Leadership of the Marco Island Y has made it clear to city officials that the Y believes a referendum is essential to the process of creating a new community center at Mackle Park.

That view was delivered to City Hall last week by Y officials in separate meetings with City Manager Jim Riviere and City Parks and Recreation Director Bryan Milk. “We talked about it, but we didn’t press it,” says Y Board Member Dick Shanahan.

“The Y board has not taken a vote on this, so it’s not official, but the executive committee and others feel this way.

“The Y’s position is one of supporting the clamor for a referendum, feeling that there is much controversy there relative to the size of the facility and expenditure involved, particularly at this time.

“That’s the most prudent way, if you will, to let the people make the decision. If they make a favorable decision to build the building, obviously we would support that feeling and work in collaboration with the city to provide the best services for the entire community.”

Asked about resistance to a referendum, perhaps including some members of the city council, Shanahan responded:

“I think it’s a dangerous precedent for them to take when it looks like the majority of people are clamoring for a referendum. It would be wise for these men to consider it. However I don’t think we need to go to a referendum on everything we do. That would be foolhardy.”

After his meetings at City Hall, Shanahan said he thinks that even before a referendum, there would be important changes to the design of any new community center from the one shown in the media.

The leadership of the Y also wants to make sure that activities and services that might be provided at the community center would not conflict with what the Y perceives as its purview.

“We specialize in fitness and in health care and aerobics and those are things that they have told us that they do not plan in including in the building. We take them at their word they would not compete on those core programs.

“Based on that scenario, that’s exactly how we feel. If they get a yea from the community, wonderful, and we’ll support that, providing they live up to their commitment to stay out of the businesses that are most important to us.

“Both Bryan Milk and Jim Riviere told us they certainly have no intention of getting into the fitness business or the child care business.”

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freedomofspeech1 writes:

Same old responses from the Y...they are essentially afraid of competition. They have always fought the city parks and it programs because the city has offered superior services to that of the Y. Instead of opposing this the Y should try and improve their own services. The Y is a "private" entity that the city has no obligation to "protect" or give any assurances as to the programming. This is America...competition drives the capitalistic society. The Y needs to stop whinning and finally put their money where there mouth is and build first rate facilities and offer first rate programs. As of now they off neither...their building is a disgrace and their programs are a joke! Stop fighting progress if you dont want to be a part of it!

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