Copley YMCA Has Designs on Vacant Mid-City Lot

Three years after the last cars rolled out of the showroom at Pearson Ford in Mid-City, a plan to fill the empty lot, located at El Cajon Boulevard and Fairmont, has finally surfaced.

On Wednesday, April 13, Tim Barry, development representative for Copley Family YMCA, presented plans for a new facility on the 3.5-acre site to the Kensington/Talmadge Planning Group.

If built, the proposed youth and adult activities center would replace the current Mid-City YMCA on 40th Street and Landis in City Heights. According to Barry, the plans include building a 53,000-square-foot indoor facility, with a gym, exercise room, and indoor swimming pool. Surrounding the building will be an athletic field, an outdoor pool, and a "splash pad" for children. The current parking structure will remain.

The proposal might be a solution to what has been a highly disputed parcel for Mid-City communities.

Purchased by Price Charities in 2008, the site is located at the border between the Kensington/Talmadge and City Heights planning areas. During the past three years, both communities have offered different visions for the site, from upscale markets to community health centers.

While the Kensington/Talmadge Planning Group supported the project, some members raised questions about traffic, noise, and crime the project will bring and the available parking spaces it will take.

"I'm excited about this project, but I do have multiple concerns," said board member Sherry Hopwood. "I worry about parking for the residents living near the area, and I worry about the lights. Traditionally, some residents have had problems with outdoor sporting lights and noise from some facilities," Hopwood said, referring to the future installation of stadium lights at Hoover High School.

Barry responded that concerns about parking, traffic, crime, and impacts to the neighbors will be addressed as the project develops.

Meanwhile, representatives from the Copley Family YMCA will continue searching for funding and will meet with Mayor Sanders and council representative Todd Gloria before the permitting process begins.

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