Reflecting on progress of YMCA Project
The Eastern Audrain Library/YMCA project would like to provide information on how they got to where they are today and where they are going. This will be a weekly update, so keep an eye out for it.
Mayor Barnes formed a committee to do initial exploration on the possibility of a new or remodeled library in conjunction with a satellite YMCA facility.
The purpose of the committee was to do the initial exploration of what might be needed and what might be possible. The library has significant issues and we have no YMCA facility here in town.
The Rual Morris Charitable Foundation expressed interest in exploring these needs. The members of the Mayoral committee were Mayor Ramon Barnes, Alan Winders, Roger Young, Paul Seigfreid, Paul Ray, Ray Hall, Kay Roberts, Crystal McCurdy, Jack Creason, Sherry Medley, LE Kohl, Chris Felmlee, and Debbie Hopke.
A list of needs, wants, and shared spaces was informally put together by members of the committee, based on input of the library personnel and Mexico YMCA personnel. Initial project costs of the Library/Y facility were $1.5 million dollars based on a 15,000 square foot facility at $100 per square foot.
The mayoral committee visited area library/Y (recreational) facilities to gain insight on what other facilities offered. An engineer provided a report of structural observation on the library and recommended demolition of the current library and building a new facility or relocation.
Members of the board of the Vandalia Recreation Corporation met with Alan Winders and Debbie Hopke for an update on the progress of the Library/YMCA project and the role of the Vandalia Recreation Corporation (VRC) – owner of the building, loan applicant, grant applicant, etc. All board members present were in favor of the VRC involvement with the project. The VRC will be kept informed as the project progresses.
History of the
The Vandalia Recreation Corporation was originally established as the Vandalia Memorial Hospital Association in 1952 for the purpose of establishing and maintaining a hospital in Vandalia. In that same year, the basic structure of the corporation was amended for the purpose of constructing, operating, and maintaining public recreation facilities for Vandalia and the surrounding community.
The Vandalia Recreation Corporation purchased land south of Vandalia for the creation of the Vandalia Lake as well as a recreation area. A community building was completed in 1957 for $50,000, which currently houses the Vandalia Library.
In June 1958, The Vandalia Fair Association announced suspension of the Vandalia Fair after 17 years and went on record in favor of offering the fair group’s land to the Vandalia Recreation Corporation for construction of a swimming pool. Just two years later, the tri-county pool opened at a cost of $48,000, all received through business and personal donations.
Since 1960 a baseball diamond, a picnic shelter, a paved parking lot and considerable amount of playground equipment have been added to the area. The pool remained fully operational until 2006.
In 2004 Vandalia Recreation Corporation paid for renovations to the library which included expansion to 4,000 square feet, handicap accessibility, carpeting, painting and repair. Upon completion of the renovations, Vandalia Recreation Corporation donated the building to the city of Vandalia. The library received a long-term lease from Vandalia for use of the building.
What is Vandalia Recreation Corporation’s (VRC) role in the Eastern Library/YMCA project? The VRC is a non-profit organization with a 501c3 tax exempt status. The 501c3 tax exempt status is very important when raising money for a non-profit project. The money given to the VRC is a tax incentive to the givers. The VRC will be the owners of the building while leasing the space to the Library and YMCA with a long-term lease agreement.
Officers of the
James M. Elzea, Vandalia Recreation Corporation, president, is a local business owner. A long-time member of the corporation, Jim feels a YMCA would be good for both young and old and would be a great asset to the community.
Jean Trower is treasurer for the VRC. Jean is always willing to improve the Vandalia community. She served on the Vandalia Industrial Authority which was instrumental in bringing the Women’s Eastern Reception Diagnostic Correctional Center to Vandalia with a current employment in excess of 490 people. As branch manager of the United Credit Union and Vandalia Recreation Corporation treasurer, her financial expertise will be valuable to the YMCA.
Ann Kohl, serving as sectary for the Vandalia Recreation Corporation, has been very active in community volunteer activities for the last 55 years. A lifelong resident of Vandalia, she continues to work toward improving our community with great hope and enthusiasm. As a farmer and member of many organizations, Ann’s networking capabilities will be a valuable asset as we build the new YMCA.
Jerry Zimmer’s financial background as a retired bank vice president will be a valuable asset to the formation of the YMCA. Holding various offices in lots of Vandalia’s organizations, Jerry has an inside tract to the community’s desires. He thinks a YMCA would be a great facility for people to stay fit by the use of exercise equipment and the walking track.
His constituents feel the indoor basketball court would benefit the young people to play sports year round, and this is much needed to serve the people of Vandalia and the surrounding area.
Mary Steiner, a life-long resident of Vandalia, utilized her University of Missouri journalism degree as she co-edited the weekly Vandalia Leader newspaper for 25 years. She is a member of the Vandalia Fire Department, the Vandalia Industrial Development Authority, and she is a member of the board of directors of the Rual Morris Foundation. Mary believes a Vandalia YMCA facility will be a focal point for community activities, bringing people together in common efforts to provide programs and services for community members of all ages.
The Vandalia Recreation Corporation (VRC) has a total of 26 members from the community.
Please check out next week’s paper for continue updates and information.