Town yet to make decision regarding YMCA

Darrell
Darrell Cole
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AMHERST - Amherst is well aware of the financial problems faced by the Cumberland YMCA but is not yet ready to say whether it's prepared to pour more money into the cash-strapped organization.

AMHERST - Amherst is well aware of the financial problems faced by the Cumberland YMCA but is not yet ready to say whether it's prepared to pour more money into the cash-strapped organization.

"We're aware of the situation there and have had preliminary discussions with them, but it's much too early to say what the town's going to do," town manager Greg Herrett said.

YMCA officials recently went public about the organization's financial situation saying they are taking drastic measures to deal with a $200,000 debt and keep the community centre operating.

The YMCA board has been taking steps since last October to deal with the debt and the centre was visited by a regional review team earlier this week to discuss changes that can be made to bring finances under control and operate the facility in a profitable manner.

Herrett said YMCA officials have discussed their situation with the town but added the discussions to date have been on an in camera basis.

The town already provides about $60,000 to the YMCA annually in direct programs and in-kind services such as snow and garbage removal. Included in this amount is the town's summer swim program that replaced the old pool at Dickey Park several years ago.

As part of its restructuring effort the YMCA is holding discussions with major stakeholders including the town and the Municipality of Cumberland as well as with the Y's Men, the Amherst Rotary Club and the Amherst Lions Club.

This is not the first time the YMCA has found itself in financial trouble. The building, that first opened in 1989, was closed for 18 months in the mid-1990s after running into serious financial difficulties.



dcole@amherstdaily.com

Organizations: YMCA, YMCA board, Amherst Rotary Club Amherst Lions Club

Geographic location: Dickey Park, Cumberland

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Recent comments

  • holly
    January 18, 2010 - 11:13

    I too ,would like to echoe the sentiments of the others! My mother is an Amherst native. Amherst definitely needs a centre of recreation, with the children and youths in mind. Because If, as a community ; Amherstonians ,cannot work together then the YMCA's economic shortfall will not be the only problem(i.e. vandalism,shoplifting and robbery. )

  • Janet
    January 18, 2010 - 11:12

    It's such a sad day for all of us that the Y may close! In the last year it has provided a wonderful opportunity for our family to participate in a much healthier lifestyle.
    They (Y staff) made it affordable for us to have a Family Membership which we use continually!! Without their fabulous support we would be like many others in this town...out of shape,out of touch and out of luck!!!
    All a person has to do is look around this community to see that more should be done in getting Memberships into the hands of more families. A basic level of fitness is vital for members of ANY population...or we're ALL in trouble!
    I urge all residents of Amherst to dig deep and keep our Y alive....for everyone!

  • shane
    January 18, 2010 - 11:11

    I have used the YMCA all my live, I went there everyday after school with childcare when I was in elementary and I know how to swim because of the YMCA swimming lesson program. I now work at the YMCA as a lifeguard and swim instructor and I am also on the swim team, so if something happens to the YMCA I will be out of a job and out of the only sport I do in the winter.

  • John
    January 18, 2010 - 10:52

    The Town of Amherst professes a commitment to economic development, with some success. Central to creating an attractive environment for new and existing industries are strong recreational facilities for the personal well-being and development of the people who work in these industries. The YMCA provides a broad range of programs and services, more so than the Stadium which is the recent recipient of the Town's largesse. I feel the Town should recognize that the YMCA is an essential part of the core infrastructure of the Town and do its utmost to ensure its survival. This does not relieve the YMCA from its obligation to provide attractive and effective programs to boost membership, to secure mutually beneficial corporate partnerships, and to find other sources of funding. It also does not relieve the obligation of the citizens of the area to show their support. Almost everyone would agree, I think, that the YMCA is good for the Town but fewer actually support it. If the YMCA were to close, it would be a setback to this area that would make it difficult to show that we are a vital, pro-active community. It would be a shame to squander the vision, time and investment that led to the YMCA facility we have. It is up to all of us to save the YMCA and it is up to the Town to ensure it happens.

  • John
    January 18, 2010 - 10:35

    I would like to start by saying that I am one of many volunteers who give back to the community of Cumberland County via the YMCA. I grew up in Amherst and have many enjoyable memories from the Y. I find it astonishing that Amherst states it has Faith in it's people , yet will consider removing services? Amherst should be a leader in the County as Truro is in Colchester and New Glasgow is in Pictou. A town can only be as good as it's people, and it's people need to be helped by the town.

  • Lisa
    January 18, 2010 - 10:28

    I am sad to see that once again the YMCA is experiencing difficulty. My oldest son is in the YMCA pool 5-6 times per week with the swim team. This time has given him self esteem, the experience of being part of a team, friendship, kept him physically active, and given him a positive place to be after school. Without the YMCA and the pool, this experience would be lost for him and many others. The town supports hockey, ball fields, etc... yet seems to fail to recognize the importance of the YMCA. There seems to be lots of money for a new stadium and making life easier for those who play hockey, but what about those who are in other sports or activities? It will be a terrible loss to the town if this facility closes.