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Orange County Focus

MISSION VIEJO : YMCA Will Operate Recreation Center

August 27, 1994|FRANK MESSINA

The city agreed this week to lease one of four recreation centers to the YMCA--a deal that will unload a $200,000 to $300,000 financial burden from the city.

The YMCA will move into the facility on Marguerite Parkway, which has been operated by the city as a health club for the past 20 months, by Dec. 1.

"This is going to be a good deal for the city," Mayor Susan Withrow said. "The Y has a very long record in terms of experience. This will enhance the recreation opportunities in Mission Viejo."

Health club membership will cost the same or less under the YMCA program, city officials said.

"They're already pretty close," said Kelley Doyle, who heads the city's parks and recreation director. "Mission Viejo residents won't be paying more."

The City Council agreed to a 15-year lease, with the YMCA obligated to pay just $1 a year in rent.

The lease will get the city out from under the heavy financial obligation of running the largest of the four recreation centers.

Mission Viejo saw a net loss of at least $200,000 on the Marguerite center, and possibly as much as $300,000, according to city officials.

Records kept by the Sports Leisure Group, a city contractor that current runs the centers, are being analyzed to see exactly how much the city lost.

Under the agreement, the city will be responsible for all major structural repairs. The YMCA will pay for maintenance of the interior and the exercise equipment.

The lease will contain escape clauses at the third, sixth, ninth and 12th years of the agreement.

With no other active negotiation underway on the remaining recreation centers, the council will consider how to deal with those facilities.

Among the ideas under consideration is using the buildings for other purposes, such as converting the Montanoso center into a part-time teen center, Withrow said.

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