The Real Deal Miami

Miami-Dade will likely give YMCA parkland for new fitness centers, despite controversy

March 11, 2013 11:00AM

Miami-Dade County and the YMCA are nearing an agreement to develop seven fitness centers on public land, the Miami Herald reported.

By April, county commissioners could give space at seven parks across Miami-Dade to the non-profit organization to build the centers, which would cost $10 million each to develop, the Herald said. The partnership would utilize both the YMCA’s expertise in building recreational and fitness centers and the county’s undeveloped land, the paper said.

But transfers of public land for private use are never without controversy.

The proposal would have moved ahead in January, but commissioners scrubbed it from the agenda after an eruption over a similar situation, where a Nigerian-American Museum was provided land by the county to build a facility that would serve the public. Commissioners have traded words over whether the agreements set up by the county should allow the prospective users to rent or own the land.

Still, it looks as though the YMCA agreement will move ahead. Commissioners point to successful partnerships with the YMCA, like the one proposed in Miami-Dade, across the nation.

“They do this all over the country,” Jack Kardys, who directs the county’s parks and recreation department, told the Herald. “This is the best way to stretch the money we have.” [Miami Herald]-Guelda Voien