I-Team: City of Toledo sought many routes for funding new YMCA

I-Team: City of Toledo sought many routes for funding new YMCA
Published: Sep. 11, 2023 at 9:11 PM EDT
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TOLEDO, Ohio (WTVG) - We’re one day away from a major groundbreaking in Toledo, a new YMCA in the heart of the central city.

New documents uncovered by the I-Team show it’s been difficult trying to get the money to pay for it. This as the project comes in significantly more expensive than originally thought.

What you heard for several months as the ideas for a new Wayman Palmer YMCA were kicked around. How was it going to happen and how would this neighborhood get what it was promised

The renderings make it look amazing. A new Wayman Palmer WYMCA, built on the current site of Inez Nash Park. It won’t be cheap. A city of Toledo news release from September of 2021 calls it a $21 million project. In August we learned the project ballooned to $28.6 million.

New documents obtained by the 13 Action News I-Team show that the deficit has the city scrambling. In 2021 the city laid out a few plans including a mix of federal recovery dollars, private donations and a federal loan. Another called for it fully funded by federal recovery dollars. The city eventually pledged $19 million of the recovery dollars.

In 2023, as the city started to see estimates closer to $29 million, the city looked to Washington. As part of an earmark application, several community organizations were asked for letters to support a $2 million request via Senator Sherrod Brown’s office.

The city is also very careful with its community development block grant dollars for the new Y. In a March email, as the city development director inquired about funds for something else, the director of housing and community development wanted to keep the funds saying, “The growing Wayman Palmer gap is an emergency.” All part of the “Escalating costs well above 21 million currently committed.”

Eventually, the city went the route of new market tax credits and did so after approaching several area banks Huntington and 5/3 for help.

A third party was eventually selected to secure those credits, as people got creative. This idea from the YMCA president and CEO Brad Toft suggested to the city in 2021, the city give the Y the construction costs, have the Y get the new market tax credits, the city would own the land, and then have a ground lease then sell the city the Y in default for a dollar.

“I don’t think there is any path that works if the city is not the owner,” an official with the city said.

An application will be made for the new market tax credits. If for some reason they don’t come through, expect the city to use more of its future allotments of those community development block grant dollars.

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