Xenia planning $15M recreation, education, health facility

The city will have partners in the project.


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The city is seeking $15 million to build a multi-use facility that will be used as a regional hub for recreation, education, activity, community and health in Greene County.

The REACH Center, a planned 110,000 square-foot facility on South Progress Drive, is a partnership between Xenia, the Greater Dayton YMCA, Kettering Health Network, Clarke State Community College and Central State University.

The city has committed $1 million to the project. Kettering Health Network paid $3.4 million earlier this year for land for the building.

“This project is a substantial project not just for Xenia, but for the Greene County region,” said Xenia City Manager Brent Merriman. “The reach of this project with health care, education and senior services speaks to a much broader audience than just the people in Xenia.”

Greater Dayton YMCA is the REACH Center managing partner and will oversee operations at the facility. The center’s design will will be modeled similar to other multi-use YMCA managed facilities in Huber Heights, Springboro and West Carrollton.

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The concept was developed as a result of Play Xenia — a recreation needs assessment and action plan for the city. The assessment determined there was a lack of recreational space in the city which also lacked modern facilities, Merriman said.

“The Y (YMCA) was an important partner in that Play Xenia discussion, so we began talking with them about how can we look at options for replacing the Y or adding recreational space,” Merriman said. So we quickly realized this problem was a multi-dimensional problem because folks like the senior center and others needed additional space.”

The center provides a cost effective solution for these local needs, Merriman said.

“So in the end we bought in education partners and health care partners because the comprehensive nature of the project made it such that we felt like we would be eligible for a broader variety of funding to help get the project done,” Merriman said.

Initial plans called for the REACH Center to open in 2017, however scarce funding has caused the city to look at a later opening more likely in 2018.

The YMCA model

The REACH Center will replace the existing YMCA and the Xenia Adult Recreation and Services Center on East Church Street.

The organizations that will be housed in the center are similar to other Greater Dayton YMCA facilities which have partnerships with health networks, colleges and churches to provide additional services in one location.

“Anytime you can provide more services to the community and do it cheaper by partnering together it’s a great win win for everyone,” said Dale Brunner the Greater Dayton YMCA president and CEO.

Sinclair Community College, Kettering Health Network and Premier Health have locations at some YMCAs in the area, Brunner said.

“It’s all in what the partners need and want in the facility,” he said. “The whole goal is to make every partner successful within the facility because you’re drawing traffic. It’s kind of like a one stop shop. You want to drive as many people as possible to the facility ”

In addition to health and recreation services, Clark State will share the educational space with Central State University. Clark State Community College is planning to use about 13,500-square-feet for classrooms, laboratories and offices that will serve an estimated 1,800 students.

In November, the college reported Clark State will offer degree and certificate programs, workforce training, non-credit courses and workshops and soft-skills training at the center. Central State University will also operate an extension office at the center, according to a Clark State University news release.

“Student support services will also be offered as will tutoring and career advising,” said Theresa Felder, the Clark State Community College vice president of student affairs and the college’s Greene Center operations. “In partnership with Central State, Clark State will seek capital funding to cover the construction costs and the furnishings for the education space within the REACH facility. Clark State and Central State are committed to working together to provide education and training to the Xenia and greater Greene County area.”

Federal and state funds sought

Kettering Health Network purchased the 35 acres of land where the facility will be located. Xenia’s $1 million commitment would be used to build a gymnasium and other recreation or common use areas. However more funds are needed before construction plans can move forward, according to Merriman.

Kettering Health Network did not respond to email requests for additional information on the organization’s role in the project and use of the facility.

Clark State Community College applied for $4 million in funding through the Dayton Development Coalition’s Priority Development and Advocacy Committee — a group of business, education, and government leaders who evaluate and rank development projects in the region. The development coalition then seeks funding for priority projects.

“Once those lists are created, we sit down with the state legislature and go over them to a certain degree,” said said Shannon Neal, a DDC spokeswoman.

The REACH Center was one of 57 projects evaluated by PDAC that were categorized as priority, recommended or reviewed. Priority projects are expected to have a greater regional impact and are a top funding priority. The REACH Center was ranked “recommended” which means it meets the needs and benefit the region.

“There’s no pot of money that comes out of PDAC,” Neal said. “It’s a way to look at what projects the community is working on and what type of funding they might align with.”

The city also applied for new market tax credits, federal dollars funneled in through the state, and it is waiting on feedback about the proposal.

“The Y doesn’t have millions of dollars sitting around for a project,” Merriman said. “The senior center doesn’t have millions of dollars sitting around for a project. It required a number of diverse and creative funding mechanisms to try to come together.”