OGDEN — A nearly 160-year-old, worldwide youth community organization wants to set up shop in downtown Ogden.
The Young Men’s Christian Association — more commonly known as the YMCA, or simply “The Y” — has approached the city about opening a Northern Utah recreational facility in Ogden.
“They’ve been talking about some potential for a facility here,” said Mayor Mike Caldwell. “They’re still working on potential options, but ... it’s still very conceptual at this point.”
Caldwell said the city administration has formed a “working group” dedicated to the matter, which talks semi-regularly with YMCA officials.
The YMCA operates programs out of several Weber and Davis county elementary, junior high and high schools and at Weber State University, but has no independent, dedicated athletic facilities in the region.
According to their website, YMCA focuses on youth development, healthy living and social responsibility. That focus is manifested through special projects, classes and a wide variety of youth activities that occur at the organization’s athletic facilities.
Caldwell said he and other city officials toured YMCA sites in Boise and Caldwell, Idaho, about two years ago. He said the organization has been known to both move into existing buildings and construct new facilities.
“I think it really depends on the community,” Caldwell said. “Caldwell, Idaho, for example, did some bonding and got a lot of donations to build a new facility. I don’t think there’s really any fixed way that they do things.”
A new community/youth recreation center and athletic facility has long been discussed in Ogden City circles.
The city currently owns and operates the Marshall White Center, which offers a low-cost option for numerous programs, classes, activities and events. The center includes an indoor pool, a gym with basketball courts, a weight and exercise room and classrooms.
But in many ways, the center is limited because of it size, its age and funding challenges. The center was built in 1950 and the city has shifted management to third party entities over the years. The Ogden Weber Community Action Partnership managed the center from 2009 to 2015. The center’s pool was shut down in March after large cracks were discovered in it. The pool remains closed, according to the Ogden’s website.
Caldwell said the city would welcome a new YMCA facility, but the prospect right now is far from certain.
“Right now it’s like a lot of other development prospects,” he said. “It’s up in the air until somebody comes in and actually puts some money on the table.”
The Standard-Examiner was unable to reach YMCA officials for this story.