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Wilmerding YMCA to Close in August

By Jason Togyer
The Tube City Almanac
July 10, 2018
Posted in: McKeesport and Region News

The Wilmerding YMCA was expanded in 2006 at a cost of $750,000. The renovations, designed by Penner & Associates architects, added a two-story wellness center and family locker room and reconfigured the existing lobby and administrative area. (Photo copyright Penner & Associates.)

The YMCA in Wilmerding will close Aug. 31, a spokeswoman for the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh has announced.

The closure of the facility on Ice Plant Hill Road is related to the Greater Pittsburgh Y's reorganization in federal bankruptcy court. The bankruptcy proceedings began May 8.

More than 1,100 Y members will be affected, along with six full-time employees and 70 part-time employees.

The Wilmerding Y was the last remaining facility in the Mon-Yough area, absorbing memberships of people who had belonged to the McKeesport YMCA. Closing the facility will save the Greater Pittsburgh Y about $163,000 per year.

“Today is a bittersweet day because it means we are able to move forward now that our formal reorganization is complete," said Kevin Bolding, president and CEO of the Greater Pittsburgh YMCA. "However, it also means we have had to make very difficult decisions that impact communities we care deeply about.”

In 2010, the Greater Pittsburgh YMCA took over the McKeesport YMCA. The former McKeesport YMCA building on Sinclair Street was closed. It has since been extensively renovated by ACTION-Housing and now provides apartments for low-income people in danger of homelessness.

Following the closure of the Sinclair Street facility, the Greater Pittsburgh YMCA opened a so-called "express branch" on Evans Avenue next to UPMC McKeesport hospital, offering fitness classes and workout equipment.

But the McKeesport branch closed, without fanfare, about two years ago.

The Wilmerding Y was renovated in 2006, when a 3,000-square-foot glass-enclosed "wellness center" was added at a cost of $750,000.

In addition to Wilmerding, also closing are the Penn Hills YMCA and the Western Area YMCA, located in Moon Twp., near Coraopolis, the Greater Pittsburgh YMCA announced in a prepared statement.

The Moon Twp. branch had already suspended operations after being damaged in a flash flood. A branch in Delmont, Westmoreland County, has also closed, along with a fitness center in the former G.C. Murphy Co. store in Market Square, Pittsburgh.

The Greater Pittsburgh YMCA is a non-profit, charitable organization and is one of more than 2,000 local YMCAs affiliated with the Young Men's Christian Association of the United States.

In its May bankruptcy filing, the Greater Pittsburgh YMCA reported it was running an annual deficit of approximately $1 million. It listed liabilities of between $10 million and $50 million, and assets ranging from $50 mil­lion to $100 mil­lion.

“Throughout its 164-year history, the Y has made difficult decisions and has always done so with the community’s needs as its highest priority,” Bolding said. “With these changes, we are a more financially secure and mission-focused organization, with resources concentrated on a more sustainable physical footprint and dedicated to our core values: closing the achievement gap, eliminating health disparities and providing aid to financially struggling families.”  

The future of the Wilmerding facility is unclear but it will be sold, along with other closed YMCAs, the organization said in its release.

"While these physical locations will close, the YMCA has already had initial conversations with various partners to address the critical needs of each community impacted by these decisions," the YMCA spokeswoman said.

Summer camp and childcare will continue uninterrupted at all locations, including Wilmerding, until Aug. 31.

The YMCA is working with organizations in each community to find ways "that will allow us to deliver programming even after the buildings close," the spokeswoman said.

Members of the Wilmerding YMCA will make their last membership payments in August, the YMCA said. If they normally pay on Aug. 15, their monthly payment will be cut in half.

All Wilmerding Y members will receive an additional three months of free membership to allow for time to try out and switch to another YMCA location. If they don't transfer to another location, their membership will be automatically discontinued on Nov. 30.

Members of the Silver Sneakers and Silver&Fit clubs at Wilmerding will need to contact their insurance carriers, the Y spokeswoman said.

Members who have paid for an annual membership will be contacted by the Greater Pittsburgh YMCA. People who have paid for group swim lessons or other classes at the Wilmerding Y will continue to receive those lessons through Aug. 31.

Originally published July 10, 2018.

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