Since the YWCA's announcement that its warmwater therapeutic pool will close in September, patrons have expressed concern and frustration, something the organization's board of directors says it understands.
Joann Kay, president of the YWCA's board, said every measure has been taken to save the pool and it may no longer be kept open without affecting the rest of the organization's services.
"We have already kept the pool open by keeping equipment going way past its useful life," she said. "We can no longer do that without compromising the mission of the YWCA."
SUN-GAZETTE FILE PHOTO
Women work out in the warmwater pool at the YWCA during a deep water aerobics class in December 2007.
The YWCA has decided to hold a public meeting at 6 p.m. Aug. 17 at its facility at 815 W. Fourth St., Diane Glenwright, executive director said.
According to Glenwright, the only way the pool will be able to remain open is if community members can raise the $500,000 needed to repair it and commit to raising the $80,000 per year operating costs of the pool.
While the YWCA's capital campaign attempted to raise money to repair the pool, not enough money was received to meet these needs.
IF YOU GO:
WHAT: Warmwater pool closing informational meeting
WHEN: 6 p.m. Aug. 17
WHERE: YWCA , 815 W. Fourth St.
Only $1,025 was donated to repair the pool, which "falls far short" of the $500,000 needed for renovations.
Also factored into the decision to close the pool are rising utility costs, she said.
Kay said the decision to close the pool was "difficult."
Money cannot be diverted from the organization's other programs to the pool program because money is tied to each specific program, Kay said.
"You must spend the monies on the programs for which they are given," she said.
Stimulus money also may not be used for the pool, as the fund "specifically prohibits the funding of swimming pools," Kay said.
However, there is an option for YWCA patrons hoping to find another way to relax and rehabilitate using a pool.
The River Valley Regional YMCA will be working closely with the YWCA to make sure pool patrons are able to continue their water-related therapies using the pools at either the Williamsport location, 320 Elmira St., or the East Lycoming branch near Muncy.
"We want to make them feel as welcome as possible," said Dave Fagerstrom, CEO of the River Valley Regional YMCA.
While the YMCA's membership is higher than the YWCA's, Fagerstrom said no one will be turned away for being unable to pay.
"Our membership fee is more than the traditional YWCA membership, but whoever wants to come to YMCA pools, we're going to work with them to figure out what they can afford," he said.
Though the YMCA's pool is kept 4 degrees cooler than the YWCA's pool, Fagerstrom said he doesn't think that will pose a problem.
"The YMCA is just at a regular pool temperature, but we've certainly had hundreds, if not thousands, of seniors ... who have come into the YMCA, used the pool and done quite well," he said.