The Y points to successful partnerships already in place. One is in Allapattah, at 2370 NW 17th Ave., where the Y joined the county and the city of Miami to build a center underneath 190 affordable-housing apartments that rent for $500 to $700 a month. Renters get free Y memberships. For the community, family memberships cost as little as $50 a month. The Y got about $2 million in federal Community Development Block Grant funds to help pay for the construction on land that had already been donated.
Separately, about a year ago, the county built a recreation center at North Pointe Park, 7351 NW 186th St., that the Y operates. It would be replaced by one of the supersize facilities under the pending plan.
“We’re bursting at the seams,” Alfred Sanchez, president and chief executive of the YMCA of Greater Miami, said of the North Pointe center, which has almost 1,000 member families.
If a Y being built in the Briar Bay section of The Falls area is any indication of what the new centers would look like, local gyms may want to do some investing to keep up.
Still about two months from opening, the 40,000-square-foot, two-floor center is a hip, C-shaped structure with blue exterior walls and giant bay windows overlooking a room full of computerized treadmills. Behind the room, through another set of bay windows, is a large gym with basketball courts and a small grandstand.
There are separate rooms where young kids can play basketball on carpeting, board games and more. A large swimming pool is planned, adjoining locker rooms with showers. A running track is already in place.
Sanchez said each center could cost $10 million. Money would be raised through donations and financing. He said fees could run about $70 a month for a family, though they could vary.
“Besides the JCC [Jewish Community Centers], I’m hard-pressed to see anyone else do what we do,” Sanchez said. “It’s hard to find a major city with a Y presence where this isn’t taking place.”
Kardys, the parks director, said the county has been building 7,500-square-foot recreation centers — well below the community’s needs.
“That’s great for an afternoon or summer program, but it’s hardly a recreation center. We need much more robust community centers,” he said. The Y’s “have this. They do this, and they do it all over the country.”