West Bay Family YMCA branch closing to consolidate resources

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NORTH KINGSTOWN, (WPRI) — The West Bay Family YMCA is closing, in an effort to consolidate resources. 

Greater Providence YMCA CEO Steven O’Donnell says the difficult decision wasn’t made overnight, it was the result of a two year comprehensive study.

“The board voted last week to consolidate the resources here,” said O’Donnell. “We have probably $2 million of band-aids just to fix it, roofs, walls, things that leak. We’re a nonprofit organization I think people have to know that.”

Wickford resident John Fitzgerald, who goes to the West Bay Y six times a week, says seniors will be affected by the facility closing.

“Not totally surprised because this is an older facility and they have not done the greatest job of keeping it up to snuff,” he added. “It’s always been about community for me I’m at a stage of my life where I come in and about 75% of my socialization for the entire day is done here.”

Other senior members are concerned about having to get to the other Y branches.

“Here, three minutes from my house. To drive down to the South County Y, its 10 miles to coordinate,” said Kathy Meleney of North Kingstown. 

“There are many older people from the community who attend this Y who have a really difficult time of getting to the Y’s that are 10 miles from here,” said North Kingstown resident Susan Graefe. 

O’Donnell said of the 2,700 members who attend the West Bay YMCA, 69% live in North Kingstown. They are considering solutions, such as offering a shuttle service to bus West Bay members to the other branches.

“They’re passionate about this place so it’s a sad day, but the goal is to become smaller, nimble as an organization which makes us bigger and stronger in the end,” O’Donnell added.

To help ease the transition, West Bay Branch members will receive 50% off their membership fee for the 2019 calendar year.

Also, after school and beach programs the Y runs in North Kingstown outside of the building will stay intact.
 

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