- Special Sections
- Public Notices
INVERNESS — Citrus Memorial Health System and the YMCA of the Suncoast have entered into a partnership for a new YMCA and wellness center on County Road 486 in Lecanto.
The CMHS foundation board of directors unanimously approved the agreement Monday night. Because the foundation is using private contributions that were meant for another project, the approval is contingent upon a written opinion from an attorney that the foundation’s actions are legal.
The agreement calls for CMHS to contribute $2 million toward the project. The YMCA must raise $5 million within 18 months.
Chronicle Publisher Gerry Mulligan, co-chairman of the YMCA capital committee, said fund-raising is already at the $2.8 million level.
“The community is very much behind this event,” he said. “We think there’s enough win-win to go forward.”
The YMCA arrangement is not what hospital organizers had in mind when they began a fund-raising drive for a wellness center. The hospital raised more than $2 million for a wellness center at its Allen Ridge medical complex in Lecanto.
YMCA organizers, however, suggested a partnership with CMHS at the planned YMCA facility because many of the amenities of a wellness center are also to be included in the new building, such as a swimming pool, exercise equipment and classroom space.
Foundation board members at first were reluctant because contributors made donations under the belief the hospital wellness center would be at Allen Ridge.
Hospital Chief Executive Officer Ryan Beaty sent letters to 800 contributors letting them know of the potential change. He said he hasn’t heard a negative opinion from any of them.
Still, Beaty said he awaiting a legal opinion to make sure the hospital can shift the project’s location.
The agreement allows either party to back out within 60 days for any reason or no reason at all.
The YMCA serves about 2,200 children at locales in Crystal River, Homosassa and Inverness.
Mulligan said he expects high usage when the new facility is built on the 18-acre site.
“It’s not going to sit there under-utilized,” he said. “It’s going to be used by the Y or the hospital.”
Joanna Castle, executive director of the YMCA Citrus County branch, said Tuesday the agreement benefits the community.
“We’re all very excited about this collaboration,” she said. “It just makes sense to have one place for people to go with so many activities for a better quality of life.”
Contact Chronicle reporter Mike Wright at 352-563-3228 or mwright @chronicleonline.com.