(PLATTSBURGH- May 11th 2023) - At the Common Council meeting on Thursday May 4th, Council voted to approve a partnership where the City of Plattsburgh will pay for the registration fees for City youth under the age of 12 to participate in YMCA sports programming, starting in Fall 2023.
Over the last several months the Mayor’s office staff and the Plattsburgh YMCA CEO, Justin Ihne, met to discuss an opportunity for the YMCA to provide limited sports programming for City youth under 12 years of age. Currently, the YMCA serves close to 300 City youth under the age of 12 in soccer, baseball, and basketball programming.
According to current registrations, this partnership would cost the City approximately $35k annually. The City plans to leverage the $160k in annual savings realized from taking the Crete Center offline to offset the cost of registration for the City’s youth.
Mayor Chris Rosenquest says, “In 2019, despite public outcry, the City abolished a majority of the recreation department, finally closing its doors in 2020. That created a number of problems to solve including facility maintenance, staffing, and the elimination of sports programming,” explained Rosenquest. "Over the last year we've spoken with other municipalities and providers to gauge and develop partnership opportunities. The partnership with the Plattsburgh YMCA landed."
Justin Ihne, Plattsburgh YMCA CEO says, “We are very excited about the opportunity for this expanded partnership with the City of Plattsburgh. Many YMCAs around the country have embarked in these kinds of partnerships and with great success. In the end it's about getting more kids active and fostering activities that promote working together, leadership and increase confidence and self esteem.”
This partnership contributes to a more holistic solution for City recreation and youth sports programming.
"Recreation cannot be reduced to a building or a sports program - it's a mindset that's woven into the cultural fabric of our community," Rosenquest adds. “Playing sports is just a single component to a more global view of recreation in the City of Plattsburgh. Recreation must also include park improvement, play spaces, trail development, bike paths, and year-round outdoor recreational access.”
The City recently began leasing the former City Rec Center on US Oval to the YMCA. This has been a benefit to both organizations as the YMCA had been looking to expand fitness facilities and the City had the appropriate property to provide.
The Mayor's office also initiated the Parks Renewal Project which engaged the community to identify improvements to five of the most used city parks. "This project stemmed from a parks inventory and assessment we did in 2021. We need to take care of the things we have. That means investing and improving our parks, green space, trails, and infrastructure," says Rosenquest. The Council approved spending upwards of $2.5m to begin some of the more immediate improvements.
The transformational Bike Friendly Plattsburgh plan looks to add dozens of new miles of biking infrastructure throughout the City of Plattsburgh, thus making biking and commuting by bike easier and safer for residents, students, and visitors.
The City of Plattsburgh and the YMCA are planning to start this program in the Fall of 2023. If you would like to learn more about YMCA youth sports programs please visit www.plattsburghymca.org