Discussion in 'Broadlands Community Issues' started by Tech Head, Mar 2, 2003.
From Leesburg Today:
I agree. This could be a great thing.
Where is it proposed to be built?
Off of Truro Parish and Belmont Ridge?
That seems like a good location.
Some background for you on this issue. Broadlands proferred to Loudoun County a 16 acre parcel of land to be used for a community center. This parcel is along Belmont Ridge Rd, south of the water towers and north of Truro Parish. There well be entrances to the site from both of these roads.
Several years ago (I think 1999) at a community update meeting it was mentioned that there was no immediate plans by the county to build the recreation center due to lack of funding and the priority being placed on building schools. We then pursued trying to establish a public-private partnership to see if there was a group willing to build a facility if the county provided the site. The only interest received was from the Loudoun YMCA and what was proposed was not acceptable.
Over the course of the next few years, the county's finances looked rosier and the schedule for the county to build a facilty was moved up from 2006 or 2008 to 2004, pending voter approval on a bond referendum. Last year as the county's finances started looking less rosy, the schedule was pushed back to 2005. Today, with the financial picture decidedly less rosy, who knows when it may be built.
Last year, voters approved a bond referendum to build the Claude Moore Community Center. Even thought voter approved, the County Administrator is proposing the facility be postponed at least 2 years due to the increasing tax rate. (Don't get me started on that topic!)
Meanwhile, the Loudoun YMCA has gotten the support of the Greater Washington Area YMCA organization and they approached the county again about building a facility on this site. When I saw an article in the Loudoun Times Mirror 2 weeks ago, I started making calls to both the county and the YMCA to get more information.
On March 13, the Board of Directors will be meeting with YMCA officials to hear their plans for the site. In speaking with Drew Hiatt (the Dulles District Supervisor), he mentioned having a community meeting later this spring. The county will present their plans for the site and the YMCA will present theirs. Drew will then leave it to the community to determine which proposal it supports.
Feel free to get in touch with me if you would like to discuss this topic further.
Cliff Keirce (resident HOA Board member)
First of all, I want to thank Cliff for posting background information on this proposal.
Second of all, I want to point out that there are very serious issues with Loudoun County contracting with a private Christian organization to construct and operate a recreational facility on public land, in lieu of a county-funded and operated facility. As the Leesburg Today article explains:
“A YMCA at that location would eliminate plans for a future county funded recreation center from the Capital Improvements Plan, a county staff memo stated.
“The facility would be constructed with private funds with most services to be provided by YMCA staff. The county would provide the land, through a lease arrangement, donation, or some other plan.”
Arguing that this is necessary because the county lacks the funding to do so itself is not a viable reason for turning it over to a religious organization. YMCA, for those who might not know, stands for Young Men’s Christian Association. It was founded in 1844 by George Williams, a London businessman and devout Christian, for the purpose of “combating idleness among young workers by means of Bible studies and prayer meetings”. The YMCA was originally established in 1851 in this country as a Gospel meeting group. By the turn of the 20th century, it was combining youth-oriented athletic facilities with Sunday prayer meetings. In fact, the YMCA invented the game of volleyball. Most people, when they think of “the Y”, think of a community service group -- a place for young men to meet, get a hot bath and meal, socialize and engage in sports -- and it does indeed provide all of these worthwhile services. But it is, first and foremost, a proselyting Christian association, dedicated to spreading Christianity. It helped create such organizations as the Student Christian Movement and the World Council of Churches. It is a religious organization.
YMCA’s motto is “It’s for Everybody”, and indeed the Y does permit people to use its recreation centers regardless of their faith. But it does this with the intent of preaching its religious principles to those who make use of its facilities, especially the youth.
Clearly, as a private organization, YMCA has the right to promote Christianity, and if it were to purchase land in a fair and competitive market -- as for example, churches, synagogues, temples or mosques do -- this would not be an issue. But it is NOT appropriate for Loudoun County to donate or make an otherwise privileged offer of land to a specific private religious organization, nor is it appropriate to replace a slated public recreational facility with a private religion-based facility.
To those who might feel that I’m making a mountain out of a molehill because “we’re just talking about the Y here, not some evangelical group”, you need to ask yourselves: “Would I feel equally comfortable with Loudoun County donating public land to an Islamic organization for the purpose of constructing a recreational facility dedicated to spreading the teachings of the Prophet Muhammad; or to a Wiccan Youth Center teaching the healing powers of witchcraft to young people who make use of the facility; or for that matter, for a large community activities center operated by peaceful occult worshippers, whose charter is devoted to spreading the word of Satan?”
YMCA does some very good deeds and it has aided entire communities and helped many people -- young and old -- get back on their feet. It is an admirable institution with a proud history. But it is a private religious organization, and it should not be offered special considerations by the County, nor should it be considered a fair and equitable replacement for a public facility.
I just heard a can of worms opening...
Hey, I should have thanked you along with Cliff in my original posting, since you're the one who created this topic and provided the info link. Thanks very much for doing that!
As for having opened a can of worms, please don't think of it that way. It's only a can of worms if we prefer that the matter be buried and not discussed openly. This is an issue that needs to be discussed, and this open forum is the ideal place.
I'm sure that my position on this matter is in the minority (that's why the protections of the First Amendment are so very important!) But I think that it's both healthy and necessary for concerns about this fundamental issue to be discussed openly instead of hidden away or conveniently ignored.
I agree with Asher. I'd rather see a County sponsered community center than one sponsered by any religion.
Separate names with a comma.