Muncie YMCA Breaks Lease with City

Muncie Mayor, Dan Ridenour, showed up to the Muncie Redevelopment Commission without notes but begged the stacked commission to allow him (the City of Muncie) to pay for utilities on the recently vacated downtown YMCA. The YMCA abandoned the property without telling Dan’s administration (the landlord).

The StarPress wrote a marketing piece for the YMCA but didn’t read the lease to see what responsibilities the YMCA agreed to pay, along with other leasing agreements. Here’s what their article states:

“There was a hope and we thought that maybe they would be open until the new Y opened up,” Ridenour told the Muncie Redevelopment Commission (MRC), which owns the building.

In a statement to The Star Press, YMCA Executive Director Chad Zaucha said the decision to vacate the downtown building was a matter of finances in the midst of building a new YMCA home.

“The Downtown YMCA closed due to escalating construction cost of the new facility,” Zaucha said.

That’s all interesting information, but what did the lease say about the YMCA’s obligation?

Well, the Mayor didn’t refer to the lease, and none of the MRC members had read the lease but passed the Mayor’s request, 3-2, in favor. How can you vote in favor when you never read the lease?

Also, the excuse the YMCA executive director gave doesn’t make much sense either. Sorry that your construction costs are high on your new facility, but you are obligated to the City taxpayers. You can’t just stiff the citizens without warning. City taxpayers already fronted the YMCA $500,000 for the new building. They also offered a favorable lease of $1.00 to the Y – all so the City could dictate who the buyer might be for the property. Ultimately, how can the costs of the new building interfere with operating the Downtown facility when its overhead is so low?

According to the lease agreement between the MRC and the YMCA, the YMCA should have given the City of Muncie a 30-day notice that they were vacating the property on Mulberry and Jefferson. Instead, they just emptied the pool and departed the facility. The Mayor discovered the departure via word of mouth, and his staff verified it in person. The bottom line is the YMCA violated the lease due to not notifying the MRC, and the reason provided isn’t logical, considering the YMCA is collecting dues from members. It makes one wonder how they can afford a much bigger facility as we advance.

Here is the lease/purchase agreement:

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Todd Smekens

Journalist, consultant, publisher, and servant-leader with a passion for truth-seeking. Enjoy motorcycling, meditation, and spending quality time with my daughter and rescue hound. Spiritually-centered first and foremost. Lived in multiple states within the USA and frequent traveler to the mountains.

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