City Takes First Steps Toward a Possible New YMCA

By Joseph Domelowicz Jr.

Discussions between representatives of YMCA Metro North and city officials, about the potential to build a new, state of the art YMCA in Lynn, took their first, fruitful steps toward a real project Tuesday night, when the Council Public Property and Parks Committee voted unanimously to request the City’s Law Department draft a request for proposals (RFP) to develop city owned land adjacent to the Lynn YMCA’s current building.

The publicly owned parcel on Wheeler Street, near Neptune, represents the YMCA’s best chance to fully realize its goal of expanded facilities and programming in Lynn, for the benefit of the entire community.

However, the vote to request the RFP is just the first step in what will be a multi-step process to convey the city owned parcel to the YMCA, if that is indeed the final outcome.

According to George Markopoulos, of the Lynn Law Department, the RFP will be drafted to allow the city the flexibility to consider other criteria, besides simply the highest price, to convey the land and it may also allow for flexibility in the bids, so that if, for instance the potential buyer did not want to buy the property, but preferred instead to lease the land, that would be possible as well.

“The RFP will be drafted so that you (the Lynn Council) can consider the overall benefit to the city, with price being a factor in that decision,” explained Markopoulos.

Markopoulos also noted that potential bids for the city owned parcel will have to include a pledge by the proponents to make needed infrastructure and streetscape improvements that may be required to include the parcel with the neighboring YMCA land.

“The city has assesses that parcel at between $280,000 and $290,000, but with the street, sidewalk and signage improvements that would need to be made, that would be an additional investment of at least $300,000,” said Markopoulos. “It is possible that when you put this out to bid, you will get bids that, for example offer $1 for the land or offer to lease the land for a long term, but would also ensure that the improvements to the intersection are made without any cost to the city.”

Markopoulos told the Public Property and Parks Committee that a draft of the RFP will likely be available for their review in two weeks time.

“At that point we will recommend certain requirements that can be part of the RFP, to allow you the flexibility and discretion to make the best selection in the interests of the city and you can offer other criteria that ca be included as well,” he said.

According to Inspectional Services Department Commissioner Michael Donovan, the possibility of conveying the land to the YMCA for an expanded Y facility will also need Planning Board approval.

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