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City to revisit Y’s aid call

Officials with the YMCA asks for significant help to overcome nearly $3 million in debt and to add parking structure.

July 05, 2008|By Alison Tully

BURBANK — City Council Chambers was filled Tuesday night with YMCA of Burbank supporters who gathered to advocate for the organization’s request for nearly $3.5 million in financial assistance.

YMCA officials requested City Council members approve the first step in a two-step process to loan the organization funds to alleviate $2.75 million in debt and $712,000 to construct a new parking structure on San Jose Avenue.

The council voted 3 to 1 to invite YMCA officials back to appear before the council, after more research is conducted concerning the scope of the lot project, the cost to the city and ways the organization would finance the loan.

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Residents agreed that a new parking lot would help resolve the lack of spaces particularly during the early morning and evening rushes. The structure would provide the organization about 71 additional spaces, according to a city staff report.

“We have a crucial parking shortage which is really a public safety issue,” said Greg Batson, city resident and YMCA member. “I think addressing this problem will not only help the YMCA but also the community itself in providing more parking in the future.”

The YMCA is a great asset because it serves everybody, including parents who need child care and senior citizens, he said.

Senior citizen Betty Arnold said that since becoming a member four years ago, she has met great people and received assistance for her son.

“The staff has been very good with my son who has cerebral palsy. They’ve gone out of their way to help him to get more fit,” she said. “But the parking is a drag . .  .so many of us park across the street and it’s a 50-yard dash to get across traffic and everything.”

Vice Mayor Gary Bric was concerned that the new parking structure would cause similar safety issues, he said.

“I just don’t see people walking down to Glenoaks or Third to cross safely,” Bric said.

“They are going to take the most direct route they can get.”

YMCA staff should consider implementing a crosswalk to prevent the problem, he said.

YMCA of Burbank’s debt is caused mostly by mortgages to finance its main building at 321 E. Magnolia Blvd. and an additional investment property on Evergreen Street, Holt said.

“Current interest rates to pay off our mortgages from the private sector makes it difficult to maintain operating costs,” he said. “And if we want to make this parking happen, we need to drive monthly costs down.”

Mayor Dave Golonksi said he was uncomfortable financing the YMCA’s existing debt, but was more than happy to contribute the funds necessary to build the new parking lot.

“I think there is a public benefit to help them acquire new parking,” he said. “They are willing to share the lot for public parking as well as the YMCA, so that is something that is appropriate for the city to help with.”

YMCA staff will research the difference in rates as well as address issues and concerns raised by council members.


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