Major Health Partners has support from the Shelby County Council and the Blue River Community Foundation and is awaiting one final vote of confidence before moving forward with bringing a YMCA facility to Shelbyville.

The support of the Shelbyville City Council could come as soon as Feb. 4 at its next regularly-scheduled meeting. On the agenda will be the approval of a $1.575 million dollar payment plan to fund an indoor swimming pool that will be part of an $18 million project created by Major Health Partners (MHP) to build a community wellness center and YMCA along State Road 9 on the eastern portion of Intelliplex Park.

The proposed two-story wellness center, YMCA and pool will encompass 63,000 square feet and could stand as the cornerstone for economic development on the north side of Shelbyville.

“MHP is expanding our role in improving the general health of the community,” said Major Health Partners CEO Jack Horner. “We are expanding our services from just treating disease to prevention and general wellness.

“Traditionally, it’s been the responsibility of health care systems to treat disease ... you get sick, we take care of you. Now, we’re expanding that service. One of the first steps to doing that is building a wellness and community center in Intelliplex Park. The wellness center will contain programs focused around education, nutrition, wellness, prohabilitation, rehabilitation, and prevention of disease.”

Expanding into wellness services has been MHP’s plan for over five years now, according to Horner, but the goal of partnering with YMCA for a facility has been in the works for the last two years.

MHP hired FourSquare Research, Inc. in 2017 to produce a market study of Shelby County to see if a YMCA was feasible. According to the study provided to The Shelbyville News, there was “high interest” for a YMCA in Shelby County. And within that interest was the call for a warm water pool accessible year round.

MHP stepped forward with a $15 million investment into the project with the goal of including city and county officials in the deal.

“We look at these partnerships, city, county, industry and philanthropic as important components in doing this,” said Horner. 

What MHP proposed is financial support from city and county officials to cover the roughly $3 million price tag of the indoor pool. Earlier this month, the Shelby County Council approved its funding, although it did not yet have a plan in place to cover the costs. And the most recent Finance Committee meeting voted 3-0 to send the proposal on to the City Council for its consideration. 

Greg Guerrettaz, a financial consultant for both the city and county, set up a payment structure to offset the total cost of $1.575 million for each government entity.

Horner also has the support of the Blue River Foundation which has announced a $900,000 contribution – $300,000 yearly for three years – to cover the pool’s operational costs.

“The BRCF board of directors all agreed that the warm water pool offers an amenity that is not provided in this community and is very much worth pursuing,” said Amy Haacker, executive director of the Blue River Community Foundation, in an email to The Shelbyville News. “We believe in supporting health initiatives for all ages and families, and the pool, and of course the entire YMCA project offers an amenity that we know will be a great benefit to current residents, as well as, an attraction to those considering making Shelby County their home.”

MHP views the pool as being multi-functional.

“We found in the input from the community that a warm water pool was an important component, not only in recreational use but also for rehabilitation and exercise programs that can be open 12 months a year,” said Horner. 

According to design plans Horner delivered to The Shelbyville News, the natatorium housing the pool would be nearly 7,500 square feet and feature a glass component to the walls that will make the pool viewable from State Road 9.

The L-shaped wellness center will include the natatorium, gymnasium, exercise area, daycare and classrooms and will have three areas of focus.

“The center will focus on the specific areas of pediatric and early childhood development ... to reach children and make sure they are receiving what they need from nutrition to things that effect early childhood development,” explained Horner. “Second, it will focus on senior services. We will put inside the community center about 2,500 square feet which will be reserved for senior services itself and allow them to expand their services and allow us to partner more with them to help coordinate services that are offered.

“Third, it will focus on industry and the general population to help control costs in those areas with prevention and wellness, again working in that age group of working people, general health population and directly with industries to improve population health of their individuals and help control their (health care) costs.”

MHP will build the facility then lease space to the YMCA, which is not a unique arrangement according to Horner.

“There are many of these partnerships already around, not just in Indiana, but across the nation where you see health enterprises partnering with the YMCA,” he said. “They have proven programs, both in the pediatric area and across the spectrum of age that have not only been proven in a family-oriented environment but proven in improving health and the quality of life. They are a natural partner in this and can operate and provide services that are really unavailable in any other type of institution that we can have a partnership with.”

The plan also falls within the city’s Comprehensive Plan and its goal to improve quality of life, increase services to families and attract retail and residents to Shelbyville and Shelby County.

“We feel it will improve the quality of life in the community for the citizens of Shelby County and serve to improve the overall health of the community which is the core of our mission as MHP,” said Horner. “We also think it will serve as a catalyst to help spur growth and economic development in the area, especially on the north side of the community and help with the retention and recruitment of workers for the community.”

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