Why is a YMCA NOT coming to Watauga County?

Posted on Jun 14, 2014 | 0 comments

Background:  In 2012, High Country Recreation reached out to the Catawba Valley YMCA to explore the possibility of a YMCA in Watauga County.  After several community meetings, including with the county Board of Commissioners,  the Board of the Catawba Valley YMCA  paid to have an formal economic study for Watauga County to move forward with a YMCA, but our county did not pass this test. The YMCA requires a certain number of possible memberships to move forward and Watauga County did not have enough.  This took into account the population but also other factors including income.

A few things High Country Recreation learned in the process:

A YMCA would need to be funded completely by donations raised locally.

The national and regional YMCA networks do not fund local branches.  Instead, a local YMCA would need to locally fundraise almost all of the money before any facility can be built.

There are no more independent YMCAs – each local YMCA much be part of a regional network set out by the national YMCA office.

Watauga County would have been part of the Catawba Valley YMCA and not its own, independent branch.

A Watauga YMCA (including the facility) would have been controlled by the Catawba Valley YMCA Board of Directors.

There were legitimate community concerns about raising millions of dollars to build a YMCA facility that would be owned and controlled by a Board of Directors not controlled by local citizens.

There is a NEED for a recreation center even though the YMCA funding model would not work.

This has been identified as a need for decades in our community, and the process of talking with the YMCA confirmed this. 

Leave a Reply