The W’s Future: Auction, Sale or Lease?

The “W”, the West Branch Community Center, has been closed for nearly 2 years.

And now there’s a chance it may never open again.

West Branch Township owns the facility.

It plans to auction off the “W” and its contents sometime between mid–April and early May — unless another arrangement is found first.

The township has suggested leasing the “W” to the Community Hand–UP organization for 1 year, for $18,000.

That’s enough to cover loans on the “W” the township has to pay.

Lisa Johnson of Community Hand–UP says re–opening would be feasible if it were a little bit at a time.

She says in the last 6 months or so before it most recently closed, the “W” was actually not losing any money.

It was making enough from memberships and other funding sources to cover its operating costs.

She says if it were to re-open without the use of its pool, the “W” would be sustainable in the long term.

Those operating costs would be $200,000 a year without the pool, $400,000 if the pool were open.

County board members like Debbie Pellow said tonight that they feel the matter is worth exploring further as a community service.

The county board voted to have Lisa Johnson consult Northern Initiatives for low–interest loan possibilities.

And they also voted to schedule a joint meeting with the West Branch Township Board to go over sale or lease options.

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