In Favor of the Multi-Generational Community Center
Letter to the editor
Simply sylvania Ohio news

Many of the Sylvania Community have expressed concerns about the levy for the Multi-generational community center, especially after the YMCA Director’s Brad Toft’s unusual outspoken opposition. 

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It is perplexing to me that a person that is not part of our community can create such a political upheaval because he’d like to expand his YMCA program. When I moved here over twenty years ago, I was immensely impressed with the sense of community that Sylvania offered my young family. Our community has seemed to always value the needs of others and provide opportunities for all. When we initiated the non-profit Sylvania STEM Center ten years ago, Sylvania not only embraced STEM programming for our youth, but became mentors and/or volunteered 100’s of hours of their time to give our children wonderful experiences.

When we read about the negative and somewhat hostile approach from the YMCA when it came to Issue 11, we decided to do a little research about the talks between SAJRD and YMCA.
Here are the facts:

The turning point from the Fall 2019 conversation between the YMCA and SAJRD was when YMCA brought in a list of non-negotiables:

* YMCA would retain ownership of the property but would consider a long-term lease.
* YMCA would retain membership, management, and accounting responsibilities within the facility.
* The facility must remain YMCA/JCC.
* The YMCA would retain oversight of the Silver Sneakers program.
* YMCA would retain management of all wellness programs, childcare and specialty swim classes
These non-negotiables are quite significant for our community.

SAJRD is a joint recreation district that supports Centennial Terrace, Sylvania Recreation, Pacesetter, Plummer Pool, Tam O’Shanter, and Veterans Memorial Park. 
Why would SAJRD agree to any of the above non-negotiables?

What has happened after the breakdown in talks? 

SAJRD, the Sylvania Arts and the Sylvania STEM Center pursued a mutual interest in finding synergies in their operations as well as improving facilities for all.

The Sylvania STEM Center wrote a grant to see if three Sylvania Nonprofits could collaborate and work together to provide even more opportunities for the Sylvania Community.  A private consultant facilitated this bridge of the three entities, tying the Sylvania Arts, Sylvania Recreation, and Sylvania STEM Center together.

These three entities represent some of the best of Sylvania's community resources. Together, they present unparalleled opportunities for all ages and interests.

Crystal Burnworth
Sylvania STEM Board of Directors
Founder of SSC

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Additional Resources:

Further reading:

Stem Center Aligns with Sylvania Recreation,  Sylvania Arts 

YMCA announces $10 Million Sylvania YMCA/JCC Facility Expansion

The Blade 10/3/21 article "Partnership talks break down..." by Kate Snyder.

Sylvania area citizens opposing issue 11 official website:


Town Hall on Oct. 18th for Issue #11 - Imagine, Create, PlaySylvania!


The Committee for Sylvania Recreation Issue 11 "Vote Yes" official website:

Visit the YMCA official website:

Follow the Sylvania JCC/YMCA on Facebook:

Visit Sylvania Rec's official website for the Sylvania Area Joint Recreation District (SAJRD) expansion plan:

View the full Sylvania Rec Master Plan

Click to view full SAJRD document

View the summary of the Sylvania Rec Master Plan for expansion:

Click to view SAJRD document