The Sarasota Family YMCA, Sarasota, Florida, will permanently close its two fitness centers on Sept. 13, after several years of dwindling memberships and unsuccessful cost-saving measures.
The closures involve the Evalyn Sadlier Jones branch and the Frank G. Berlin Sr. branch, according to a July 23 media release issued by the Y. This will result in the termination of 341 jobs, mostly filled by part-time employees, the Herald-Tribune reported.
Y leaders unsuccessfully solicited financial support from the local community and, to no avail, attempted to merge the struggling facilities into the portfolios of other Y groups within the state, the release said.
“Despite best efforts that were made to try to stabilize the operations of those fitness centers, they have operated at a financial loss for the past several years and the YMCA can no longer sustain them,” Y leaders said in the release. “YMCA leaders and board members considered closure of the fitness centers as the last possible alternative. This decision was finally made after substantial cost cutting, changes to pricing, modifications of program offerings and other actions failed to make a measurable improvement.”
Members will have access to both facilities until 5 p.m. on Sept. 13, and those who prepaid for memberships or programming will be refunded on a pro-rated basis.
“This is not the outcome we wanted,” the release stated. “Our hearts go out to everyone in the extended Sarasota YMCA family affected by this. The YMCA exists to serve the needs of the community and it will continue that mission through our foster care and social services programs.”
A post about the closures on the Sarasota YMCA Facebook page has received more than 200 shares and 300 comments, predominantly by Y members and local residents expressing their sadness over the news.