NORTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — Tuesday is the last day of April, and it also marks the last day of operations for the West Bay Family YMCA on Post Road in North Kingstown.
The board of the nonprofit decided last fall, after a two-year study, that closing was the only option because the building as it stands now needs $2 million worth of repairs they can’t make, and consolidating operations was necessary.
“We recognize the impact of the greater community we serve, but without those changes, we would not be able to serve the community to the standard the members deserve,” Steven O’Donnell, the YMCA of Greater Providence’s CEO, said in a statement Tuesday.
Members of the Y are sad to see it go; many seniors told Eyewitness News in September after the decision that it will be difficult to make their way to other branches, each a little over 10 miles north (Kent County in Warwick) or south (South County in South Kingstown). The nonprofit also said at that time they were considering offering a shuttle service for the West Bay members.
The parking lot was nearly full on Tuesday. Bud and Ginny Ekno, who stopped by in the morning, have been coming to the Y for more than 40 years; the couple said they were disappointed, but resolved to continue working to keep fit.
“We hate to see it go,” Bud said. “It’s been a pleasure and an honor for all the people that served North Kingstown. Unfortunately, time goes on, and we have to move on.”
Other programs operated by the YMCA in North Kingstown that are based outside the Post Road building are staying intact.
Some 2,700 members were reported as attending the West Bay YMCA; the organization is giving them half off their membership fee for the 2019 calendar year to ease the transition.