KINGSPORT — The Board of Mayor and Aldermen terminated the management agreement between the city of Kingsport and the YMCA for the new aquatic center, a move city officials say is being done in an effort to save money and reduce duplicate services at the facility.
Kingsport’s aquatic center, located on a 15-acre site behind The Cattails driving range off Wilcox Drive, has been under construction since December. The aquatic center will include indoor and outdoor pools and water features and be co-located with the new YMCA Wellmont Center.
Four years ago, the BMA agreed on co-location and for the YMCA to manage both facilities. At that time, city officials praised the YMCA’s history of managing aquatic centers in other parts of the country and noted a management agreement would help reduce operating costs at the aquatic center.
During its regular meeting Tuesday night, the BMA voted to terminate the management agreement with the YMCA, with city officials saying the move will help save the city money. City officials estimate the annual subsidy for the aquatic center in the first year will be approximately $300,000.
“In no way is this a reflection on the Y’s ability to manage. It’s just an opportunity (for the city) to have more control over this facility and the expenses,” said Chris McCartt, assistant to the city manager. “There was a realization of dollars to be saved and the city needs to take advantage of that.”
Under the old management agreement, Kingsport would have paid the YMCA $75,000 a year to operate the facility with each side taking care of its respective employee, maintenance, utility and equipment costs.
Now, each side will still take care of its respective costs, but the aquatic center will fall under the city’s Leisure Services department and its director will
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