Columbia County keeps trying to drag the Family Y and an indoor pool complex to the altar, only to have the wedding called off at the last minute.
But when it comes to building an aquatic center, the two might finally be close to taking the plunge.
Since 2003, county officials have been trying to work out a deal in which the Y would build and operate a facility with an indoor pool in Columbia County.
A proposal to give the Family Y 14 acres at Blanchard Woods Park sank in 2003. It resurfaced in 2006 - and belly-flopped again.
The idea of a public-private partnership came back to voters in November 2008 on the General Election ballot, with a referendum seeking funds for an indoor swimming facility that would have been operated by the Family Y. Opposition votes drowned that idea, too.
The county hasn't lost the twinkle in its eye, though, and is making a new proposal. After buying nearly 50 acres in the "Gateway" area, on Lewiston Road at Interstate 20, county officials are talking about selling or trading 10 acres to the Y for a new, full-service branch that would include an indoor pool.
The first proposal back in 2003 would have given taxpayer land to a private business; the second version would have had taxpayers building a facility and turning it over to the business to operate. But this latest concept merely helps the business buy land to make it easier to build a privately run facility.
That's the kind of deal that deserves to be consummated. It might have taken longer to get down the aisle than some folks wanted, but the resulting public-private partnership marriage will be a lot stronger as a result.
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