Our View: Winchester YMCA could be saved

Published 11:21 am Wednesday, December 14, 2016

Tuesday’s news that the Winchester YMCA will be closing after two and a half decades serving the community was a painful blow for many in Clark County.

The abruptness also raises the question of whether or not more transparency and public dialogue could have made a difference in the outcome.

Three years ago, it was clear that the YMCA was struggling financially and everyone knew it.

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Tremendous efforts were made to save the organization. We applaud the current board and all those who rose to the occasion, working hard to try to keep this institution afloat.

A lot of time and money went into that effort because everyone was on the same page when it comes to understanding the community impact this has on families and the quality of life in Clark County.

So, perhaps the saddest part of Tuesday’s announcement, is that those efforts now appear to have all been for naught.

The news that the facility will essentially close at the end of the month leaves many in the community wondering if the outcome could have been different with more public conversation and communication.

Although there may have been rumblings, as far we know, no one from the YMCA spoke up publicly to ask for help. No plea to save the Y went out in the newspapers or on social media. No advertising campaigns sought new members. No one openly discussed any collaborative efforts or public-private partnerships to look for solutions.

Our intent isn’t to point fingers or throw stones, but it isn’t too late to have these conversations.

Although the YMCA in its current incarnation and with the national affiliation may not be the right fit for this community, the facility and its ultimate mission — creating a positive environment for youth and families to be active and fellowship — can still be integral to our community.

Let’s start the conversation now.

If we cannot save the YMCA, what can be done to utilize these facilities and work with other entities in the community with similar missions?

If Winchester and Clark County citizens rally around this cause it doesn’t have to be the end of the story, but instead the beginning of a new chapter.