YMCA Committee Hears Results of Feasibility Study

Almost 50 percent of those asked would be very interested in using a YMCA if such a facility came to Queen Anne’s County, according to the results of a recent feasibility study.

The study was presented to Queen Anne’s County YMCA Visioning Committee at the group’s meeting in March. The Visioning Committee was formed last fall to address the needs of the community and begin fund-raising for such a facility.

The study was conducted by Triangle 2 Research and Development Group, a consulting firm that works primarily with non-profit organizations and specializes in health and recreation organizations like YMCAs. The study was commissioned by the YMCA Visioning Committee and the YMCA of Talbot County. John Perdue of Triangle 2 presented the results of the study to the committee.

The main purposes of the study were to determine the feasibility of a YMCA for the county and to answer several questions regarding demographics, exercise habits, facility location and how cost would affect the use of such a facility. A random group of 505 people were selected and interviewed by telephone. The majority of the respondents, about 28 percent, live in Stevensville; 17 percent in Chester; 14.5 percent in Centreville; 13 percent in Grasonville, 12 percent in Queenstown and the remaining 15 percent scattered across the county.

According to the study, indoor and outdoor swimming facilities and exercise facilities with cardio equipment and strength training equipment were the strongest motivations to join a facility like a YMCA. Family memberships would comprise more than half of those who responded and, while Centreville appears to be a good central location for two-thirds of the respondents, about 17 percent said Centreville is very inconvenient.

The research group’s final recommendations for the committee included cautiously moving forward with the project and keeping membership costs at the lowest level possible in order to bring in as many people as possible.

In 2009 Queen Anne’s County purchased land across from Queen Anne’s County High School in Centreville and future plans call for a YMCA and a county complex to be built on the site. County Commissioner Paul Gunther and members of the Visioning Committee recently testified in front of the Maryland General Assembly in support of House Bill 1116, which would authorize $3 million for design and construction of the facility.

The complete study will be presented to the public at the Queen Anne’s County Commissioners on April 13.