LEWISTON — The city appears to have reached a deal to hand over its popular gymnastics program to the Auburn-Lewiston YMCA.

The city of Lewiston would lease its equipment and space in the Lewiston Armory for $1 a year, and the Y would do the rest.

Councilors will vote on the proposal Tuesday.

Steven Wallace, YMCA’s chief executive officer, said the contract would cover two years and fees would remain the same as they are today.

Coaches would become Y employees and the parents’ booster club would stay in place.

There’s one change: An earlier start will allow one more class for young gymnasts.

Wallace said Thursday that it was important to step in and do this for the community.

“This is what we’re supposed to be doing,” he said. “For us, it’s not about making a profit; it’s about how do we continue this program and make this program better? Since I’ve got, obviously, more staff than the city — more coaches, more volunteers — that makes it easier for me to run the program than it does the city.”

The program involves 280 children and five eight-week sessions per year. Lewiston runs it through the Recreation Department. Two weeks ago, city officials warned that it might have to close the program due to tightening budgets.

Deputy City Administrator Phil Nadeau said he was optimistic that councilors would agree next week to the new contract, which addresses concerns from councilors, parents and coaches.

The gymnastics program takes in an average $27,500 a year and has direct expenses of $16,500, Nadeau said, but that doesn’t account for indirect costs such as insurance and increasing liability concerns for the people who set up and take down the equipment.

“The YMCA is in this business — they’re equipped, they’re trained, they’re prepared, this is what they do,” Nadeau said. “I really didn’t foresee this kind of result. I was optimistic that something was going to get done, but I didn’t really begin to imagine that we would have an organization like the Y involved in this. I think we’re very fortunate.”

A meeting is tentatively planned for next week, after the vote, for parents to ask questions and to open registrations for the next session on Sept. 9.

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