Erie County banks on YMCA space shuffle

SANDUSKY If the Sandusky Area YMCA pulls off its planned move to the old Memorial Hospital building
Tom Jackson
May 24, 2010



If the Sandusky Area YMCA pulls off its planned move to the old Memorial Hospital building at 2020 Hayes Ave., it could help the local health department and the Erie County Commissioners.

If the YMCA moves, the Erie County Health Department may move into the current YMCA building. And if the health department moves, its current space could be used for Erie County's planned alternative sentencing facility, health commissioner Peter Schade said.

The YMCA, 2101 W. Perkins Ave., is trying to raise $7.5 million it would need to move to the Hayes Avenue location. So far, the campaign has collected about $5 million in pledges, said Steve Snider, executive director of the Sandusky Area YMCA.

"We'll know by August," Snider said.

If the community is not able to support the proposed move, the YMCA will go to Plan B, raising the $2 million to $3 million needed to renovate its existing location, Snider said.

Schade, who met Thursday with Erie County commissioners Tom Ferrell and Nancy McKeen, said the 45,000 square feet at the YMCA's Perkins Avenue building could provide an affordable solution to the health department's space needs.

The health department's current facility at 420 Superior St. near Sandusky Bay has about 16,000 square feet of space, Schade said.

Schade said the health department's present site could be used for the alternative sentencing facility Erie County wants to set up for nonviolent offenders.

The county commissioners have been trying to pursue two solutions to relieve overcrowding at the Erie County Jail: Greater use of electronic monitoring devices, and creating an alternative sentencing facility modeled after Richland County's successful program in Mansfield, where non-violent offenders have been willing to pay the cost of staying at the facility so they can stay out of jail and go to work during the day.