Board committee recommends city land swap for new YMCA site

It’s one down, two to go on the potential site for a new YMCA facility.

Last week, the board of aldermen’s planning and economic development committee voted to recommend a resolution that would have the city trade swaths of land off Riverside Street with Pratt Homes and then lease a parcel to the YMCA.

When the resolution was presented to the aldermen Dec. 9, the board chairman referred the legislation to the planning and economic development and infrastructure committees and the city planning board.

Planning and economic development was the first of the three panels to act, voting unanimously to recommend passage to the full board of aldermen.

Infrastructure and city planning haven’t yet taken up the proposal.

Alderman-at-Large Brian McCarthy, who chairs planning and economic development, said the swap would give the Pratt Foundation 1.25 acres more, suitable to expand its housing for elderly and disabled residents.

Meanwhile, the city would receive a .58-acre parcel that would create a city-owned triangle near Stellos Stadium that would be suitable for a new Y, creating a sports campus off Exit 5 of the F.E. Everett Turnpike in the process, McCarthy noted.

The Conway Ice Arena is located nearby.

YMCA officials announced this fall that they would sell the current facility at 17 Prospect St. to Southern New Hampshire Medical Center for $4.5 million. The hospital plans to convert the building to medical office space.

While the closing isn’t until August, the sale means the YMCA will have no facility in the city from next summer until a new one opens in 2010. It has invited members to use the facility in Merrimack.