The long-talked-about concept of a shared parking lot for the Brainerd Family YMCA and the Brainerd School District is just too good of an idea to pass up. Supporters of the idea will seek approval from the Brainerd City Council at its July 20 meeting and from the Brainerd School Board at Monday's meeting.
The site would combine existing YMCA parking with private properties that have been acquired or will be acquired by either the school district or the YMCA. The new, expanded lot would serve both the 'Y' and Washington Educational Services Building.
In the interest of full disclosure we'll share that a member of the Brainerd Dispatch's editorial board is also a member of the Brainerd Family YMCA Board.
Where it's practical, shared services and facilities between government and private organizations is the best way to eliminate unnecessary duplication of efforts. If the shared parking lot concept becomes a reality the school district would not need to pave over the former Washington school's ballfields, located about a block of southeast of the school.
Demand for parking spots for the YMCA and Washington Educational Services Building are often at different times of the day and a pooling of the two entities' parking resources makes good sense in the long run even if both organizations will have to spend a bit more money up front.
The possibility of more YMCA parking will allow that organization to one day expand its building to meet the expected demand as it grows in the future.
The school district already owns two lots and one property between the YMCA and Washington. The YMCA also owns property on the block. This joint plan would allow the district and the YMCA to make use of those investments and preserve green space in a residential neighborhood.
The Brainerd City Council and Brainerd School Board should seriously consider the joint parking lot proposal.
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