Monday, May 20, 2024

County terminates lease agreement with YMCA

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The Hood County Commissioners Court unanimously voted to terminate its lease agreement with the Hood County YMCA during a special meeting April 25.

Since the news broke on social media, many residents have been largely concerned about the future of the YMCA.

But John-Michael Corn, chief risk and resource officer for the YMCA, told the Hood County News it’s not as bad as it sounds. In fact, the original lease agreement contained a termination clause.

“The original document was set up for 25 years,” he explained. “It was really determined that a long-term arrangement would be best for all of the parties in order to not readdress. That said, we did put a ‘terminate for any reason’ or ‘no reason’ into that contract.”

Corn explained the termination clause was a mutually agreeable decision and stemmed from the prediction that none of the original members in the parties would still be “at the table” when the contract expired around 2038.

"For any reason that it wasn't productive for any of the parties, (the lease) could be paused or stopped,” he said. “With that said, there would be a year wind-down period, and during the course of that year, conversations, tweaks, whatever could happen, so the (agreement) may go forward, but it may not also.”

While the court decided unanimously to terminate YMCA’s lease agreement late last week, the lease will not officially end until May 31, 2025 — giving the court a total of 13 months to potentially negotiate a new lease.

“I don’t think that anybody is trying to say what we’ve done hasn’t been good,” Corn said. “I think it’s the ability to look at (the lease), renegotiate, and see if there are any terms that need to be tweaked. That’s how the Y is looking at this.”

The conversation regarding the development of the Y first started in 2013, when negotiations and public meetings between the county and the Granbury Independent School District started to take place.

“(We wanted) to really come up with a solution and a facility that would serve the needs of the community, serve the needs of the school district — particularly the swim team — and serve Hood County by creating a community center,” Corn said. "The three parties were successful in that and were really all working together for the best interest of the community at large. It went to the vote for the bond to build the building and it passed, so that's where the official relationship between the county and the YMCA started. The conversation started in 2013 and the doors opened in 2015.”

Last fall, Corn said the Hood County Commissioners Court started discussing different lease properties in the county, like the YMCA and even the Medical Center.

He said while the news of a terminated contract is jarring, he believes the court only wants to re-examine the relationship between Hood County and the YMCA.

“The Y is here. The Y isn’t planning on going anywhere,” he said. “We have every confidence that we’ll be working with the Hood County Commissioners Court to come up with the best way forward for everyone involved — particularly and most importantly, for the citizens of Hood County.”

YMCA Chief Strategy and Marketing Officer Christy Jones also added that the YMCA services will continue as planned despite the lease termination.

"People who have memberships, people who have signed up for programs, they will not experience any kind of disruption in service,” she said. “That is our commitment to our community.”

"From the community members that we serve to the swim team of GISD not having to drive an hour north to practice, those (residents) have been impacted in incredible ways and I'm proud of that,” Corn added. “The Y, the school district and Hood County have done some amazing stuff together for the community, and I think this is an opportunity for all of us to do that again."

The Hood County News will continue to update this story as more information becomes available.