The Garden City Family YMCA’s Dome facility closed to the public on Wednesday after the Garden City Commission denied the organization’s request to waive the fee to cover an outstanding building permit.

Garden City YMCA CEO Chad Knight said he expected the dome to reopen after the city’s inspection on Friday afternoon.

On June 12, the Dome’s active building permit fee expired after six months of no requested or completed city inspections. When Lee Construction, a contractor on the Dome project, requested a final inspection on July 22, the city notified him that he would have to pay half of the permit’s original fee — $2,380 — to renew it.

At the request of Knight, the city granted the Dome a temporary occupancy permit for its grand opening on July 25. Knight requested that the city waive the additional fee as a courtesy to the YMCA and the project, since the lapse had been made by mistake.

“We partnered with (the city) on this project. We partnered with the school district on this project. It’s a joint project,” Knight told the commission. “We are a charitable organization. We struggle month to month cash flow all the time for both of our branches … I’m just seeing if we can get this fee waived so we don’t have to worry about finagling that.”

Unsatisfied with the work of the original dome manufacturer, the YMCA found a replacement during the last leg of the project, bumping up project costs by $70,000. The organization has filed litigation against the original manufacturer for breach of contract, and Knight previously called the company’s work “horrid.” The permit renewal fee, if not waived, will add to the mounting unexpected expenses, Knight told the commission.

The dome is located on the Kenneth Henderson Middle School campus and will eventually be used by the school's gym classes and athletic programs for practices and games. Garden City USD 457 public information officer Roy Cessna said the school is not using the facility at the moment. The Dome opened to the public on July 25.

Though agreeing with Knight that contractors carry out the renewal process and showing sympathy for the YMCA’s predicament, commissioners were wary to grant the waiver, citing a possible precedent it may set for future projects by future contractors working with the city.

The commission denied the request 3-1, with Byrnes and Commissioners Troy Unruh and Shannon Dick voting in favor of a motion to not waive the fee and Mayor Dan Fankhauser voting against it. Cessna, who is also a commissioner, recused himself from the vote.

Under the assumption that the temporary occupancy permit allowed the Dome to operate until a permanent certificate of occupancy could be claimed, the Dome has been open to the public since July 25. City manager clarified for Knight that temporary permit only granted the public access to the Dome during the grand opening, and it should not have been open past the grand opening.

“I would recommend you stop that,” Allen told Knight at the commission meeting, referring to public programming at the Dome. “It hasn’t been finalized. It’s a project under construction.”

Knight said the Dome closed Wednesday, the day following the commission meeting, and hoped to open after the city’s inspection at 3 p.m. Friday.

Following the commission meeting, the YMCA and USD 457 agreed to temporary certificate of occupancy that would allow the Dome to reopen to the public until Oct. 15, provided it passed its Friday inspection, Allen said in an email. The YMCA has until the October deadline to fix lingering issues lodged by the school district, namely adjustments to the concrete sidewalk leading to the Dome.

Knight said he hopes that the YMCA had already began working on the sidewalks and hoped to complete the project long before the deadline.

If the remaining issues pass city inspections and both the City of Garden City and USD 457 sign off on the facility, the dome will get its full certificate of occupancy, Allen said.

In other business:

In response to the fire at Tyson Fresh Meats plant in Holcomb, where many Garden City residents work, the commission passed a resolution declaring that a financial emergency does not presently exist for the City of Garden City. All full-time workers at Tyson will be paid their normal pay for 40 hours a week until production at the plant resumes.
At the request of residents of Garden Spot Rental Apartments and members of a mosque near the complex, the commission approved the installation of a crosswalk with flashing lights across Mary Street. The crosswalk will allow members of the mosque to cross the street safely. Material costs will be paid for by the mosque or a grant, as is precedent with other crosswalks requested by places of worship, city staff said.
In a split vote, the commission denied a request for locals to shoot off fireworks at a wedding at the Clarion Inn, largely out of concern for setting a precedent for future weddings and community events. Cessna, Byrnes and Dick voted in favor of a motion to deny the request, and Fankhauser and Unruh voted against it.


Contact Amber Friend at