Monday, August 17, 2009

Carondelet Rec Plex Update

Today I picked up a flyer at the Carondelet YMCA regarding the new recreation complex planned to open this fall. Some interesting highlights:

  • The rec plex will be operated by YMCA.
  • Operating hours: Mon-Thu 5 am to 10 pm, Fri 5 am to 9 pm, Sat 7 am to 5 pm, Sun 8 am to 6 pm
  • 76,000 square foot green facility
  • 2 court gym with elevated track, fitness center, aerobics studio, senior and teen rooms, 3 multipurpose rooms, wet room for parties and cycling, classroom, 2 child watch areas, catering kitchen, family locker room
  • memberships are available for city residents and non-residents; plus the membership allows you to use the Sublette YMCA at your convenience.
  • Non-residents have a one time joining fee of $20/student, $40/adult, $80/household
  • Monthly facility fees for city residents are $34.50/student, $46/adult, $69/household; non-residents is a little higher.
  • For members, the annual pool fee is paid once per summer in addition to the monthly fee. Facility members $50/single city resident or non-resident, $125/household city or non-resident; non-facility members can pay $205/single city resident, $225/ single non-city resident, $380 household city resident, $410 household non-city resident
  • You can also get a Metro membership allowing you to access any YMCA in the greater STL area
  • Indoor pool features coed steam rooms & sauna, whirlpool, preschool play structure, zero depth entry, lazy river, 2 story water slide, vortex (circular water current), lap and rec areas
  • Outdoor pool features all indoor amenities plus diving board, preschool pool, splash park and concession area
  • The outdoor pool will open summer of 2010
Sounds pretty swanky.

42 comments:

Michelle said...

A "community center" is affordable to the community it "serves" ... this is indeed a swanky new YMCA being disguised as something it's not. I'm disappointed that the fees are going to be prohibitive for many in this community, myself included. I was also disappointed when I was told that there will be no day-passes for the outdoor pool. I can purchase a day-pass to use most of the county run outdoor pools, but not the one in my own backyard?

Mark Groth said...

^Michelle, we are currently paying $61.00/month for a family membership at the Carondelet YMCA. I didn't think $69.00 was unreasonable. However, the pool fee is quite steep. I didn't notice anything about the single day pass. I will ask about that when I inquire the YMCA staff on the fate of the current YMCA building on Loughborough.

Ryley said...

I think this is wonderful! STL is the only "city" I have lived in that is void of these indoor recreation super centers (pool, gym, soccer, running track, hockey, etc.). If I have any problem it's that they aren't going multiple use enough with this project.

Mark Groth said...

^Ryley, not sure what you mean by "multi-use". Please elaborate. I hope that the softball/soccer fields near the interstate will be part of the rec plex as well. That would add quite a lot in my opinion. I'd like to see the lights blasting nightly over softball and soccer and rugby and flag football leagues. It would add a tremendous amount of vibrancy to the passers by on I-55 providing one more piece of evidence that STL offers more than Affton, Lemay, Oakland, Crestwood ever can/would.

Michelle said...

Mark..did you ever find out if the Rec Plex is going to sell day passes for the outdoor pool?

I know that I'm not necessarily comparing apples-to-apples, but in doing just a bit of research on fees, I found that the Fenton RecPlex charges $555/year for a family membership, non-resident.
Resident membership, family, is $410. Use of the outdoor pool/waterpark (similar in design to the one that will be at the S.City community center) is included in the annual membership fee. So...for almost $400 less, I could trek out to Fenton and use their facilities.

I would be interested to know why the Y was chosen to manage it instead of the Parks Department. It makes sense that with the Y running it, then the fees needed to be similar to the other Y facilities. But again, this isn't a YMCA (or it wasn't supposed to be, anyway!)

Doug said...

I just received the flyer with the Membership prices.....Sure is disappointing.
I have been waiting so long for this project only to be kicked in the gut with a $2 difference (compared to the "Y") in price for a single adult city resident.
Carondelet Rec Plex $46/mo $552/yr
River Chase Fenton $33/mo $330/yr
Non resident
The Heights in Richmond Heights
Non resident $31/mo $345/yr
A pass to the Maplewood Outdoor pool is $60.
Arnold Rec Center $32/mo $300/yr

All facilities are similar. The Maplewood pool is not on the grounds of The Heights, but it does have an Olympic size pool with 2 lap lanes at all times.
The Carondelet Rec Center will charge $205 for a (Non facility member) single city resident to use the OUTDOOR pool. OH MY GOSH!
That's insane.

Who decided the membership fees?
Did they forget to read the report made in 2003?
http://stlouis.missouri.org/citygov/parks/parks_div/southcitycenter.pdf
It states 77% of the households earn less than $50,000. People are moving out of the service area particularly families. The population is older than the national average.
The YMCA on sublette is 4.3 miles away. If we wanted to pay these prices, we would already be members of the YMCA.
My hope is that someone reviews these costs and makes this Community Center affordable for the persons who wanted it from the start.

Mark Groth said...

^Doug, the prices do appear to be quite high compared to the suburbs. My question is will the north side facility memberships be priced the same?

Doug said...

Mark
It has been difficult to find information about Carondelet site. Thanks for starting this blog.
I can not find anything on the North side location. If you or anyone can, please post it.

I accidentally left out the information on the St. Peters Rec Plex in St. Peter's,MO.
I have a few friends who use it. It's nice. And the biggest draw.....It's affordable.
Over 100,000 square feet. They have a Nationally recognized Indoor Olympic size pool. The memberships for a single adult resident are $310/yr or you can choose a monthly option $36 for the first payment and $26/mo for 11 months. The total on that is $322.
They do not have an outdoor pool onsite, but they have 3 options for outdoor pools off site which cost $60 for an adult resident.
All totaled, there is still a gap of $150 compared to the Carondelet site.

Anonymous said...

Wasn't this center partially funded with a sales tax increase on city residents? How can they justify these exorbitant rates? I was looking forward to spending a bit of time there, but I guess I will just forget for now. bummer.

Doug said...

Below is some of the most recent information I could locate about the new Carondelet Rec Plex.
Here is a link to the media kit
http://www.ymcastlouis.org/files/MediaKit_Aug24.pdf

Here is a link to "Loyal member meetings" and "Bring a friend".
http://files.e2ma.net/18241/assets/docs/loyal_member_meeting.pdf

Below is the text of the email sent, regarding the "Loyal Member Meetings".
Please join us for a
Loyal Member Meeting
We would like to share the news about the NEW Carondelet Park Rec Plex which will be operated by the YMCA of Greater St. Louis with our members first!

The Carondelet Family YMCA staff and volunteers of our Board of Advisors would like to answer any questions regarding what to expect in the new facility including amenities and membership rates.

Please join us at one of 4 meetings in the Aerobics Room:
Tuesday, September 1
10:00 a.m.
5:30 p.m.
Wednesday, September 2
7:00 a.m.
4:00 p.m.
Presentation will run 20 minutes plus time for questions.

Refreshments will be available. We hope to see you there!

Tell A Friend and Receive a
Free YMCA Sweatshirt
Thank you for being part of the YMCA family! We hope you are enjoying your Y membership. Now through September 30, we invite you to Tell A Friend about it!
Your friend can join the YMCA for 50% off the joining fee - up to a $40 value.
As an added bonus and a thank you for your referral, we will give both you and your friend a free sweatshirt if he or she joins any branch of the YMCA of Greater St. Louis. This offer is available to new or returning members only in the Greater St. Louis association. This offer lasts through September 30, so please help spread the word and Tell A Friend!

Is this a new "Y" ?
We were not told that at the beginning of the project.

Michelle said...

I'm not a member of the Y (loyal or otherwise!) right now so I won't be able to attend that meeting. If either of you are able to go, could you please inquire about the possibility of day-passes? I was informed yesterday that the Y will have a rep at the next Holly Hills Improvement Association meeting on Monday, September 28th. I will be attending that along with whoever I can get to come along.

Here's the thing: I completely understand why the YMCA has to charge what it is planning to charge. How could they charge less then their other facilities, really? My big complaint is with why the Y was chosen in the first place? I have nothing against the YMCA as an organization but in the interest of making this facility accessible to the entire community, why not look for other management companies?

Doug said...

I attended the 5:30pm Loyal Member Meeting with my Mom who, courtesy of her kind insurance company, is a member of the Carondelet YMCA. I have been a member in the past, but ended my membership due to the high cost. A total of 16 people attended.

I want to first thank the representatives of the "Y" who were all very nice and did what they could to provide answers to all of the questions they were asked. We even received a nice travel mug at the conclusion.

Now for some of the answers.......
They believe it will open in the middle of November.

Will there be yearly rates?
Yes and no. Along the same guidelines as the YMCA, monthly payments are the only option.

One day pool passes or one day facility passes?
No not at this time. They encourage memberships so you can receive the full YMCA experience.

Status of the North Side Rec Plex?
It will be built in O'Fallon Park. This is near West Florissant and Highway 70. No word on whom will operate this complex.

The lower field will be used for soccer, baseball etc..just like it had been.

We were told the City of STL looked at several different options for assistance with operating this facility. The YMCA was chosen because of their experience and the quality of service they have provided to the community.

They will be open 363 days a year. They will be closed on Easter and Christmas.

Both the Indoor and Outdoor pool (diving board) will have 3 Lap Lanes, 25 meters in length. As a comparison, the pool at the South City YMCA has 5 Lap Lanes, 25 meters in length. So yes, the new Rec Plex Lap Lane area will be smaller. However, the recreation area i.e. lazy river, Vortex and slide will be larger the South City YMCA.

Current members at the South City YMCA?
3000
Current members at the Carondelet YMCA?
850
Projected membership at the Carondelet Rec Plex?
2400

I hope this helps anyone who is thinking of joining. I think the YMCA does a wonderful job and they do great things for the community.

I guess we can soon decide if the cost is worth the "Y Experience".

cleeland said...

this is ridiculous. absolutely, and unequivocally.

my tax dollars funded that, and it's built on [former?] park property.

it's absurd that it's cheaper for me to belong to the Webster Groves facility, or the Shrewsbury facility, or the Richmond Heights/Maplewood facilities as a non-resident than to this.

And, the Y sucks. Period. We belonged and cancelled our membership because (a) they never had childcare available for when either my wife or myself needed it to take a class (b) there is a gap in what is available for programming/classes for kids and young adults (c) we found we could join The Heights much less expensively.

Mark Groth said...

^Cleeland, I've never had a problem with child care at the YMCA on Loughborough. I see your point that this is more expensive for a resident than a non-resident at the suburban rec plexes. Would you rather the city run the north and south complexes? I think not. I like the decision of having the Y run it. I don't mind paying for the services if it keep the facility in tip top shape re: cleanliness and safety. I am a big fan of the YMCA.

Michelle said...

Doug, thanks for reporting back regarding the meeting. I'm disappointed with their response regarding the day pass ... it sounds quite elitist, frankly. If you can't afford the whole experience, you get nothing.

Mark, I know that I sound like a broken record, but I'm still stuck on the fact that they "sold" us this facility as a community center and then, essentially, gave it to the YMCA.

There are many people in this community that won't be able to afford a family membership that is going to cost roughly $1000/yr for full membership + outdoor pool.

A rep from the YMCA will be at the Holly Hills Improvement Association meeting on September 28th for those who are interested in hearing more from the YMCA.

Mark Groth said...

^Michelle, I plan on attending the HHIA meeting. If you don't ask the question, I will. I see your point and other's point. It's a valid question.

Michelle said...

Thanks Mark ... I'm going to spread the word about the meeting because I think they need to hear from those in the community that won't be able to join, and why. It's not that I don't WANT to join .. I have been a member of the YMCA in the past and have always enjoyed my "Y experience" .. just harder to justify now within the budget.

Doug said...

Do you need to be a member of the Holly Hills Improvement Association to attend?
If not, I may go to see if anything has changed.

Anonymous said...

It's a scam. Originally it would have been $40/mo but YMCA whined it would put them out of business. And it should have. But now YMCA will stay in business at city tax-payer expense and get a fat 10% profit off the top. The only way things will change is if don't join. And if we get rid of the back-room deal makers who took a good idea and sold the majority of residents out to the wealthy. It's time to say good by to electing the Villas. The blame lies directly with Villa and ]backroom actors who acted on behalf of the YMCAs interest and not ours.

Mark Groth said...

^Doug, you'd don't need to be a member of the HHIA to attend the meetings. They are open to the public at Southern Commercial bank at 7:30 pm. It's on Grand, just north of Bates. Please try to attend, I think you make some great points.

^Anon Sept. 13th. Do you have any proof that the city was to charge $40/month family membership before the YMCA agreed to run it at $69/month? I'd like to see this and understand the price difference you speak of.

Doug said...

Mark-

I should be able to make this meeting. It's on the calendar.
Thanks!

Anonymous said...

How is it one can join the new rec plex for $46/month--- which per the Post Dispatch includes a membership to the South City Y---yet the South City Y alone costs $48 month?

Doug said...

Did anyone attend the HHIA meeting on 9/28 ?

Sara said...

The YMCA is funded in part by the United Way. The YMCA has ALWAYS provided discounted memberships to those with less financial means. Go to any YMCA and fill out an application to determine how much your membership would cost based on how much money you make. I’ve always found the YMCA to work the budgets of the community it serves. I believe this is one of the reasons the YMCA was chosen by the city. Don't complain about the fees until you know how much it will cost you personally.

Doug said...

It will cost me $46 per month as a city resident.
I can join the Heights in Richmond Heights as a non resident for $31 per month as a non resident. If the company I work for chooses to obtain a corporate membership, the cost is $22.50 per month.

I'm well aware the Y is funded in part by the United Way. Both do wonderful things throughout the community.
Why not lower the prices then use the "scholarship funds" for building strong kids, strong families and a strong community.

Mark Groth said...

Sara and Doug. You both make good points. I think the pricing should be in line with the neighboring city rates. Sara makes a good point that the Y does a good job of working out payment scales with people of all income levels. I'm also confident that the Y will keep the place clean, orderly and safe for the long term. Not sure the city would be able to do the same. I'm still looking very forward to this opening and am lucky enough to be able to afford a membership without any assistance. Hope to see you all poolside in the near future!

Anonymous said...

what type of classes will they have for kids? Looking for a karate class and will the classes cost in excess of the monthly membership?

Anonymous said...

I am very excited for this new center to open. I think one thing folks are forgetting is that if you can't afford a full membership there are probably scholarship opportunities or reduced rates. Some companies where you might be employed may also subsidize your membership. I think the partnership with the Y is a fantastic idea, these folks know how to program something like this. It makes perfect sense. The community center was never going to be free. The Y is very thrifty, they are really a non-profit serving our local communities.

This is great! I've been jealous of the surrounding suburban areas that have invested in building these and there is nothing like this in the city. It's a great step.

Gwen said...

I am very upset by the fact that this "community center", which I believe I pay for in the form of tax dollars, is actually a YMCA. They already have a facility BLOCKS from this one. The majority of members of the community this facility is supposed to service are unable to even consider the $69/mo for a family. I am very disappointed that yet again our humble family (which supports itself without public assistance) is left out of yet another "community" facility. The financial aid mentioned is extremely limited and still requires a monthly payment on a sliding scale. For us, we just want to go swimming. I don't need a "membership" I can't afford and won't have the opportunity to use. Really disappointing. Whoever came up with this deal really dropped the ball for their community. Way to go guys, way to go.

Anonymous said...

If the YMCA charged a fair amount for the use of this facility to begin with they wouldn't need scholarships for anyone but the most in-need members of this community. Those of you who don't need the scholarships should be just at outraged. It is because of that scholarship fund that YOU are paying a higher price. If they made it $30/month for everyone then more people could take advantage of the facility they are already contributing to, and only the most underserved would need to jump through the ridiculous hoops. Pardon me if I am not particularly fond of having to write a short essay on "How a scholarship to the YMCA would benefit my life", just to be considered. I doubt most of you would be thrilled about that prospect either. If the YMCA wanted to do right by this community they would reduce the membership rates and allow day passes to the pools for a fair fee like other area pools do.

LisaS said...

First of all, I'm a big fan of the Y. We joined South City the day it opened & were very happy with almost everything we ever did there. Staff people still greet us at Target, school, etc, with hugs.

We dropped our YMCA membership in January: couldn't afford it based on the economy's impact on our business, but we don't qualify for scholarship either. I'm a little miffed that I'm paying taxes for this & can't even buy a day pass. But I'm not the community to be served, obviously.

Michelle said...

Lisa and Gwen, I agree with you both. There is a subset of families within the community that are being missed here. I don't believe that I would qualify for scholarship (and probably wouldn't apply anyway) but still don't see $70 as something affordable in my budget. I was told by a YMCA rep that day passes would not be sold because they are afraid it would hurt their annual membership. So .. the city would rather I spend my $20 in the county next summer, I guess.

I have come to a point, though, where I am really not blaming the YMCA. I think they have to keep their prices in line with their other centers. And I don't doubt that it will cost MUCH more to maintain this new site. My complaint remains with the city government and their choice to make the operating costs of the new "rec plex" based solely on membership fees.

Bottom line is that you and I (and all the other tax payers of STL) have paid to build a beautiful, new, state of the art YMCA that many of us will not be able to use. What a shame.

Mike said...

I have been a long time member of the YMCA in South City and have been over to the new rec-plex and this place is wonderful. Yes it may be cost prohibitive for some but hopefully the YMCA will be able to continue to do what they have done with their other facilites and that is keep them clean and safe, allowing people to use them. The City did the wise thing by letting them operate the new facility and do what the Y does best...provide quality programs that will enrich young people's lives. For those in this thread that believe that because you are paying taxes you are entitled to free services by the city, get a grip. The place would be ready for demolition within ten years.

The city doesn't have the kind of tax base to subsidize membership rates like the fringe community centers do while those commmunities are dealing with smaller populations than the city has. They need a few non residents to join. $69.00 per month is still a very good deal to bring your whole family per month.

Anonymous said...

So Mike tells us to get a grip while the rest of the taxpayers subsidize his membership?

Some how I just knew this deal would get screwed up by City Hall and they didn't disappoint.

Anonymous said...

Families that make over $30,000 are priced out of financial assistance. If a family of four makes $40,000/year, we cannot afford $70/month plus $400 on top of that for the summer. Add me to the list of city residents that are extremely miffed and will continue bringing my dollars to the county.

Anonymous said...

Why is the fee for city residents monthly and non-resident one-time fee? That doesn't seem quite fair. I was hoping this would be afforadable. I can't afford $46 a month. Again non-resident is $40 for adult. Why is resident higher? I wish it was affordable for the poor and not only available for the rich!!!!!

Mark Groth said...

^All who are complaining about the price: yes, it's a steep monthly expense. But, so is cable/satellite TV. We choose to spend our money wisely and this to me is a good investment. My advice to those who complain about the monthly fees is to go to the front desk, talk to the kind staff and they will evaluate your income level and make accomodations on what you can afford to pay for monthly membership. Personally, I feel the rec plex is a luxury spend, so I don't mind the fees if they keep the level of services, staff and safety/civility as high as it is today.

Bridgett said...

Still, as a city resident looking for an outdoor pool this summer for my family, I was dismayed that Maplewood, at $300 for the summer, was going to be cheaper than the one built on public land in my own city. So depressing. I love the Maplewood pool and I hate the YMCA due to so many problems I had with childcare and the indoor pool at Sublette. So it works out for us, but it still dismays me that we were sold a huge bill of goods on this one.

Mark Groth said...

Bridgett, your wish of free swimming may come true. Word on the street is that the north city rec plex will be free of charge or drastically cheaper than the south city one. Now that to me is a true injustice....if true of course. We'll have to wait and see.

Bridgett said...

I don't want free swimming (well, admittedly, sure, I want free swimming)--I just would like it more in line with what other communities pay (for instance, residents at Maplewood pay $120/summer--I would have to pay $380/summer for the Carondelet outdoor pool). Or even just cheaper than the out-of-district fees for places like Maplewood (which is where we will probably join for the summer, for $300 in comparison to $380).

If the north side is free, and the south side is essentially subsidizing it, that is unfair. Truly.

Benny said...

When we voted on building the rec plex it mentioned nothing about the YMCA and thier insane membership fees. The bill passed it off as a community center much like the ones in surrounding suburbs of STL. So we blindly voted for it. They took our tax $$$ and continue to take them just so they can turn around and charge higher prices than anywhere in the area. How does that make any sense? What ticks me off even more is that people on welfare get in for even less then I do. There are only two people in my household so the fees are definately not worth it. Crazy how People with 15 children who already take my tax money are getting even more benefits thanks to the new Carondelet Thief Plex

Anonymous said...

a lot of people on here complaining about the price don't realize what they will get if the prices aren't a bit higher.

Anyone ever go to Marquette pool when it was open? No I'm sure you didn't. For good reason. I grew up there and used to go, until the bad element started going.