The South County Family YMCA have decided not to respond to a Request for Proposal from the city of Imperial Beach to manage the Sports Park complex, the nonprofit said in a statement Friday afternoon.
The city extended the offer to manage the teen center, gym, skate park and baseball and softball fields exclusively to the Boys & Girls Club of South County and South County Family YMCA.
"Under the leadership and guidance from our Board of Management and staff team, we will not be submitting a proposal to the City of Imperial Beach at this time," the YMCA said in a statement.
Instead the group will focus on new ventures in National City and Chula Vista. In National City the YMCA will assume full operations of Las Palmas facilities and Camacho Gym as of Nov. 1 and open a new 36,000-square-feet facility in Eastlake Nov. 2.
"Our resources (both capital and human) are at maximum capacity. Because we pride ourselves on providing the highest quality programs and services to the communities we serve, we are not able to sincerely and effectively respond to the City of Imperial Beach’s RFP at this time," the YMCA said.
As a cost saving measure, city staff began to search for an outside entity to manage the Sports Park complex in spring 2012. Without a formal bidding process or city council directive, city staff chose the YMCA. Staff estimated that private management could save the city roughly $100,000 annually.
News of attempts to broker a deal with the YMCA became public last fall. Sports Park staff and teen who frequent the Sports Park urged the city to form an advisory group to help the city decide the future of the Sports Park.
City staff and baseball and softball league officials began negotiations last December. Despite a promise in writing from Mayor Jim Janney to hold a public forum before a vote was taken, the Imperial Beach City Council attempted to enter formal negotiations with the YMCA in March.
At one of the most attended city council meetings of 2013, the attempt was opposed by dozens of local residents primarily from the Imperial Beach Little League and Imperial Beach Girls Softball who feared the impact the YMCA may have on fees for the league and players.
No members of the public expressed a strong favor of the YMCA in public comment and worksheets submitted at a community meeting to discuss the future of the Sports Park held in April.
In March the city cut the Sports Park entirely from its preliminary budget before a vote was taken to enter into negotiations. Money was later added back to the budget to keep the Sports Park open and under city management through the end of 2013.
Despite an insistence that the city was working closely with baseball and softball leagues, promise of scholarships for students who could not afford membership fees and insistence that the city would retain ownership, words and phrases like "outsource" and "backroom deal" began to emerge when the Sports Park was discussed by people who opposed the idea.
"I think that we just cannot keep this wound open. It's become a wound for all of us," Councilman Lorie Bragg said during a meeting in June where a vote to enter negotiations with the YMCA was again delayed.
At the end of June a new process that included a collective of organizations who utilize the facilities and a city council subcommittee began to meet this spring to compile a formal Request for Proposals (RFP) of the Sports Park in the future.