Friendship Center to Reopen as the Newest Branch of the Harrisburg Area YMCA
The Lower Paxton Township Board of Supervisors approved an agreement on Tuesday evening to re-open the Township’s Friendship Community Center as the new Friendship YMCA. The financially struggling, taxpayer-supported Friendship Community Center was closed in March under Gov. Wolf’s COVID-19 mitigation orders. Since then, supervisors have been working to re-open the center in a fiscally responsible manner that would lessen the burden on township taxpayers.
Under the agreement, the Township will continue to own the property and will lease a portion of the building to the Harrisburg Area YMCA. The Senior Center and Drayer Physical Therapy will remain as separate entities inside the Township-owned facility.
“We believe this a great affiliation that will benefit our residents. The YMCA and the YMCA’s mission emulates what the Township wants to provide for residents and members of the Community Center,” said Lowman Henry, Chairman of the Lower Paxton Township Board of Supervisors. “The YMCA is engaged in over 10,000 communities across the country and we are excited to have them join us in Lower Paxton Township.
As one of the nation’s leading nonprofits, the YMCA is committed to helping everyone reach their potential, through youth development programs, healthy living programs and through encouraging social responsibility and giving back to the community. The YMCA will bring its programs, expertise, and nonprofit fundraising abilities to the new Friendship YMCA, and will be able to make substantial improvements to the facility.
By partnering with the YMCA, significant savings will be realized by the Township and taxpayers. Over the last 20 years, taxpayers have helped to fund the Center and in recent years those costs have increased exponentially, which ultimately has the potential to impact the Township’s bond rating with Moody’s Investors Service. Taxpayer support of a community center can lead to a downgrade in the Township’s bond rating which would increase interest rates on borrowing.
The Agreement is slated to go before the Harrisburg Area YMCA Board of Directors on November 17th, and if approved, the new Friendship YMCA could open in December.
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