Rochester YMCA to close at the end of January

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(ABC 6 News) – The Rochester, MN YMCA announced Tuesday it’s closing its facility at the end of the month, YMCA workers and the community alike say this marks a sad day for the community.

The Vice President of Operations, Mike Lavin, said the building is oversized and inefficient, and the pandemic exasperated these issues, making the cost to run the building too expensive.

While the athletic facilities will be gone, Lavin said they won’t actually be leaving the community, and will continue to run their Early Childhood Learning Center and offer outreach and youth social services.

"It’s very important to understand that we are closing the doors to this facility, but we’re not leaving the community. We’re just gonna start to meet people where they’re at," said Lavin.

The Y said all employees will be given options to continue their employment at the Learning Center or in different capacities.

The Rochester Y was widely known as an affordable option for families to exercise and participate in youth or senior programs.

"People are really just reeling a little bit today. What is an affordable option for people in the community?" asked Rochester Mayor Kim Norton.

The YMCA said it is partnering with the City of Rochester, Olmsted County Parks, University of Minnesota Rochester, and Rochester Public Schools to determine how the facility can continue to serve the community.

The Rochester YMCA issued this press release:

Thank you for your participation and community support of the Rochester Y.

Today I want to share with you an important update about your Y. The pandemic has affected the Rochester Y and other Ys across the country. Similar to organizations across the globe, our Ys need to transform in order to effectively and sustainably operate to meet the community’s needs.

Our current Rochester Y facility is oversized and operationally inefficient and has distracted from the Y’s ability to fully respond to community needs. The Y’s model of a large fitness center is evolving with a renewed focus on aligning skills, resources and programs that serve all in our community.

We have determined that to meet community needs, expand our mission, focus on providing programs and services in the Rochester community in convenient and accessible locations near you and your neighbors, we must close our Rochester Family YMCA facility. The last day the Rochester Y building will be open is January 31, 2022.

The closure of the YMCA Rochester facility does NOT affect our commitment to the Rochester community to offer innovative programs and services or our local Y child care center. The Rochester YMCA Early Childhood Learning Center remains open as a vital partner in serving families by providing care for their children and we look forward to continuing to help children learn, grow and thrive.

The Y Tots program will be moved to the YMCA Early Childhood Learning Center beginning January 19. The last day at the Y fitness and wellbeing center location is January 14 and the Y Tots program is already closed January 17 per the district calendar.

Our Future
Over the past two years, we have met with leaders from across the local area to identify gaps and how the Y can help fulfill these community needs such as family and youth camp and sustainability programs; wellbeing services; and youth social services and outreach including mentoring, homelessness prevention and more with partners including the University of Minnesota Rochester, Rochester Public Schools, Olmsted County Parks and the City of Rochester.

Exciting programs we are developing include an UnlockIt! self-guided, outdoor experience for families; outdoor summer adventures with Olmsted County; student-directed wellbeing programming at the University of Minnesota Rochester; and a partnership with Rochester schools to engage teens to gain confidence, build life skills and volunteer.

We know that to best serve our community – collaboration is vital. As we further our partnerships with the entities above, we look forward to continuing to grow opportunities to partner with organizations in our community to make a difference in people’s lives. The Y is leaving a building, not a community and is committed to Rochester and the surrounding communities. Sale proceeds will fund future Y programs in Rochester.

Your Y Membership and Program Participation
We are committed to helping you with your wellbeing needs and want to provide options for your membership including:

Continue your Y membership and visit any YMCA in the State of Minnesota or the country; or Convert your Y membership into a virtual Y membership where you will have access to a robust library of wellbeing and fitness resources and classes.

Important note: No membership fees will be due for the month of January.

Celebration of the History of the Y Facility
To honor the history and legacy of the Rochester Y facility, we will have a community celebration the weekend of January 28 through 30. More information will be shared on our website and we hope you can join us!

Thank you for your support as we continue to explore how best to serve Rochester and surrounding communities with Y programs and services. Your Y is committed to meet you and your neighbors where they are in convenient locations and be responsive to changing needs by being accessible and available for the community to get help, support and care.

If you have any questions about Rochester, please call 612-230-9622.

Best regards,

Glen Gunderson
YMCA of the North