Save McIntire? YMCA suit dismissed, but fight continues

As the song goes, it's fun to stay at the Y-M-C-A. But apparently it's no picnic building one.

After six years of planning, the Piedmont Family YMCA's plan for a new $15 million, 72,000-square-foot facility in McIntire Park took an important step toward clearing a final hurdle: the dismissal of a pair of lawsuits by a consortium of privately owned fitness clubs against the City and County.

During an April 20 press conference in front of the Downtown Mall's free speech wall, supporters of the joint City/County YMCA project had harsh words for the private club owners.

"Stop the greed," said Lisa Cannell, a parent and YMCA supporter. "We're appealing to the private fitness centers to do what's right for the community and allow this project to move forward." 

YMCA supporters have suggested that the club owners are simply trying to protect their business interests. The Charlottesville Area Fitness Club Operators Association (ACAC, Gold's Gym, and Total Performance) have, however, argued that the adopted plan would destroy "priceless green space" and claim they were illegally locked out of the bidding process.

Earlier that morning, the lawsuit filed against the City was dismissed by Charlottesville Circuit Court judge Cheryl V. Higgins. The Association's other lawsuit against the County was dismissed last November.  

Lawyer Kurt J. Krueger, chairman of the Y's board, said the lawsuit was the "only thing standing in the way" of the project. Together, the City and County have set aside $3.28 million for the project, with the City also offering to lease the 3.5-acre property, located where the picnic shelters now stand, for a dollar a year. 

However, it looks like the fitness club owners aren't willing to step aside.

"An appeal of the County ruling has already been filed," says Christine Thalwitz, ACAC's communications director, "and the group is considering appealing the City case as well."

Thalwitz argues that putting a YMCA in McIntire Park is the "wrong way to do the right thing." While she says that providing fitness services in the community is critical, she adds, "ACAC and other local club owners believe this can be accomplished without destroying McIntire Park or spending millions of taxpayer dollars."

"Some people cannot afford private fitness clubs," said Dr. Norman Oliver, who serves on the YMCA's Capital Development Committee, at the press conference. "The 'Y' is not just a fitness club; they help build strong communities– something the private fitness companies cannot provide."

Thalwitz disagrees.

"In an ideal world, both for-profit and non-profit entities would have had the opportunity to present bids," she says.

Asked what alternatives that ACAC and the other clubs would offer, Thalwitz declined specifics, saying they "would center on priorities indicated in previous needs assessments." 

"We're delighted," says Piedmont YMCA CEO Denny Blank of the ruling. "The justice system worked, and right has prevailed."

One can understand Blank's delight. The YMCA first proposed the project in 2003, and along the way the YMCA has been accused of everything from wanting to destroying McIntire Park and its lighted softball fields, to forcing Darden Towe Park to light its softball fields, an idea that angered residents who did not want bright lights in their backyard.

"It's frustrating," says Blank. "We never wanted to eliminate the softball fields. That land isn't even part of the YMCA project; it's part of the City's master plan. In fact, we'd be happy if the City didn't eliminate the softball fields."

As for the YMCA project, City Councilors and County Supervisors appear to be in full support, though some Supes questioned the expenditure last year during a budget session.

"I did have reservations concerning the County spending two million dollars on a YMCA in the middle of Charlottesville," says Supe Duane Snow. "But when I found out a previous board had already signed a contract, it became a matter of standing by our word."

However, the fitness club owners could still pose a threat. As Blank points out, the YMCA will be financing a portion of the project to bridge the gap between cash-on-hand from pledges and the cost of the building.
"We anticipate that the lender will want these appeals to be dealt with in some manner," says Blank, who hopes the appeals can be "considered on an expedited basis." Of course, if the rate of progress on the project so far is any indication, there's no guarantee it will be expedited.

Not if Charlottesville mayor Dave Norris has a say.

"This is a major victory for Charlottesville and Albemarle County families," Norris said at the press conference. "Let's get moving."


Charlottesville Area Fitness Club Operators Association huh? I thought anti-competitive cartels were illegal. A good reason to cancel your membership if you belong to one of those three gyms, you're funding your own screwjob.

Glad to see this. There might be persuasive arguments out there for not putting it in McIntire Park but not from ACAC and Gold's Gym.

I do not want a membership-organization gym in my public park. I do not want treasured trees removed. I do not want to subsidize a private religious organization's building. Wake up Charlottesville!

So the county and city are going to put hundreds of people out of work, stop collecting income tax from these businesses, and lose out of the personal property tax when these places close up shop. All to replace it with an entity that doesn't pay taxes and is given it's land and building.
Since we are doing so well, can they lower my taxes?
YMCA's only make sense in communities with no existing health and fitness infrastructure.

How has the Y built anything community oriented in the Charlottesville Albemarle area?

We should not be subsidizing any religious group, the Y included. Separation of Church and State don't mean anything anymore, do they?

The YMCA does not need to be in McIntire Park. There is plenty of vacant land that can be used along Preston and elsewhere. This whole deal smells.

Get a grip... If you have $300 a month to spend on a gym membership then good for you. Quit your gym, go to the Y, and feel good about giving all that extra money to the foodbank or shelters in need (not to mention the write-off). What erks me is 90% of exercise equipment purchased ends up on the secondary market or in our landfills/recycling centers. If you have $300 to blow, buy a used piece of equipment, feel great for "going green", and change it out every couple of months... No one wants to see your fat butt in the window of any of the local gyms anyway!

why is a "for profit" orginization allowed in a PUBLIC PARK?!

Religious organizations can build wherever they want EXCEPT a public park. How could anyone on City Council think this is appropriate? That park is a treasure for the public and not the place for a highway or a church related enterprise.


All I see with the YMCA is one more giant subsidy the people in the middle get to pay for, but don't get any benefits from. I have long looked at the prices charged by the Y in many of its classes, and found private alternatives that are equal in price, or less. They are also dishonest in pretending that these are thigs they offer.

I use the Karate classes as an example. 45$ a month plus 20$ a month more per family member. Classes are not run at the Y, but at the Cale Elementary, and run by the Cvilleshotokan. A look on their site shows the exact same prices quoted as the Y Of course, financial assistence is available, but all those people in the middle won't qualify, even if they are pressed to make ends meet. What's more, their tax dollars will go to pay for something that is neither necessary, that will never subsidize them, and of course, also takes away their park resource. So, as usual, they take a lower standard of living for someone else's personal agenda.

The final slap in the face, is that these same people are being told their isn't enough money to fix their bridge. 1/3 of the cost of replacing the Belmont bridge is right here in this totally unnecessary project. I know of several County projects, like bridges, that I would prefer to see my tax money spent on as well.

For all of us, the big push back should be entirely on a Constitutional basis. The government should never ever be giving money to a religious organization.

Maybe we should also end the tax-exempt status for churches since they generate traffic and otherwise cost the government money, just like a shopping center does. Churches make money (where else do these huge new buildings with mega parking lots and day care centers keep coming from?) and therefore ought to be treated like any other business or resident by the government. Ever seen the impact churches (and religious schools) have on Park Street and Rio Road traffic, even mid-week, hence the need for the new road affecting the park?

I agree with several commenters--the government has no business giving public land to a religious enterprise. And yes, it's way past time that tax-exempt status ended for churches.

Would Thomas Jefferson approve - that is the question .

These governmental bodies just have to be doing something all the time. Apparently McIntire park is just a big undeveloped sore spot that they have to pick at until all of Cville is paved.

Dawg, wouldn't the second statement render the first moot? (I agree with your second statement, but not sure I care much about the first one way or another in this case.)

How much has ACAC cost us with this nonsense "save the park" campaign? Delays and wasted time, court costs, start construction, stop construction. And of course separation of church and state because the Y only serves the Christian community. Are there any Muslims here that are against the Y? Is it the Jewish community? Buddhists? No its the snoody preps who only worship their money. As if people on Rugby road use the shelters at McIntire Park.

@cville middle class
I used to use the shelters. It got harder with the base ball crowd taking over. I used to attend a lot of big events there, when it was wide open. It has always been neat that every once ina while, we catch young black bears there. What a better sign that we are still close to nature. Now lets destroy that.

How do you know there aren't Muslims or Jewish people protesting? We live in a pretty cosmopolitan area.

Frankly I could care less who the Y serves in the community. It is unlikely they will serve me, and I am tired of public resources and tax dollars being handed over to private operations. Where's my handout. Perhaps were the Y deal a bit more for the actual community, you wouldn't have this conflict and need for court costs.

I also think that if we don;t have enough money for necessary infrastructure, then we don't have enough money for duplicate services. I am sorry, we don't. On that basis alone the project should be delayed.

And yeah, I am another member of the middle class who pays for everything, and never seems to have access to anything.

Phil Wendel is the sole owner of a private corporate fiction called ACAC. His decision's are the "corporation's" decision. His son-in-law is his mouthpiece. His ex-brother-in-law is his executive. And his buddy Greg is paid to do his bidding. I watched this in Pennsylvania already.

He is the sole owner of ACAC and the sole funder of what your town reports to be a "consortium." I doubt it's a consortium in any legitimate sense of the word. I notice that your article does not have any comment from ANY Total Fitness or Gold's representative and I'd bet they have not paid $1 towards the consortium or its fees. Ask them?

Phil Wendel loses $ (and pride) when YMCA's open in places like Westchester, Pennsylvania where he owns other ACACs. Here's an example of the community chit chat up HERE when Phil's goons fought the YMCA's existence here:

"... maybe you should talk to this idiot Greg Wells about stealing. I can't believe he has the nerve to say the Y is unfair competition. He charges $250 per month for a family. Thats right, three times what the YMCA charges. Does he think we are all that stupid to think that because he is paying taxes that he has to charge $160/month more than the YMCA? When they opened and a lot of the wealthier Y members left and went to ACAC he wasn't complaining, but now that the community has better facilities he is seeing them all go back to the Y and suddenly its an issue? I cancelled my ACAC membership and went back to the Y because it is an awesome place for a fair price. All they care about at ACAC is milking people for as much money as they can get out of them. $3000 a year for a family membership is borderline criminal. If they Y is that successful that quick then you should all thank them for bringing such great services to our community.... "

I can walk to ACAC downtown. The monthly fee is $87. I seriously doubt if I'm going to give up walking to a facility and drive to McIntire park to pay even if it is less than 87 a month. My understanding that once the City donates the land that no more City taxes is going to the Y. The top 7 people in the Y in Richmond made a collective salary of 1 million a year (from their tax returns).


I would by no means defend ACAC in this. They are on the right side of the issue for the wrong reasons. ACAC here is basically a spa for people who have time during the day to do yoga and get on fancy treadmills. Not that you can't get a great workout there, just that it's hours and type of operation are definitely not to serve people who might not have an easy schedule.

Sure, the Y could be competition, but apparently only if it is subsidized by the tax paying public. The problem is, we are picking and choosing winners here with money still going to subsidize a private operation. And if it's true that the top 7 Y employees make a combined 1 million, it sounds like it is just one more special interest bilking the tax payer.

According to YMCA Richmond 2008 Federal tax return "for public inspection":
Barry Taylor CEO $220,187 salary +32,991 benefits about $250K a year including benefits
William Spears CFO 137.867 + 22.291 bemefots about 159K a year
Karen Keegan Exec VP Operations $142,871 + 20,439 so about 162K+ a year
Richard Lyons Exec VP Operations $136,998 + 25,374 so about 161K a year
Nancy Trego Sr. VP of Philanthropy $126,853 + 20,556 in benefits or $146K+ a year
Kathryn King VP of Strategic Implementation $116,743 + 17,115 in benefits so 123K
Megan O'Neill Group VP Executive Director $106,640 + 27,432 in benefits so 133K a year
So by 2008 Richmond YMCA tax return the top 7 people of this Non profit were paid (including benefits $1,134,000 in salaries.

I guess your democracy down there elected some people whose job is to provide for the public welfare and concluded they would spend less tax dollars by partnering with private donors to build and operate a great fitness facility for the community than building one exclusively with tax dollars. If your elected officials missed judged the need, then I'd assume the private $ wont show-up since the donors will look pretty hard at that.

I'm lost on the $1M for seven top employees. Is that a statement of admiration that this information is made public by non-profits as opposed to private corporations??? The lawsuit says private corporations should be getting the public funds, right? Help me understand.

I doubt those salaries are artificially high. There are lots of public corporations with single individuals making far more than $1M almost exclusively off of tax dollars - as opposed to memberships and private donations. I might focus on those companies before fretting over YMCA employees. It is a very legitimate issue but I'd start with any of a myriad of government contractors in Ole Virginia before focusing on the YMCA. The Y has some sophisticated philanthropists and volunteer board members who can be sure their efforts aren't wasted on inflated salaries.

While you're at it, I'd check to see what the public costs - judge salaries, clerk salaries, city attorneys, etc. are in this matter. And then check to see if any of that is paid by private donors or is it all paid by, you, the taxpayer. Then I'd check to see the legitimacy of the law firm profiting from their dismissed lawsuit. I'd be surprised if you can access that information but I bet that "special interest" (err, law firm) has made out quite well without regard to your town's tax dollars. Up here lawsuits with merit aren't tossed summarily but we do have greedy lawyers willing to file the junk if someone will pay them enough to do it. Maybe you Virginians are too gentile for that but maybe when times are tight, a law firm wont turn down any matter with a good paying client. It wouldn't be the first time.

@HM -The YMCA can pay it's folks what it wants as long as it pays them with their donations. I draw the line when they start using my tax dollars. Just like I can voice concerns over what municipal employees are paid, be they judges or street cleaners. Again. My tax dollars.

The YMCA is not about building a community athletic center. It is a center with an agenda to promote its own set of values, and focus on special interests. It is irrelevant if their contributions mean the center costs less, because it is not designed to meet my - the community's - needs. Currently the City has a number of public facilities that already meet the community needs, some of which aare very nice, such as the Smith Center.

What the elected officials decided was to meet their personal agendas at the tax payers expense, including the neglect of current and crucial infrastructure. Those same officials can get unelected in a few months, to someone who understands two important things:

The need to maintain current infrastructure.
That subsidizing private operations is not in the public interest.

HM (Sky above) said to drop out of membership and donate to Charity each month. (She did say food bank now that I re-read it). I'm just saying I make less 60K and I'm going to drop out and donate to Y where the top people make 250K (at least in Richmond), no way. But the top guy in ACAC makes millions but I sticking with that as I can walk to it. (A step nephew, Charles Best started the charity Donorschoose which took in 24 million in donations last year and he paid himself 132K and he lives in Manhattan a much higher cost of living than Richmondl).. But only a non profit could go into the Park. When the bid went out for non-profits the ACAC would have had to have formed a seperate non profit and put in a bid, they didn't so how can they come back now and sue.

I'm not sure how close Richmond is to your community but your local YMCA CEO makes far less than half of what you report above. This is according to the 990 filed in 2010 by the YMCA on Westfield Road in Charlottesville, Virginia. What gives? (Guidestar is available to get any of this info.)

There's a non-profit prep school on Ivi Rd in Charlottesville whose leader makes about $300K a year according to its 990. It sounds like the Y donors and board might pay their leader under fair market value for his labor. Like you, I don't know the specifics.

And, of course, there are the CEOs of government contractors - like, for example, Ronald Sugar of Northrop Grumman who makes $8.56 MILLION per year, which is primarily paid through receivables from the U.S. Treasury and other national governments, I believe. I'm guessing the rocket scientists at ACAC have objectives that are more similar to Mr. Sugar's than the goals of a YMCA CEO making $90K. Just a guess ...

HM, If you don't understand the local issues and you don't even live in C'ville, which means you are not losing a significant part of your public park to a church affiliated organization, then why does your opinion matter here?

I suppose it's because your boy came to my town with a tornado ego that apparently isn't checked by your town. Trust me, if the article or your boy's lawsuit that is the basis of the article had any connection to the point you seem to be raising, I would not voice an opinion.

You're right Cookie, the residents of your town should decide democractically if you/they are losing a significant part of your public park because of the project. Seems like a valid concern if it has basis in fact, which I do not know.

HM, The article is right up above if you would like to read it

"Together, the City and County have set aside $3.28 million for the project, with the City also offering to lease the 3.5-acre property, located where the picnic shelters now stand, for a dollar a year. "


I read it and I read the link in it. The article and the lawsuit do not seem to be about your City "losing" the property - I assume that was debated in local government sessions years ago. The lawsuit and the article is about which private entities should be invited to bid to get the $1 lease.

"It's really all about fairness," says Atlantic Coast Athletic Club CEO Greg Wells. "We were unjustly and unfairly denied the opportunity to participate in the [bidding] process." (This quote is linked in the article above.)

He is not saying ANYTHING CLOSE to what you are complaining about on behalf of the picnic shelter users. If he was, he would have hired a bored lawyer to file an injunction when your City made the offering, not YEARS later. I don't mean to be harsh and hate sounding like an ass, but you're being played by some greedy folks with cash to burn without concern for public good.

I quite honestly don't care about anyone's personal motivation for fighting having the YMCA in the park as long as they give it a go.

According to ACAC's filings in your court, they're fighting to have an opportunity to have an ACAC where your picnic shelters are and they're filing that suit years after the plan was publicly critiqued by your city staff and, I assume, elected officials. If you've got a handle on that and ACAC's still the bedfellow you want, then you are right, it's your business and not mine up here. God bless. Enjoy your skinny yuppies, obese kids, and needlessly clogged courts.

@cookiejar, Kurt Krueger insists that the city and the county is not subsidizing the Y. Not only did they need $3.28M from governmentup front they receive yearly subsidies of $1 in rent. They have not been able to collect enough money to support themselves and will be living off of the city down the road (they will have a loan to pay off). This facility will not be supporting and will be a drain on the coffers. And, judging by it's history in Charlootesville, it will be pretty empty. But some people will be making some really nice salaries and benefits. Can this project be called Norris' Folly?


"And, of course, there are the CEOs of government contractors - like, for example, Ronald Sugar of Northrop Grumman who makes $8.56 MILLION per year,"

What's that got to do with the price of tea in China? So, the YMCA is a smaller tax subsidy, so that's ok. Or, we like what they do compared with NG, so that makes it OK.

That's the exact self interested self righteous attitude Tea Party members seem to always make. They don't want big gummint' programs as long as it's not their disability or medicare that's being cut. After all, they only ta

What a load of hogwash.

Woops, hit submit too soon.

The make work corporate welfare to Northrup Grumman is the same sort of illness that I see in giving money to the YMCA in a public park. The money is better spent at places lik the NIH, or replacing things both the county and the city need.

C'ville Eye, selecting a single project to name "Norris's Folly" would make for a difficult choice.

@HM Don't worry, cookieJar and the other latte liberals are just angry because tax dollars are going to a potentially (if not run like the rest of C'ville organizations) useful function which just happens to have religious origins instead of their typical feelgood do nothing "awareness" tripe. It's a place where the low and low middle classes can possibly get a break for an actual service instead of being told how awful they have it and let's hug and that will make it all better. Also it's a big lol that suddenly they turn their support away for a place where they won't be specifically separated from the down and out people they claim to love and support at their avocado sandwich luncheons where they don't actually have to have them in attendance.

Also you godless greenie humanist types don't surprise me at all by your lack of literacy with regard to the Constitution (among other places), there is no "separation of church and state," it declares "the government will not support an official state religion," which this is clearly not a violation in spirit or letter. Also your audacity at calling out someone for "not being part of the community" is particularly laughable considering the track record of the boneheaded organizers in state and their complete inability to do anything useful and cost effectively, and sometimes neither.

Young Men's CHRISTIAN Association, Prominent location in a city owned public park, rent of $1 per year. That sure looks like state sponsorship of religion to me.

So you really can't tell the difference between partial sponsorship of a foundation that is openly Christian and establishment of a state religion?

Tell me how else your public schooling failed you. I would guess in several other much more obvious ways.

You have done little to make your point other than call people names and make other ad-hominem attacks. I certainly hope that isn't something you learned in Christian school, but I wouldn't be surprised.

I see for starters it has failed you in your total inability to comprehend meanings behind words, choosing instead to misuse terms that sound intellectual like "ad hominem" and pretending they mean what you want them to.

Sorry for using "big words" in a discussion with you. I did quite well in both Latin and logic when I was in school. I didn't go to a "Christian" school, I went to a Catholic school.

You still have said nothing to support your point. I'll give you the benefit of the doubt and just assume that you do have a point to make other than to say that you hate people simply because they disagree with you. Very Christlike of you by the way.

Hahaha you think "ad hominem" is a big word. I guess stunted vocabulary would be the third way (that you've displayed) that you've been failed so far. If you'd actually gone to a Catholic school you'd have learned that by the 9th grade.

If you had gone to a school that taught anything about writing, you would have learned to avoid ugliness like using the same contraction to mean both "you had" and "you would" in a single sentence.

Regardless (you can mentally substitute "irregardless" if that's more comfortable for you), you have only barely made a point in the first place, and you still have not written a thing other than criticisms of fellow posters to support your point. Apparently, you have little to say, no reasons why anyone should really believe what you say, and yet you persist. Obviously, your "skills" as such be put to better use in the "birther" discussion.

...Just checked the Trump article, Cruncher is there with "evidence" that the recently released birth certificate is an obvious fake. ROTFLMAO!!!

So do you have any actual rebuttals to my point, that being you don't know the distinction between support or establishment, two very simple words that you apparently can't seem to understand, or are you going to type more drivel that, once a mind worthy of a high schooler picks it apart, has no underlying meaning whatsoever?

I know Karl Denninger's analysis probably baffles and confuses you, being that it requires what amounts to rudimentary critical thinking (failure number 4). But unlike a tape recorder like yourself, it actually has merit, not that I even care if he was born in the US or not, a fact you conveniently didn't mention in your haste to throw feces at the wall and pray something sticks. Ladies and gentlemen, your typical latte liberal, full of hot air and not much else.

I agree that your mind is worthy of a high schooler, albeit one with special needs. It seems that whatever you choose to pick apart has no meaning whatsoever once you are through with it.

If the wording of the Constitution merits discussion regarding the proper legal relationship of church and state, then why is the requirement of citizenship for the person holding the highest elected office in the land as written in that very same Constitution not important?

What the Constitution says is either important or not. You seem to think that it is important and not, but you have the audacity to call someone else confused?

Charlottesville is assumed to be such a “progressive” community. I’ve lived here my whole life; I have seen change over a very slow period of time. The people of Charlottesville fight any kind of change when they see a chance to do so.

It frustrates me that people such as yourselves have taken such a great opportunity for our community (meaning the YMCA), and has turned it into something so negative.

The YMCA is a Christian based organization, but YMCAs are open to all, regardless of religion, social class, age, or gender. The YMCA serves 45 million people WORLDWIDE... So why is it that the 100,000 or so people that live in our community cannot have the same services that those 45 million have?

Remember your community when you speak out against the YMCA. Look into what the YMCA is actually about. They are not trying to “steal” a public park (which no one uses any way except the softball teams). They are simply trying to serve all of our community rich or poor. They will never turn down a single family that can or cannot afford the great services they offer to you, your friends, and most importantly your children.

So when this YMCA DOES start construction, and finally open their doors, please come by and see what you have fought for so long.

Be the “progressive” community you all want and desire so badly.

Nobody is chasing the YMCA from our community. The Y has been around a long time, and it isn't going anywhere. Saying that those who wish to keep the park as an open green space are somehow anti-progressive is absolutely ridiculous.

The problem withe the Y in the park, as with any other private organization is just that - its a private organization being subsidized with community owned resources and dollars. It's particularly insulting when the localities claims they don't have enough money to fix infrastructure.

Congrats to HM for laying out the real story behind the lawsuits to prevent the building of the new YMCA.

Attorneys for the city pointed out that "none of the three gyms responded to the proposal or even objected to it at a public hearing. The city’s brief also points out that the group waited two and a half years after the lease was awarded before filing a lawsuit." One has to wonder why.

In the latest decision Judge Cheryl Higgins said that "“When a municipality is leasing its land, they want to ensure it is for the benefit of their citizens.” And, "The City distinguished and has a rational basis for housing a non-profit versus for-profit group [on the land]. The City is most concerned with what best serves their citizens, that's why they were specific in choosing non-profit."

In effect, the for-profit gyms want to cash in using publicly a publicly subsidized lease (sort of like the manner in which the big Wall Street bakers and hedge-funders wanted [and got] public subsidies [bailouts] for their their very private profits). The judge used state law to decide against them. Now, they are trying to gum up construction through more legal filings.

Who are these people? As noted, Phil Wendel owns ACAC. Over the last decade he's given hundreds of thousands of dollars to politicians, 98 percent of that money has gone to conservative Republicans (Jerry Kilgore, like George Allen, Bob McDonnell, Rob Bell, Eric Cantor, ) Republican committees and conservative PACS.

The national owner of Gold's Gym is Robert Rowling (yes, the local Gold's is franchised). He too gives big money to conservative Republican causes and candidates (he was a BUsh Pioneer, raising at least $100,000 for George W. Bush). Rowling has been a major funder of American Crossroads, a Karl Rove entity known and cited for its misleading, distorted and false political ads. See, for example:

So, guys who have supported the people and policies that ran up huge deficits and debt, and led to a broken economy with millions of job losses, (and presumably are opposed to more affordable health care for more people) are against the city and county operating jointly with the YMCA to offer reasonably-priced fitness facilities and activities for city and county residents.


Ditto to what soo progressive says. I, too, have lived here all my life and it is just amazing how nothing can ever get done. And what a town of hypocrites this is. This YMCA is going to support the community, enhance the community. They had great opportunities to GO ELSEWHERE. I wish they had because the Y would probably be open right now if they had. The wanted to be in McIntire so they could serve the City of Charlottesville more conveniently. If they had gone elsewhere they would have been accused of racism - of not serving the community. I am not holding my breath, unfortunately, that anything will be completed anytime soon. HM is, unfortunately, spot on with what we're up against.

A couple of observations from somebody without a dog in this fight:

-In all of the posts above, there's one thing missing: no one seems to be vociferously arguing that we need another fitness center. Never mind debating about the Y's Christian tone or Phil Wendell's riches. Somebody please convince me that there is an unmet need for another gym.

-here's a quick list of all of the other local places in the area to work out:
ACAC (2 locations)
Anytime Fitness (2 locations - Crozet & Greene.)
Gold's ($19/month)
Snap ($39/month)
Total Performance
Boar's Head Sports
Physical Therapy centers offering gym access for additional customers: Move Better and Atlantic Rehab
Cville's Smith Center ($39/month, and a really, really excellent place.)
Existing Cville centers/gyms (Carver, Crow, Key, Westhaven.)
Various yoga/karate/pilates/tai-chi studios too numerous to count
UVA gyms (for UVA employees, which accounts for about 20% of the local population.)

-Conclusion: there has GOT to be a better way to spend the $3.28M plus the implied rent subsidy ($1/yr really worth something like $100k/yr.) Fix bridges, shelter homeless, increase school funding, add to the libraries, or whatever your favorite cause. I just can't believe that another gym is what Charlottesville is missing.

-Action: it appears that the YMCA's gameplan is to start building ASAP and finance the new gym with loans since they are still several million dollars short. This risks a half-built elephant that only Halsey Minor would love if the financing collapses or if the Y can't make interest payments because of too little revenue. How about someone at the City or County level just say "no building the gym, or getting our contribution until you have the whole thing paid in full."