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Study will review Ligonier YMCA, Latrobe-Unity recreation operations

| Tuesday, March 5, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

The Ligonier Valley YMCA in Ligonier and the Latrobe-Unity Parks and Recreation Commission are joining forces for a Ligonier consultant to take a comprehensive look at their operations and possible cooperative ventures, recreation officials said.

“The study will determine if we can work together. It's like a physical exam: to see if and how we can cooperate,” said Jeanne Ashley, executive director of the regional recreation commission.

The Ligonier Valley YMCA and the commission offer some similar programs, and “we're just looking at some synergies,” said Benjamin Wright, executive director the Ligonier Valley YMCA, which has its facility in downtown Ligonier.

“We're looking at how we can collaborate with Latrobe-Unity Parks and Recreation,” Wright said. “We want to make sure that we're coordinating those efforts and feel like this is a good way to do that so that we're best serving the community together.”

The Latrobe-Unity Parks and Recreation Commission offers more than 150 programs for children, teenagers, adults and senior citizens, according to the commission's 2012 annual report.

Soccer, aquatics, dek hockey, basketball and baseball generate almost $90,000 in revenue, which is almost 50 percent of its total program revenue, according to the commission.

Wright hopes the study will identify some of its strengths and help the YMCA expand.

The Ligonier Valley YMCA is working with Excela Health, which operates hospitals in Greensburg, Mt. Pleasant and Latrobe, to enhance the health and wellness of area residents. Excela said last October that it would discuss with the Ligonier YMCA board of directors advancing programming and development in the Ligonier area.

The initiative to study how the recreation commission might partner with the Ligonier Valley YMCA has nothing to do with the Unity Township Supervisors' decision in June 2012 to withdraw from the regional recreation commission as of Dec. 31, 2014, Ashley said.

The intergovernmental cooperation agreement among Latrobe, Unity, Youngstown and the Greater Latrobe School District is set to expire at the end of 2014. Unity officials have had disagreements with the recreation commission over funding for the organization.

Brand Mint LLC of Ligonier will conduct the study, which is designed to examine the programs, staffing and other operations of the YMCA and the regional recreation commission, Ashley said.

Brand Mint has been directed to complete a report by the end of March, so it will be available to the recreation commission board when it meets in April, Ashley said.

Skip Glenn, owner of Brand Mint, could not be reached for comment.

Ashley said she and Wright are compiling documents for the financial advisers to review.

The Latrobe Foundation is providing one-half of the $7,500 cost of the study, and the Ligonier YMCA and the Latrobe-Unity recreation program each will contribute $1,875 to pay for the remainder, Ashley said.

Both the commission board and YMCA boards have approved their share of the costs.

Joe Napsha is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. He can be reached at 724-836-5252 or