I read the recent article in the KJ about why the Kennebec Valley YMCA is closing its Manchester Campus with dismay. It was a weak and disappointing explanation by the leadership, at best! (“Kennebec Valley YMCA to close Manchester campus due to declining membership,” Aug. 31)

Like many current members, I have gone there for decades. For years I paid more for membership than most other gyms in the area because of convenience, openness, equipment and the culture established by Bob Cumler many years ago.

Then COVID and yes with shutdowns and fewer hours open, attendance dwindled.

But here is where I take exception to the explanation. Even after the brunt of COVID, the hours open have not returned to pre-COVID. Only two afternoons a week is not a real gym experience for the working population, and if they try to make it work, it’s rush mode.

Moreover, the “Y” has literally done nothing else that I know of to try to recapture previous members or attract new members. Simply put, the facility has not returned to being user friendly to so many people in the area! Just ask my daughter and son-in-law, who chose to go to another facility.

I cannot help but wonder if this was the master plan from the beginning: do nothing so we can close the facility. Hard to accept since the “Y” is a non-profit, non-taxable, service-oriented organization that receives all kinds of funds from other organizations like United Way and other donors. Which brings up another point: Were the operating expenses that much more than revenues or was it more a matter of profits not being high enough?


Don Sweeney


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