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YMCA a “Hinge” for Community Planning: Healthy living as neighborhood amenity

Jun 19, 2012

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.”

Eston Hood, of the Metro Atlanta YMCA

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?

6 Responses to “YMCA a “Hinge” for Community Planning: Healthy living as neighborhood amenity”

  1. Nava Watkins says:

    I would love to see a YMCA in Conyer GA ! I have moved to this area from Atlanta. Driving back and forth to enjoy the extras that their YMCA has to offer is getting a bit tiresome.

    I hope this happens soon !

    Please, please keep me posted as any new information regarding this arises.


  2. Michelle Bammel says:

    Rockdale already has a community gym, Johnhon Park gym, what additional services will a YMCA provide that the Johnson Park gym does not? Also, who funds the YMCA once it is place?

  3. Jackie Benson says:

    Thank you for your questions. If you will look at the “In the News” page on this site, you will find an article from the Rockdale News about the YMCA. Because Rockdale County has such wonderful recreation facilities and outdoor parks and playing fields, the YMCA plans, as of this date, include an indoor facility and some small playing fields for soccer at their site. As Eston Hood is quoted in the news article, the response to the surveys done in Rockdale County indicate both a high interest in membership and support for fund raising. This is not a public facility. Please come to our Open House on Thursday to find out more.
    Jackie Benson

    • Michelle Bammel says:


      Just to confirm, the facility will require membership fees and funding from other sources, such as the referenced “fund raising” to maintain operations? I’m not understanding how this will sustain a new gym with the fact that there are, as you mentioned, several recreational and gym facilities in the area already, to include RYSA. Who will have responsibility for conducting the fund raisers?

      • Jackie Benson says:

        The Metro YMCA conducts fund raising for the capital funds needed to build the facility. For the YMCAs built in Atlanta their information states that the operational costs are covered under revenue from memberships and programs. Their preliminary research found Rockdale County to be an area where the YMCA could expect to meet their goals for their capital campaign and for their projected membership numbers.

        Please let me know if this answers your question.

        Thanks for your interest.

        Jackie Benson

  4. A.J. Batiste says:

    My family would love to see a YMCA in South East Conyers. The only thing we have is Costly Mill Park and that’s private property. We could use an upscale supermarket too. There is so much potential here.

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    We're long-time land owners here in Conyers and are looking to develop our property, just south of I-20, along Iris Drive and Johnson Road.

    We've waited a long time to take this step because we believe the special nature of our property -- and of Conyers itself -- calls for something more than just everyday development. Something that, instead, celebrates the land's natural features and maximizes our opportunities to provide new, market-responsive choices for Conyers.

    Our approach is simple: What's good for Conyers is good for us. We thrive together.

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