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Community members, mayor express support to save YMCA

After YMCA staff announced the closure of the building set for Oct. 1, concerned community members and the city mayor are looking at ways to keep the doors open.

Posted: Sep 13, 2020 1:44 AM

(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) Concerned community members are speaking out after the announcement of the upcoming closure of the downtown YMCA.

Late last month, YMCA board members made the decision to close the building effective Oct. 1st, those who  benefit from the YMCA's services want to do whatever they can to keep the doors open.

"It really should be a community effort to preserve it," Linda Lateroute, YMCA member said.   

St. Joseph mayor Bill McMurray has also expressed his support for preserving the downtown Y, he said he wants to establish a committee to look into those efforts.

Community members have already started looking at potential solutions, they say the YMCA is located in an opportunity zone, something they're hoping will work in it's favor.

The fact that its in the opportunity zone makes it eligible for setting up a finance package that would draw outside capital."

They're hoping that funding will make much needed renovations possible for the downtown YMCA. The building, which replaced an older facility is now showing it's own age, necessary upgrades won't be cheap.

It's going to take a lot of money, it's not something that's going to be a simple project.

Those concerned call the downtown Y a community staple, and they along with the mayor said they're willing to fight to keep it open. 

"If we lose this facility, we're losing something that's very valuable to this community," Lateroute said.

"If we can figure out a way to fix this, we want to." McMurray said.

The city addressed this issue at the last city council meeting.

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A cool forecast is in store for northwest Missouri and northeast Kansas this week. Fall-like weather will usher into the area Monday with highs mainly in the 60s and no hazardous weather expected through the week. The area could see its first frost Friday morning as the lows drop into the low-to-mid 30s.
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