How can we bring a YMCA into the Hackettstown area?

I would love to see a recreation community center in the area. I could envision it being a community center for all ages. Hosting senior programs during the morning and early afternoon and then programming for our teens/young adults/adults in the afternoon and evenings. Does anyone know if Hackettstown has ever attempted to bring one into the area in the past? Thank you for any information!

Goodvibes Goodvibes
February 5th

thats a great idea!

Its a tough go to do amything beyond our private workout centers. Couldn’t keep the Centenary pool open when it supported lots of school teams and neighborhood use.

The year round indoor pool is a tragic loss.

Strangerdanger Strangerdanger
February 5th

Do a Forum search. Contact both the Y and the BID for the number of times it has been explored. I think you would have to have a lot of subscriptions paid in advance to be able to show the Y (or anyone else) before they would have any interest. With the glut of sports options, gyms, and rehab centers, there's a lot of competition and a fair amount of ones out of business.

Our Rec director is very interested in getting a Rec center In town. The problem of course is cost. There are a few locations in town that would be great but the monthly rental they are asking for is crazy. $25k a month for some of them. To buy the building or build a new one you’re looking at a couple million dollars

As far as a YMCA they have no interest in opening another so close to Randolph.

But Y's do exists in other towns. So how do they do it?

Clyde Potts Clyde Potts
February 5th

Y’s Are private run businesses. They have to want to come to a town. Has to be profitable for them.

Maybe if towns/state prioritized such things rather than dump money into education that doesn't help (i.,e. retiree benefits)???

I remember my dad would take all us cub scouts from our den to the YMCA in Easton in the winter time so we all could swim I was good times ( thanks dad you were and still are a great dad ) he will be 91 this year

Caged Animal Caged Animal
February 5th

When I first moved to H-town ~ 20 years ago...there was a push for a Y going around. They built the one in Sussex County instead. So...not sure exactly what has to happen to make a Y sustainable here. I think the "old" A & P center would be a great option...but not sure what $$ is involved, etc. Parking is already there and large space. Pool?

I love living in HTOWN but what needs to happen is average income in this area needs to increase before we see things like YMCA or Trader Joes or any other organization become interested in establishing operations here.

I love it here but driving through the area after spending time in other parts of the state makes me realize there isn't enough surplus dollars in the area to keep the local businesses going.

Just my .02 hopefully no one is offended. :-)

friendly mcfriendly friendly mcfriendly
February 6th

Are you really comparing the YMCA to trader Joes. The YMCA is a non profit organization. While all of the reasons Jim pointed out are valid on expenses saying the issues is profit is just wrong.

Non profit doesn’t mean they are in business to lose money. So they still have to factor in if there will be enough new memberships to support the costs of building And operating a location.


JeffersonRepub JeffersonRepub
February 6th

Some great comments above! More homework is necessary (no doubt) in regards to our area's ability to support a community center (does not have to be a YMCA). I was surprised to learn very recently that one of the smaller area gyms has 850 members. Each paying an average of $25 ($21,250 per month). Not enough to support a YMCA, but it does tell me that an active fitness lifestyle is important to members of our community.

As far as the Centenary Pool and it's pending closing, I believe this is far more about the current balancing of a budget on the University's side vs. community need. I believe there is very much a real desire for an indoor pool in the area.

I guess a feasibility study would tell us more.

Goodvibes Goodvibes
February 6th

Feel free to reach out to our Rec director. Him and I are very interested in getting a Rec center in town. I’ve looked at grants with no luck. There are a few locations that would be ideal. The HMUA building in the back of Riverfront park but that building would have to be torn down and rebuilt. That would be the best spot in my opinion because they you can offer summer camp and make revenue from it. There’s a couple of other locations but the monthly rent is too high.

Need a huge donor as I don’t know how the taxpayers would feel flipping the bill for a million dollar Rec center.

Correct me if I'm wrong but doesn't Centenary pay zero taxes to our town?

Don- ur rite

February 6th

I have lived here all my life (51years) and always said that if I ever hit the lottery I would build a county rec center....I know that many people would be happy with one. Good luck!

Just Saying.... Just Saying....
February 6th

For a million dollars what are we looking at building? A building with a workout pool, kids pool (or play areas), hot tubs and sauna?

The few community pools I have been to all seem to have those features included. The last one had a small wave pool with two small water slides and a small area near the edge of the wave pool that was setup much like the Water Park area of Turkey Hill Park.

If you want to make it even more competitive, you could add a workout gym and/or ice hockey rink.

I'd love to have a place year round that we could use. Too many places are only open from June to September. There isn't much competition in the area for places to go in the Winter. I'm sure the monthly fees for use would make it worth while.

I do get that Taxpayers wouldn't like to foot the bill Jim L, but what could the city do to entice someone to build that type of facility here?

All those buildings on Bilby road...perfect spot. I will pay more in taxes!

Then when it opens and if theres a membership fee everyone is going to complain its to expensive no matter what the cost is. Im sure thats a reason alot of people dont open places cause the public begs for it then complains that its to much money. People in business are there to make a living. And the prices are only going to increase especially on a place like that when that Jerkoff Phil Murphy pushes through the $15 dollar minimum wage, they wont be able to staff the place or they will up their prices to make up for it.

Sirya, for $1mill you're not going to get all of the things on your list. You can get a section for hardwood courts for basketball and volleyball and a section of turf grass for indoor soccer/lacrosse/baseball. A couple of rooms for classes. Probably need to add another $500k to get a pool. To give you an idea, the splash park in Turkey Brook went over budget and cost $1million dollars just for that. Those community centers you've seen with all those features are north of $2million.

And that’s with no real estate or tax burden. It’s crazy expensive to build anything in Nj

yup, and that's for like a 30k-50,000sq ft Steel frame building. no real bells and whistles. The Air Dome in Mt Olive cost $2.2million

But it is paying for itself with all the rental money it is generating so it will break even in about 5 years and then be a nice revenue for the school for years and years after that.

A couple of further thoughts...

Can some of the Community Pool $ help us get such a project started?

As far as a potential location and parking - what about the area near Giant Gymnastics, looks like a "for rent" sign outside the property...?

Goodvibes Goodvibes
February 7th

Does anybody know how Forks township was able to fund their community center. The place is just incredible.

CraftBeerBob CraftBeerBob
February 7th

the old chill out on Stiger St. is up for rent, they are not looking to sell. They want $6.50/sq ft per year. So rent alone would be $243,100 per year or $20,258/mo.

Plus the place is a dump inside, they have not made any improvements since the ice rink closed up years ago and it's actually gotten worse. That is why no one has moved in. So to have to spend all that money to fix it up only to rent would not be a wise investment. if they were willing to sell it then maybe it would be worth it

trust us, we've been looking at every available spot in town.

The old Hackettstown Sports Club on Rte 57 wants $25k/month in rent. For 20,000sq ft of space.

First and foremost the community pool has to go towards maintaining the pool since that is green acres project and no local taxes are going to the pool. And that pool is getting old and repairs and upkeep are expensive. So using pool money for anything other than the pool is risky at this point.

Our area has quite a few public basketball/ volleyball / soccer/lacrosse/baseball" fields and tennis courts. There are plenty of gyms, including the ones that are open 24/7. What we don't have is a year-round pool. If afternoon/evening and weekend hours will not be restricted for kids activities only, pool will get decent crowd and income from working adults who will gladly pay membership fees for being able to swim year round and when it's convenient for them.

Jim L gave you some numbers.

Make it a private pool and put any restrictions on it that you like.
The adults can gladly pay membership fees, and it belongs to them with whatever rules they choose.
Make it 30 and up, or 40 and up or 55+.
It can be open 24 hrs if you like.
No tax dollars required, no local control over it.

dodgebaal dodgebaal
February 7th

It might be a good idea to just close the residents barely use it...only outsiders..and then maybe build a community center on that spot

I agree they should shut down the community pool do away with that green acres funding BS and build a private community pool.

But someone earlier said it, and it's spot on. This town doesn't have the affluence to support things like ice rinks and private pools, fitness clubs etc. You can skirt around all you like but it's not Randolph, Mendham or Roxbury. It's Hackettstown it has a Salvation Army store!! Where else can you find that??

Also ice rinks have failed here. We have a college that contributes zero in taxes and uses all of our services for free. What an arrangement.

So this an existing YMCA with no pool looking to expand. cost of expansion $3.9 million.. yikes. all it has now is a gymnasium, fitness and workout areas

"But someone earlier said it, and it's spot on. This town doesn't have the affluence to support things like ice rinks and private pools, fitness clubs etc"

you need league teams and clubs to sign year long commitments. There were those in town that supported places like Sports Galaxy and the Hackettstown Sports Club when they were here. The problem was newer places in Mt Olive were built and those leagues/clubs went there. A rec center opened to the public for membership and open gym rentals can work. There are leagues and clubs that will come back, if it's in the right spot that can offer summer camps to town kids. But it would cost taxpayers money.

CraftBeerBob showed the Fork Township Rec center. it's awesome, I agree. however, That center brings in $495k/ year of revenue from memberships, daily rental and league fees but it cost $750k a year to operate so taxes have to cover the difference. Is it worth it? quality of life wise absolutely, fiscal responsibility wise? That's the question. Even a nonprofit organization like YMCA is at least going to want to break even. For a town to run it's own rec center its going to need annual tax dollars to help cover the cost even with leagues, memberships and daily rental. Even if we found the money to build one, are taxpayers willing to have the rec budget increase by a few hundred thousand dollars per year? probably not.

Ah such is the life of a 3 square mile town. A topic for a different discussion is the necessary consolidation of towns across NJ. No reason Hackettstown, Mansfield and possibly Washington should be combined. So stupid to have redundant services and separate school systems. 585 municipalities in NJ. Designed to take your money and give you nothing in return. Let's face it NJ is a take the money and run State. Make your money here, then take what you can to retire somewhere else never looking back.

If you want these kind of services then you'll need to leave this 3 mile town. Otherwise be thankful you can drive to other locations to spend your money. Whether it's eating or playing I know I spend most of my money outside of Hackettstown. Great place to live I guess, but really nothing for your money.

People can't afford it! Great idea though, they want us to support local business , but we have to leave town to get what we want !

Don, Pennsylvania has over 2,500 municipalities... for about 50% more people than NJ. Slightly more than 5,000 people per municipality (ppm).

Delaware only has 57 municipalities, but they also have less than a million people. On average, they have just under 17,000 ppm.

NJ has 8.9 million in 585 for an average of 15,200 ppm. Not a huge difference.

NY has 994 municipalities for 19.5M... about 19,500 ppm.

Wyoming has 99 municipalities for less than 100,000 people... 1,000 ppm.

Texas has 1,214 for 28.7M... 15,900 ppm. Pretty much the same as ours.

Whatever the problem is in NJ, it's not being caused by having too many towns.

Good info JimL. Thank you. So if we had that identically set up it would cost Approx 250k in taxpayer dollars per year to fund. I for one would gladly pay my share for a center like that. Heck get rid of one of the superintendents and your 75% there.

CraftBeerBob CraftBeerBob
February 7th

Jim L Thanks for the information. If we wanted a pool at least, what kind of pool and building could the city get for that million was what I meant to ask. I get that everything would be more than the million, but could we get a 1/2 size Olympic pool to start with, and maybe a small hot hub (like a 10 person) and sauna (5 person) to start with, and room to build on later if it was profitable?

I can tell you that I would love to have that kind of access to a pool, even if it was only a workout pool. Our local outdoor pool costs us $200 for 4 months and is too cold to use for half of it, and closed for every crack of thunder. Not to mention we aren't allowed to use the whole thing because of new regulations requiring an extra lifeguard for the extra 10 ft of pool space.

$50 a month for a family, you will pay double at a Y...

I guess a regional approach would never work for a rec many people concerned about their tax dollars being used by other towns

Sirya I don't know what the cost of just an indoor pool facility would cost, but I can tell you that is probably not the direction we are looking in. We had that, the Centenary Pool was open to the public for free and not too many local residents took advantage of that.

An ideal Rec center in town would have space for indoor basketball/volleyball as well as turf area for indoor soccer, baseball practice, lacrosse and field hockey. Rooms for senior classes and meetings and fitness area. Basically what cradftbob showed with the Forks Township rec center. Once you add an indoor pool the cost to build and maintain go way up.

Cresskill, NJ paid $1.8mill for a gymnasium and several multi purpose rooms. in 2006. IT was financed solely by donations and grants. The town pays the annual expenses to run the community center and it is making a small profit. That would be the model to follow here.

Back in the day..a certain small town had a bucket brigade to build a Hospital

Do you know the source of the grants?

New recreational center (regional or otherwise) will never be profitable - every township in the area has plenty outdoor facilities and there are too many gyms, spas and physical therapy centers. But no one nearby has even 25-meter indoor swimming pool.

Lena, we had a free pool open to all residents. it was never used. Swim teams used it and a handful of seniors. That was it.

And rec centers can be profitable. Basketball leagues run in the winter. Soccer, baseball, lacrosse and field hockey are more and more going year round and looking for indoor space. I was down at Branchburg sports complex last Saturday night for a birthday party and there was 3 field hockey games going on inside.

I don't know what grant they got, I would guess and say it was from the Bergen county community development block grant program.

The median income for a household in Branchburg is $129,237 vs. $63,940. See the difference.

The money just doesn't live in this town to support nice things.

Also the percentage of high school and college graduates much higher than Hackettstown. Also more married people and double the property values.

There are plenty of local sports clubs and leagues in our area. not everyone is poor here Don. In Hackettstown alone you have TSA Basketball, Tiger Baseball, Craze Softball. As well as numerous indoor soccer teams in warren county. Lacrosse is getting bigger in warren county. Plus more and more adult leagues are forming.

I would vote no if it was going to raise taxes. And if it was a place that was going to charge a membership your looking at over $150 a month for a place like that...look at Lifetime Fitness its about $180 a month in a 12 month contract.

I'm very familiar with the TSA programs as I support them, and they're not free by the way. I was just pointing out the numbers. You seem to be a numbers guy. And those numbers are certainly and eye opener of what one's expectations should be in a town when they're comparing what they have or don't have with another town.

As far as the poverty line, I'm not sure how people can even survive on what the median household income for NJ is. We're double what the median is in Branchburg and still pinched by this State's greed factor. I think people have had it with $10-12K property taxes. The issue is you can probably buy a home elsewhere for about the same in taxes but you get more. I'm paying nearly $11K and don't get what I could get elsewhere.

If you are paying $12k in property taxes in Hackettstown, only $2500 of that is going to the town. The rest is going to the county and mostly the BOE.

And I wasn't comparing what Branchburg has vs us. That Branchburg sports complex is a privately owned business. not a community rec center. its a multi million dollar facility. I am just pointing out there are year round sports now more than ever that are looking for indoor space to rent. So yes this area can support a rec center with league fees and monthly memberships. (and no not $180/mo).

"I think people have had it with $10-12K property taxes. "

Which is why most homes for sale in N.J. should really sell for .30 cents on the dollar.

At that point it would make sense to purchase in NJ. Grandma left you with all of this debt, the least she could do is sell you the house at the correct price.

dodgebaal dodgebaal
February 8th

I myself enjoy the Hunterdon Wellness Center in Clinton at $65/month. 25 yard pool, therapeutic small pool with 92 degree water, jacuzzi, saunas, fitness center. Beautiful and clean locker rooms with warm showers etc. As an adult with a busy job, kids, pets and home, I use the Center and always feel like I’ve been to a spa-holiday after workouts. It’s a mere 24 minute drive through the country. To and fro.

The best part? No toddlers, kids or teens. It offers self care for the busy adult.

As if grants are funded by money trees. Where are these grants coming from. The State? The County? Would like to know more about the source. If from any government entity that it is just coming out of peoples taxes, all of which we pay into. End all of the grants and give me back my money.

Who cares where our current tax dollars go? Fact is, they go.

The area needs some sort of recreation space. We are sorely behind our comps. Just tax for it. Would rather pay taxes with some sort of value behind them.

Ultimately, a marketing study needs to be done to figure out whether we can support it. Sorry Jim, your gut isn't enough to jump in.

February 8th

Obviously a feasibility study would be needed but we aren’t at that point yet. Just looking at locations to see if there are any that would work. The Old Hackettstown Sports Club on Rt 57 is in the best shape and the closest to move In ready. But not for sale only trying to rent it. At $25k a month. If we could buy it and find donors and sponsors to flip the bill for the purchase than there would be very little impact to taxpayers for running it. If we wanted something nicer and bigger like that Forks Township one then tax money would have to go into buying and building along with annual expenses

All we are doing is looking and seeing what our options are if any. That’s it.

And yes grants ultimately come from taxpayers but they aren’t going away. So you can either apply and get those grant money for your projects or you can not apply and let those grants go to other towns.

Something like posted above, the Hunterdon Wellness Center, would be fine if someone felt like opening one up.
"Just tax for it."- not so much. There is still 100 billion plus that has not yet been paid to the retirees of NJ. That needs to be settled first.

dodgebaal dodgebaal
February 8th

Would love a bowling alley in town!

Copygirl Copygirl
February 8th

Back to the Top | View all Forum Topics

Leave a Reply

To comment on this topic, fill out the form below. If you would like to comment directly to one person, you may click on the envelope next to the posters name if they provided their email.

Re: How can we bring a YMCA into the Hackettstown area?
Name (Required)
Email (Protected)
Add Photo (Optional)
By pressing Submit Comment, you are agreeing to the terms and conditions.