Walnut Hills YMCA members upset about double closings - Cincinnati News, FOX19-WXIX TV

Walnut Hills YMCA members upset about double closings

Posted: Updated:

"They're very upset," said YMCA fitness instructor Kathy Klodell. "So, once this closes, they're gonna have to find another Y to go to hopefully."

Dozens of Y members are going to have to find a new place to go by the end of the Summer. The YMCA of Greater Cincinnati plans to close two branches next month: The Melrose and Williams branches.

That will leave only one Y open in predominantly African-American communities in Walnut Hills.

There is battle brewing though, to keep the branches open.

Everyone we spoke with said they want both the Melrose and the Williams Y's to stay open.

These aren't just buildings, they're a part of their every day routines, a part of their lives.

The Williams Branch of the YMCA, has been a fixture at the corner of Ashland and McMillian for decades, soon to be shut-down

"We've heard the rumors about it for awhile," Klodell said. "Because I think that enrollment has declined."

"I remember it was here when I was a little girl," said part time YMCA worker Marie Gray, who will soon be out of work, from a place that feels like home.

"From all the members I've talked to, I mean, it's really important to them," Gray said. "They basically have been out here all of their lives, got kids that come in and play in the gym, play basketball."

"I was kind of mad," said Antonio Webb. "We wanted to come and play basketball and stuff, this keeps us out of trouble." "So where are you going to go, if you don't have this place to go to?," we asked. "Don't even know yet," he said.

"What do you think you could do to try to save this place?," we asked. "Get signatures from everybody that comes here or out on the street or something."

Out on the street is where people are worried their kids will end-up playing and getting into trouble.

"Everybody knew that it might happen," Klodell said. "But we didn't think that it would happen."

Klodell has been with the Y 20 years.

"You've been here so long, what's it going to be like not coming into this building to teach?," we asked.

"It's going to be very sad," she said. "I have a lot of memories here."

"I work out here a lot," said Phillip Christian, whose home is just blocks away from the Y.

"But they're going to close it August 22nd," we said.

"Yeah,"he lamented. "I heard that, I just got the news of that today."

"And what'd you feel about that?," we asked. "It's gonna be bad, now I'm gonna have to go somewhere else and work out actually."

"Been working out here maybe 40-plus years," said Johnny Taylor.

At the Melrose YMCA, members services will be cut, which is sad news for Taylor, who is a lifelong resident of the neighborhood.

"It'd be a shame if they did shut it down," Taylor said.

"Mondays and Wednesdays and on Saturdays, a bunch of old timers, we come in here and play from 6 til about 8 o'clock," he laughed.

They do so, along-side students like Withrow Varsity Basketball player Rozelle Nix.

"I can't believe they're gonna close this," Nix said.

"Well, we're gonna fight to keep it open to tell you the truth, what will we do? I guess we're gonna have to work out in the parking lot!," Taylor joked.

We had calls out to several YMCA officials, however, none of them were available to talk with us on-camera. They all simply were not in town.

Despite people's efforts, the YMCA Board has already voted to close Williams entirely and the gym-portion of Melrose by August 22nd. 

Copyright 2011 FOX19. All Rights Reserved.

Powered by WorldNow