YMCA has sights on Harmon Field again

Published 3:17 pm Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Tryon approves of new survey

Five years ago the Henderson County and Spartanburg County YMCAs expressed a desire to start a facility at Harmon Field in Tryon but at the time did not gain enough interest from residents to make a new facility feasible.

Tryon has now been approached again to see if the interest exists.

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Council met Tuesday, Aug. 20 and heard from town manager Joey Davis who said he received an email asking if the town would allow the YMCA to do another feasibility study to locate at Harmon Field.

Harmon Field first began working with the Henderson County YMCA several years ago when it conducted the first feasibility study. Negotiations then were that the YMCA would be located in the town’s community center building at Harmon Field and an indoor pool would be constructed adjacent to the building, where the community gardens were formerly located. The feasibility study failed to gain enough support from area residents, who filled out surveys regarding whether or not they would join a YMCA at Harmon Field.

In 2008 Tryon began working with the Spartanburg County YMCA, which broadened the area of interest to within a 10-mile radius of Tryon, including the Landrum area. After that feasibility study failed to gain enough support, Tryon stopped negotiations and began looking into selling or leasing the building instead. The town still owns the building and rents its rooms.

During former negotiations with the YMCA, Harmon Field created a YMCA steering committee and had begun fundraising for the indoor swimming pool, which was then estimated to cost $1.2 million to construct. At one time the town had raised about $550,000 and had another $150,000 promised for the pool.

Commissioner Roy Miller said last week the town had the YMCA from Henderson and Spartanburg counties do a feasibility study in the past and they could not get enough people in the area to support a facility here.

“We gave back like $750,000 to the (Polk County) Community Foundation,” Miller said.

Commissioner George Baker said most of the money could still be there, but he is not sure.

Mayor Alan Peoples said some of the people from the YMCA have been to the community foundation recently to talk to them about the money.

He said the person interested in starting a YMCA in Tryon may not want to be identified, but asked if the town is interested in doing another feasibility study.

Council agreed for the YMCA to conduct another feasibility study, with commissioner Wim Woody saying he’s fine with a study as long as there is no implied consent from the town.