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Building transition – YMCA likely to take over Community Center lease

By James Day

The lease on the Silverton Community Center likely will transfer to the Silver Falls YMCA when the Silverton City Council moves its meetings to the new Civic Center building next spring.

The Oregon Military Department owns the Community Center building on South Water Street, with the city’s lease set to expire March 31, 2024.

The council discussed the future of the building at its Dec. 18, work session and although no votes were taken, a general consensus emerged:

• The YMCA likely will take over the lease and be responsible for the building and for possibly leasing space to other tenants through Feb. 1, 2027. The Marion County Women, Infants and Children (WIC) program, Jazzercise and the Elizabeth Hoke Memorial Trust all will remain in the Community Center.

• The City Council will move its council sessions to the new building while also chipping in about $30,000 to help the Y handle maintenance issues with the aging building.

• Silverton Area Community Aid will move to new quarters in the former Ratchet Brewery spot at the north end of town, but that piece will not be finalized until perhaps the summer of 2024. 

• Sheltering Silverton, which used to have a presence in the community center, has moved to new quarters at the city’s Public Works compound and no longer is part of the space equation.

City Manager Cory Misley plans to work with the YMCA on an agreement and the required documents and the council could resolve the matter as early as its Jan. 8 meeting. 

Mayor Jason Freilinger urged quick action.

“There are a bunch of nonprofits which are important to the community who are waiting for us to make up our minds,” he said. 

“Having the building under our purview after the Civic Center opens doesn’t make a whole lot of sense,” added Councilor Matt Gaitan.

There was strong support elsewhere on the council for the YMCA taking over the lease, as well as helping out the Y financially as much as practical. The city could award $30,000 from its reserves or contingency funds to the YMCA, or it might use part or all of a $45,000 Marion County community prosperity initiative grant to assist the Y.

The evening opened with a meeting of the city Budget Committee, which consists of Mayor Freilinger and the six councilors as well as seven citizen members. Chaired by former Mayor Kyle Palmer, the committee heard a mid-budget-year update from city Finance Director Kathleen Zaragoza. 

No major issues were uncovered or discussed, but committee members and new city manager Misley said that such an annual check-in was valuable, particularly since the annual budget process is usually limited to a two-month period between April and June.

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