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YMCA May Take Over Sports Park and Recreation Center

Sports Park employees will be laid off as a result, the city employees' union president said.

The city of Imperial Beach is currently in negotiations for the YMCA of San Diego County to take over operations at the Imperial Beach Sports Park and Recreation Center, route: {:controller=>"listings", :action=>"show", :id=>"imperial-beach-sports-parkrecreation-center"} -->, City Manager Gary Brown said Monday.

Brown declined to comment on the fate of current Sports Park staff but employee's union president Mike Murphy said they will be laid off—eliminating the city's smallest department.

"It's just a sad, eerie day that the city has gone away from kids again," an anonymous sports park employee said, noting that children may be asked to pay fees for some services that are now free at the Sports Park.

Employee negotiations are ongoing.

No formal deal has been signed with the city, said South Bay Family YMCA Executive Manager Lisa Johnson.

What happens to current staff is up to the city, Johnson said.

"It's too early in the process to say, but that's really up to the city," she said. "That's really their thing until they select a provider."

Handing the Sports Park to the YMCA will allow for partnerships between South Bay YMCA branches and YMCA Camp Surf in Imperial Beach, Johnson said.

Brown will meet with SEIU Local 221 President Murphy in closed session Wednesday ahead of a 6 p.m. City Council meeting.

City Attorney Jennifer Lyon and Brown will also meet in closed session with a YMCA representative Wednesday to discuss "price and terms of payment," the meeting agenda stated.

The YMCA may take over by the end of the year or early 2013, Brown said.

"The Y said they would basically not charge the city to operate it," Brown said. "We think the Y could provide a lot more upgrades in service to the public than we can with our staff."

The decision to turn over management of the property is not based on the performance of Sports Park employees, Brown said.

"This is not a performance issue at all," he said. "It's how can we best, in this case, how can we get more services to people at a facility that we have."

The union tells a different story.

Murphy said the city did little to support the center and keep it in city hands. Ways to generate revenue were not implemented, and the city has not done enough to promote activities.

"It's been ongoing for a lot longer than going back to the spring," he said. "It's been losing money for years."

As the city tried to balance its budget this spring, Sports Park staff were asked to make cuts and increase fees. Some higher fees were instated, hours were cut and staff was reduced from 12 employees to 5.

Imperial Beach Sports Park and Recreation Director Jim Coates that cost saving measures and ways to generate income

Libi Uremovic September 20, 2012 at 03:16 PM
"...the city's smallest department...." actually the city's smallest department is senior services that has a budget of $27,988 - and $8,500 of that is in 'abc accounts' , so the senior center never sees that money... i haven't audited the senior center yet and after what i've found at the sport park i'm afraid to look...
Bob O'Neal October 31, 2012 at 08:55 PM
The land that the park is on was donated to the city for a youth park and must me used in that way. Also part of the arrangement was that Imperial Beach Little League was to have it available to them at no charge for it's use as long as they wanted. The city needs to make sure that that is a rider in any negotiations with YMCA
Shorebird October 31, 2012 at 09:04 PM
So who on the city council or City staff will profit from the Y running the park? No doubt there will be some kind of "side agreement" for someone in one of these two groups to profit. Why else would they want to turn it over?
Mitchell D. McKay December 14, 2012 at 12:48 AM
The property on which the Imperial Beach Recreation Center currently sits on was originally donated to Imperial Beach Little League by members of the local Lions Club. I researched this topic in 2000-2001 for the IBLL as a board member. In the 1970s, the City "arranged" for a transfer of properties and they made the current site of the IBLL fields available in exchange for the property closer to Imperial Beach Blvd and then built the gymnasium. It is unconscienable that the City would be (once again) asking for fees from those two organizations which provide recreation services specifically to the children (residents) of Imperial Beach. There is also a small piece of property (current T-ball fields) that is covered by a Congressional "Conditional Conveyance" (thank you Mr. Brian Bilbray, Sr.) who's use is contingent on it being used to "provide recreational services" to the residents of Imperial Beach. Search Google for H.R. Bill 4647
Shorebird December 14, 2012 at 01:01 AM
Avarice, greed and nefarious undertakings by IB CC abound

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