Joint effort needed to save YMCA, says warden

Darrell
Darrell Cole
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AMHERST - Amherst's participation in any effort to save the Cumberland YMCA is vital to any involvement by the Municipality of Cumberland in saving the facility, says the county warden.

AMHERST - Amherst's participation in any effort to save the Cumberland YMCA is vital to any involvement by the Municipality of Cumberland in saving the facility, says the county warden.

Responding to the financial crisis at the YMCA and its $200,000 operating deficit, Keith Hunter said the county would consider providing additional assistance to the facility if the town got on board and if it developed an operating plan that makes it a viable facility.

"We're not simply going to continue pouring money into that facility to cover its operational costs. It has to be a viable operation," Keith Hunter said. "We can't continue spending good money after bad because that money is taxpayers' money."

Hunter, who was part of the YMCA's reorganization committee when the facility first closed just over a decade ago, and officials from Amherst met Thursday to discuss the YMCA but the warden would not comment on the result of that meeting.

While the YMCA's future would not impact the county as much as it would the town, although there is YMCA programming in several county communities, the warden said he doesn't want to see the facility closed because it does serve a purpose for both the town and the county.

If the town opts against providing additional funding to the YMCA, Hunter doubted whether the county would be able to support the facility on its own.

"It's something we could not do without the participation of the town," he said, adding if the town comes to the table with something for the YMCA he believes a recommendation would come before county council to help as well.

The county gave the YMCA a $25,000 grant several months ago to help it through its financial crisis while it also provides some funding for other programs used by county residents.

Along with being a recreational facility, the warden feels the YMCA is important as an economic development tool to entice companies to come to the area.



dcole@amherstdaily.com

Organizations: YMCA

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