The Berlin Town Council made the right decision this week, when members agreed to pursue a broader survey of the community’s needs and wants instead of financing one that focuses solely on whether a new YMCA is a good fit for the town.
Earlier this year, we endorsed the idea of a YMCA study — and still believe having a “Y” at the Berlin Falls park would be a major leap forward in the town’s continuing transformation — but the town’s decision is basic common sense.
Building a facility of the scale of the Lower Shore YMCA in Pocomoke would cost millions of dollars, a significant portion of which would have to come from area citizens. That might also include, as YMCA’s survey partner, Triangle2, suggests in its standard questions, local tax dollars.
Considering the scope of the undertaking and the time YMCA advocates would have to devote to building public support, it makes sense to ask citizens not simply whether they want a “Y,” but whether they see other needs that are more critical to the town’ well-being.
A more comprehensive survey of the sort the town wants to see conducted would specify what needs the public has identified, while a Triangle2 YMCA poll would be restricted to determining the degree of support for that one project.
The $20,000 price tag of the Triangle2 effort is not the sticking point. Neither should anyone believe that Triangle2’s ties to the YMCA could influence its findings, because the YMCA certainly isn’t going to make a move unless the numbers and statistics work for it and the community.
The situation, rather, is if the town and residents are prepared to make bold moves, the first thing to do is identify what moves they might be. If establishing a YMCA tops the list, Triangle2 will still be there to see if that would work.