‘Save Our Y’ working to save both Sarasota YMCAs

'Save Our Y' committee working to avoid closing its doors

SARASOTA, Fla. (WWSB) - In about a month, the Sarasota Family YMCA is expected to close its two fitness centers. Now a committee made up of volunteers is working to keep the doors open.

“We’ve all had some kind of exposure to the YMCA in our lives,” said Joy Leitner, who has been a member of the YMCA since she was kid.

Now she’s spending most of her time trying to keep its doors open through the 'Save Our Y" group.

“All of our “Save Our Y” committee are just volunteer members from the community,” she said.

The group formed once it was announced both fitness centers will be shutting their doors on September 13th.

During a press conference last month, YMCA officials say a decline in membership and lower program participation are to blame. They also said over the years, membership has gone from around 12,000 members to 6,000 members.

Now the “Save Our Y” committee is building a plan they hope members can get behind.

“Our members are cautious, they want to give us money, they’re ready to help out but they want to make sure it goes to our cause,” said Leitner.

“There’s various possibilities that are out there right now,” said Marc Schaefer, who is also a volunteer, and heads the finance committee

The Sarasota Family YMCA posted an announcement on its website saying in part “A proposal has been submitted to the Sarasota Family YMCAto keep the current facilities in place…We should have more information to report to you in a couple of days.”

“What we’re hearing either there’s a decision [Monday]. I think the board has been in deliberation, but we don’t have anything else other than that. The timeline might be extended beyond [Monday]," said Schaefer.

But no matter the decision, 'Save Our Y" members say they’ll continue working to keep the YMCA in the community.

“I can’t imagine the Sarasota community, my kids, my grand kids, cannot imagine a community without a YMCA,” said Jim Purdy former COO of the Sarasota Family YMCA.

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