The Kennebec Valley YMCA has announced it will close its facility at 40 Granite Hill Road in Manchester in September. CEO Ranae L’Italien says a decline in membership drove the decision. Andy Molloy/Kennebec Journal

MANCHESTER — A decrease in membership at the Kennebec Valley YMCA has prompted the organization to announce it will close its Manchester campus next month.

The facility at 40 Granite Hill Road, which includes a weight room, indoor track, early childhood center and library, is scheduled to close Sept. 30, according to officials.

Members will continue to have access to the YMCA’s larger facility at  31 Union St. in Augusta, which is 5.5 miles away, or about an 11-minute drive.

The decision to close the Manchester location comes after the organization lost more than 60% of its members, a decrease that CEO Ranae L’Italien said began after the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, when gyms across the country were forced to reduce operations or close to limit the spread of the virus.

“We are slowly moving those numbers back up,” L’Italien said, “but are still at lower membership rates than pre-pandemic times, and usage at the Manchester facility continues to be low. There are simply not enough financial resources to sustain operations at both facilities.”

It is unclear how many people will be affected by the change because the organization does not track how many of its members use the Manchester facility, according to L’Italien.


The cost of an annual membership ranges from $378 for a person 65 or older to $540 for adults between ages 24 and 64.

L’Italien said the Kennebec Valley YMCA’s board of directors researched and discussed the issue for months and did not make the decision lightly.

“The past eight months have been spent collecting information for task force meetings, board meetings and consultation with (the YMCA of the USA),” she said. “We realized we do not have enough financial resources to sustain operations at both facilities and continue to be able to fully respond to the needs of our community.”

The 18,000-square-foot Manchester campus is now owned by the Kennebec Valley YMCA and one of the several locations in central Maine where MaineGeneral Health provides outpatient occupational therapy, physical therapy and sports medicine services.

“MaineGeneral has been a wonderful partner and will continue to rent their space after the facility is closed,” said L’Italien, adding that when the building is sold, MaineGeneral will need to negotiate a new contract with the buyer.

A spokesperson for MaineGeneral Health said the organization is not expecting any changes as result of the upcoming YMCA closure in Manchester.


“We will remain in our area of the building and continue with all of our current services,” said Nicole O. McSweeney, the health care system’s chief marketing and philanthropy officer.

Four Kennebec Valley YMCA employees consistently work at the Manchester location, and L’Italien said they have all been offered the same or similar positions at the Augusta campus.

“No one will be losing their job,” she said.

Likewise, the six to eight classes offered regularly at the Manchester facility will be moved to the Augusta campus. L’Italien said YMCA officials are working with Kennebec Valley YMCA members who frequent the Manchester campus to transition them to Augusta.

“The instructors they know and love will continue to run the same classes at the Augusta campus,” L’Italien said, “and will guide members through an equipment orientation in Augusta to ease the transition.”

L’Italien said she expects there will be few, if any, gaps in services.

Before the Manchester campus was established, the building housed the Run For Your Life fitness center. The Kennebec Valley YMCA bought the building in December 2000 and officially opened the Manchester campus in 2001.

L’Italien said the Kennebec Valley YMCA, established in 1914, has adapted and changed over the years, and the closure in Manchester is another example of the YMCA’s continued evolution.

“We understand that this change has a great impact on some of our members,” she said, “but be assured that the Y is closing one door to keep others open, as we remain fully committed to serving the Kennebec Valley community.”

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