Maplewood moving to give control of city community center to YMCA

Maplewood staff and staff with the YMCA of the Greater Twin Cities are considering transferring control of the Maplewood Community Center operations from the city of Maplewood to the YMCA as an expansion of a partnership that began last year. 

Last year’s partnership allowed the YMCA to manage the Maplewood Community Center’s aquatics programs. The YMCA also agreed to a fee and revenue sharing plan that allowed the city to break even on the partnership.

A Maplewood release states the improvements the community center has provided to the city have come at a great financial cost.

“Currently, the Maplewood Community Center needs significant maintenance work and improvements, in addition to the facility’s yearly deficit of about $450,000,” the release states. It also adds that instead of continuing to fund this deficit, the city will be able to fund park improvements.

The release reassures residents that they will be able to retain their access to special pricing at the community center and will also be able to upgrade their memberships to access YMCAs throughout the Twin Cities. It also tells seniors that if they qualify for health insurance-funded memberships at the community center, they will automatically gain access to YMCAs across the Twin Cities.

The Community Center’s theater will continue to be managed by Maplewood, according to DuWayne Konewko, Maplewood’s Parks and Recreation director.

“That will continue to be there and thrive,” he said, though he added that many of the details will be revealed at community meetings. The first meeting was held Sept. 13, after the deadline for this edition of the Review, but another community meeting will be held Sept. 20 at the Maplewood Fire Station 1, located at 600 McKnight Road N.

The topic will then be discussed at a Maplewood City Council workshop planned for Sept. 26, and it will be an action item at the Oct. 17 special city council meeting. If the city council votes to pass this change, it would be effective Nov. 1.

“That’s a pretty aggressive time frame,” Konewko noted, adding “There’s some cushions built in there.”

“Our goal throughout this process has been to build a stronger future for a valuable community asset,” said Mayor Nora Slawik in a statement. “Our partnership with the YMCA means the Maplewood Community Center will offer more classes and opportunities for our residents.”

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