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$75,000 may put Y campaign over top

After weeks of deliberating and three visits from YMCA representatives, the three members of the Harrison County Board of Commissioners Monday night reached a consensus: they will ask the Harrison County Council to OK $75,000 in riverboat funds for the Y.
“It is easy to say it is a unanimous decision across the board to support you,” said Commissioner J.R. Eckart, whose motion to ask for the funds passed with a second from James Goldman.
“You have stated the cause most eloquently,” commission chair Terry L. Miller told Corydon attorney John Evans, who voluntarily represents the Y’s cause. “More people have contacted me on the YMCA, both pro and con, than on the jail, the riverboat and probably the animal shelter — people I respect on both sides.
“I would give it my support,” he said, just minutes before the vote was taken.
If approved by the council, the $75,000 will likely put the Y over the top of its $300,000 “Founders Campaign” goal. Initially seeking $100,000, the Y folks had scaled back their request to $30,000. The lower amount was requested in letters to the commissioners, after recent fund-raising had exceeded expectations, said Catherine Turcotte, president of the Y board.
Once the request was approved in excess, she said: “I want to thank you for caring so much about this project and what it will do for the community.”
Without the award, the Y had reached $221,000 toward the $300,000, important because that’s the amount the Harrison County Community Foundation will match with an endowment.
But $30,000 of the $221,000 represents a restricted contribution, which doesn’t qualify for the matching funds.
That’s one of the reasons Goldman said he decided to grant more than the $30,000 request.
And, he said, the project has received unprecedented public support. “I have only heard one negative comment, period,” he said after the meeting. “I talked to a lot of people, and everyone supported the Y.”
Goldman said earlier his initial concern was that the Y is a private group.
“I questioned if the county government should be putting money in a private organization,” he said. “I really wrestled with it for a long time.
“Then I realized that everyone would have an opportunity to be a member, and that creates a different scenario.
“I think it will enhance the community and make it what we want it to be,” Goldman said. “It will bring everybody up to a new level.”
Miller pointed out that the YMCA program would benefit many more Harrison Countians than others that have required larger financing.
The commissioners can’t actually grant the money. They will ask the county council, the fiscal body, to appropriate the money from riverboat funds, either out of the human services or economic development account.
The process will probably take longer than the Foundation’s matching grant deadline of July 31, because of advertising requirements.
Steve Gilliland, executive director of the Foundation, said if that happens, the Foundation will still honor the match.
Before the decision, Evans, the attorney for the YMCA, spoke emotionally about the YMCA’s role in other communities.
He told about a woman who credits the Y with helping her recover from the devastating death of her newborn child. The story stressed how the Y caters to and includes people of all ages, races and income levels.
The Y, he said, will offer an opportunity for everyone in the community to work together, a long-range goal stressed by First Lady Judy O’Bannon in her talk in Corydon Saturday.
Turcotte said fund-raising efforts will continue. Two pending special promotions are expected to the put the Y over the top with its $300,000 Founders Campaign, but any additional amount raised will go into the building fund. The first $300,000 will be used for operating funds for the first three years, and earnings on the Foundation endowment will be used to provide Y scholarships.