Not so long ago, the focus of amenities in new developments were all about taking a load off – relaxing by the pool or dining in the members-only clubhouse. But now developers are as likely to picture folks running or biking through their proposed community as they are to show them loafing. Even without the dismal statistics about increasing obesity, especially among children, active recreation has become a must-have component of community plans.
No wonder then that there’s so much interest in associating community development with the top brands in family health. And there’s no better brand in that category than the YMCA. Health industry lawyer Bill Boling, Jr. told a June 18 meeting in Conyers, GA that getting a YMCA in a new community is like “winning the lottery.”
The winning ticket could very well be cashed by the new 315-acre community under study by developers Four A International and the team they’ve put together to plan it. Eston Hood, chief operating officer of the YMCA of Metro Atlanta, told the planning team that the firm the Y hired for market research tells him that “demand is so huge here (in Rockdale County, GA) that you can have two Ys and two or three more Boys and Girls Clubs and still have room for more.”
So the YMCA is contemplating what Hood called “the Taj Mahal of YMCAs,” a facility of at least 60,000 square feet serving some 5,600 members. “It would be the largest in the area, bar none,” said Hood.
The big questions: How to make the most of the YMCA opportunity? Where to place it on the 315 acres that guarantees access for its customers and leverages its design to support the project’s overall goals?