A reduction in hours for a local YMCA branch has many members wondering if it's not a prelude to being shut down.
The operating hours of the Melrose YMCA branch in Walnut Hills are being cut in half.
Beginning next Wednesday, the new hours will be 5 a.m. to 1 p.m., Monday through Friday. The facility will also be closed on weekends.
The Cincinnati Y Association said the move is needed to help fill a projected $300,000 budget deficit.
FOX19 spoke with a number of members who said that the Melrose branch has met and even exceeded its financial goals, but still hours and staff are being cut.
Y Association C.O.O. Stan Law negated the claim, saying, "We haven't had the increase we need to reduce the deficit."
Law said cutting hours will cut the losses.
"With all the various financial concerns we have, we can no longer continue to operate that facility, when really, it's not being utilized."
In a letter to Y members, Law said that 73% of the visits occur between the hours of 5 a.m. and 1 p.m., but board member Victoria Evans thinks it's a 'smoke screen'.
"They gave us the criteria. We met the criteria, but they would never commit to being able to say that, yes, we would be able to keep the Melrose YMCA open."
In May 2012, Y Association Executive Director, Sandy Walker, told fox19 that's just what she intended to do.
"We're working very hard to have a strong and vital YMCA in Melrose and Walnut Hills," said Walker.
However, a number of members, like Mary Ann Roncker, aren't buying it.
"I am afraid that eventually, it's going to close. I mean when they're suggesting other places that we should go to, other Y's, it looks like you're trying to promote us to leave."
Oliver Spencer has been a Y member all his life and said he's also worried.
"My concern is that there are a lot of children, for example, who reside in this community of Walnut Hills and also in the surrounding communities who are not going to have a place to go after school."
Ruth Cline said shorter hours will make her life more difficult.
"I'm not going to be able to attend a yoga class on a Saturday. I'm not going to be able to attend my water aerobics on a Saturday."
Jill Gee said she remains cynical about the Association's letter. "It's the same old shenanigans. You give your word, and you don't keep it."
Victoria Evans says she's tired of excuses.
"Every time we talk to them, they get caught in a lie, they change the rules. Everything changes around to fit what ever it is they've already made a decision on, what they want to do, which is to shut down the Melrose YMCA."