA's board of directors, according to the plan.


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