YMCA Moves Forward with Proposed Plans for New Apollo Beach Facility

By Tamas Mondovics

YMCA supporters who hope to see a new facility to be built adjacent to the Vance Vogel Sports Park Complex in Riverview had a chance to share their thoughts last month during a public meeting held inside the East Bay High School auditorium.

While the meeting seemed to sport strong favor of the proposed new Y on county-owned land, it did not end without a number of comments of concern about the Y’s approach toward its goal and its financial collaboration with Hillsborough County, which includes the deal of a 30-year free lease of the 40-acre county land.

If approved, the project will be funded jointly with the YMCA, and $2 million provided by the county.

According to Kurt G. Gremley with the County’s Real Estate and Facilities Services Department, the project would provide additional much-needed recreational facilities in southern Hillsborough County as preliminary plans include various indoor recreational facilities, an aquatic center, various athletic fields and related improvements.

The three-phase project is to begin with a $3.5 million first-phase consisting of a single-court covered airnasium, three multi-purpose athletic fields, a playground and parking lot with a completion date of April, 2015.

Hillsborough County allocated its donation to fund the first phase of the project with Tampa Metropolitan Area YMCA providing the rest.

Apollo Beach Racquet and Fitness Club owner, Mary Beth Sultenfuss, who was also present during the first meeting in connection with the project, did not hesitate to express her disagreement with the county’s involvement of funding the project.

“I don’t understand why my tax dollars support the funding of a rival business, no matter how much it is needed,” Sultenfuss said.

The remaining phases of the project (1A, 2, 3 and 3A) will include an aquatics center and a traditional multi-purpose YMCA family building, all paid for by the Y at a cost of about $5.4 million, with a completion date in 2016 or 2017.

Tom Looby, CEO of the Tampa YMCA, emphasized the need for a new Riverview facility when he said that area residents kept calling and asking for a YMCA in South County.

The proposed agreement is now waiting to be presented to the Hillsborough County commissioners on Wednesday, August 7.

For more information, call 272-5810 or visit www.hillsboroughcounty.org.