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Published: Friday, 2/7/2014 - Updated: 10 months ago

ONE Village asks YMCA to delay sale to academy

Toledo Public Schools might want building

BY MARK REITER
BLADE STAFF WRITER
Chere LeGrant, president of ONE Village Council, speaks during a meeting regarding the sale of the North Toledo YMCA.  She sought time for Toledo Public Schools to learn if it will receive a grant. Chere LeGrant, president of ONE Village Council, speaks during a meeting regarding the sale of the North Toledo YMCA. She sought time for Toledo Public Schools to learn if it will receive a grant.
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YMCA of Greater Toledo officials were asked Thursday night to delay selling the fitness center at 1500 N. Summit St. until April when Toledo Public Schools will learn if the district will get the local Head Start grant.

Plans for the building to be used for a charter school and the bid proposal submitted by TPS to place early-childhood and other programs for the Head Start grant there were discussed in a community meeting attended by about 25 people at the Friendly Center on North Superior Street, about a block from the YMCA.

The YMCA is under contract to sell the building, which houses its offices and the fitness center, to a school management company that runs Horizon Science Academy. The charter school wants to relocate the K-8 school in the downtown Secor Building to the YMCA.

Chere LeGrant, president of ONE Village Council, said her organization’s request asking for a delay in the sale of property is “not immoral, illegal, or unethical” and would give TPS time to get an answer about the grant it submitted to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Mark Rose, chairman of the YMCA board, said the school district has yet to make an offer on the property, and the purchase offer with the group representing Horizon Science Academy is the only one on the table.

Brad Toft, president and chief executive of the YMCA, speaks about the sale of the North Toledo YMCA on Summit Street. YMCA leaders said the offer from Horizon Science Academy is the only one on the table.  Brad Toft, president and chief executive of the YMCA, speaks about the sale of the North Toledo YMCA on Summit Street. YMCA leaders said the offer from Horizon Science Academy is the only one on the table.
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“We have not received any offer from anybody other than Horizon Academy. ... Not an offer. No money. We are talking hypothetical. We are prepared to talk when we receive a written offer,” he said.

The discussion between Mr. Rose and Ms. LeGrant followed presentations from a representative of the charter school, TPS Superintendent Romules Durant, and Amy Allen, a University of Toledo professor who assisted in the grant.

New Plan Learning, a nonprofit company affiliated with Concept Schools, a charter school management company that runs Horizon, has an option to buy the 70,000-square-foot YMCA. The school plans to convert the second and third floors into classrooms.

An application from the company for a special-use permit to operate a school was reviewed last month by the Toledo Plan Commission. The meeting with ONE Village Council was recommended by commission members after community leaders spoke against the charter school proposal. The Plan Commission is to review the application again Feb. 13.

Ms. Allen, who is a professor in early childhood, physical, and special education, said the $13 million Head Start grant submitted by TPS puts an emphasis on targeting children at birth. Creating an early-childhood hub with a health and medical clinic and social services for residents at the YMCA and the adjacent building owned by the school district is in the plan, she said.

Brad Toft, president and chief executive of the YMCA, said the board decided to put the Summit Street building on the market in 2012 because of economics and the costs needed for renovations and improvements.

Mr. Toft said the YMCA is committed to tutoring programs in the central city and partnerships with the school district, including learning centers at three elementary schools in North Toledo.

Contact Mark Reiter at: markreiter@theblade.com or 419-724-6199.



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