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Fresno YMCA Branch Closes Over Financial Concerns

FRESNO, CA -- After a failed fundraising effort designed to pay off its debts, the Central Valley YMCA board of directors voted to close the downtown Fresno, CA, YMCA branch as of May 31.

Local organizers were only able to raise about $100,000 of the $500,000 required by the national YMCA organization to keep the branch open by guaranteeing its financial solvency.

The local board says it plans to sell the downtown YMCA building to pay off its vendors.

Members who paid their fitness center fees in advance will get refunds, according to John Shehadey, president of the Central Valley YMCA board. The closure will not affect the Y's child care programs or the Camp Sequoia program.

Members of the closing YMCA branch told local media that other local gyms are offering special joining rates to Y members.

Membership at the Fresno Y fell from about 700 members in 2004 to fewer than 500 in 2009. Shehadey told local media that the Y never recovered from losing members after closing its pool in 2005.

Membership also has declined as the city’s residents have moved northward, away from the downtown location, he noted.

Shehadey said there had been talk of opening a smaller express Y location in the area.

The YMCA's national membership standards committee is expected to vote on ending the Fresno Y’s charter within the next month.

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