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Thursday

August 2014

28

Sussex looks ahead to new YMCA and civic center

The center of this photo is approximately where a new 45,000-square-foot civic center may be built if a partnership between the village of Sussex and the YMCA of Central Waukesha County is finalized. The civic center would be located between the site of the existing village hall (far left) and the Pauline Haass Library (right). The existing village hall and the Mindemann home will be razed in order to make way for construction of a new 75,000-square-foot YMCA.

The center of this photo is approximately where a new 45,000-square-foot civic center may be built if a partnership between the village of Sussex and the YMCA of Central Waukesha County is finalized. The civic center would be located between the site of the existing village hall (far left) and the Pauline Haass Library (right). The existing village hall and the Mindemann home will be razed in order to make way for construction of a new 75,000-square-foot YMCA. Photo by:

Sussex — A 75,000-square-foot YMCA facility and a new, 45,000-square-foot civic center may be built on the existing municipal government campus on Main Street at an estimated cost of $14 million to village taxpayers, according to a tentative development partnership between the Village of Sussex and the YMCA of Central Waukesha County.

A conceptual outline of the partnership agreement was approved by the YMCA Board of Directors April 15. Village trustees gave the village staff informal approval to continue to pursue the development agreement during a closed door meeting last week that appears to have violated the state's open meetings law.

According to the tentative conceptual agreement, the village will donate to the YMCA approximately $7 million to help built a $14 million to $15 million facility on village property that will include two gymnasiums, a fitness center, and a swimming facility that will include a pool for swimming laps and a family fun aquatic center.

Raising funds

The partnership agreement and the construction of the Y facility is contingent upon the Y being able to raise the $7 to $8 million to pay for its share of the construction costs. Construction on the project would begin in 2017.

In exchange for the village's donation, village residents will be allowed to join the YMCA at a discounted membership rate and the village will be allowed to use Y facilities for village recreational programs.

The village will use either bank notes or bonds to borrow the money for the $7 million contribution, according to Village Administrator Jeremy Smith.

Smith estimates the donation will cost a typical village owner of a home valued at $280,000 an additional $12 per year for 15 years.

Trustee excited

Village Trustee Pat Tetzlaff, who said she was "every excited" about the development proposal, suggested the cost to village residents will be made up by increased economic growth and an increased tax base resulting from downtown redevelopment, as well as improved recreational facilities, including a swimming pool.

"I cannot tell you how many years there have been discussions about a swimming pool for the village," she said.

The L-shaped building is expected to front Main Street, stretching from the Pauline Haass Library east to near the Associated Bank, and then turn north towards the existing parking lot in the rear of the existing village hall. The existing village hall and the Mindemann home along Main Street would be demolished to make way for the new structure.

The existing boulevard entrance to the municipal campus would be replaced and a new entrance located about 150 feet to the east, between the existing village hall and the Associated Bank, across the street from the Piggly Wiggly parking lot right-turn-only exit.

Although YMCA officials have indicated the new facility would generate about a 1,000 cars a day in additional traffic along Main Street, village officials are unclear about some of the improvements that might be made to facilitate the traffic.

Smith said no decisions have been reached yet regarding how the triangular-shaped Main Street/Silver Spring Drive intersection might be reconfigured.

Village taxpayers will be asked to pay an additional $7 million to $8 million for the new civic center, which would be constructed on the existing parking lot and driveway between the Pauline Haass library and the existing village hall.

Smith said the civic center is expected to be three stories. One floor will be used as additional space for the library. A second floor will be for village government administrative offices, and recreational and senior citizens programs. Another floor will be devoted to not-for-profit community service groups including Sussex Outreach Services (SOS), the food pantry, and possibly the historical society.

Three connected buildings

The three buildings — the Y, the civic center, and the existing Pauline Haass Library — will be connected by a series of interior corridors, Smith said.

There will be parking for 300 vehicles, some of which will be located on portions of what is now Weyer Park.

Smith emphasized that there is adequate open space on the north side of Spring Creek to allow playground equipment and other park amenities to be moved from south of the creek to north of the creek to make way for a larger parking lot.

Chris Becker, chief executive officer of the YMCA of Central Waukesha County, said the village's willingness to locate the Y facility downtown and help pay for its cost were particularly attractive to the board of directors.

Becker said the downtown location would make the Y more accessible to children and seniors.

The Waukesha-based Y organization has been considering a Sussex site for more than a decade. In the early and mid 2000s, they had anticipated building a new facility on farmland south of the Kohl's retail center. In 2008, plans shifted to a site on about 20 acres of land on the southwestern corner of Highway 164 and Lisbon Road.

"One of the most frequently asked questions at Village Hall has been what is the latest on the Y," Smith said

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