SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WNDU) The South Bend-Mishawaka YMCA is closing after more than 100 years due to "ongoing financial strain" and the effects of the coronavirus pandemic.
South Bend’s YMCA Branch will be permanently closed on May 26.
The roof leaks and the pool needs repairs at the facility on Northside Boulevard that has been home to the Y since 1964.
“And it became evident that it was, it was impossible for us to continue to maintain this facility and be able to complete our mission which is to serve the community,” said YMCA board member Andre Gammage.
Long before Gammage became a judge on the St. Joseph Circuit Court he spent time on the basketball court at the Y.
“I’ve got great memories here, I’m a Y kid," Gammage said. "I grew up at the Y, my kids grew up at the Y. So I’ll miss the Y, I really will.”
Gammage even worked at the facility right out of college.
“Our mission is not really to keep this building open," Gammage said. "Our mission is to serve and it came to the point where, as sad as it is, for us to have to close this facility, our mission has come into more focus and that lead us outside of this building because there are many needs throughout this Michiana community and it is important for us to be able to leave this to be able to go out and serve people where they are as opposed to having them come to this facility.”
Details are still being worked out but the Y hopes to take some of its programs out into buildings owned by schools and health care related entities.
Gammage promised that the Y would be a good neighbor and maintain the building once it is vacated. He hopes to make some decisions on the long term fate of the property in six to 12 months.
“It is riverfront property," Gammage said. "We’ve had some discussions, some discussions with realtors and informal discussions with realtors, I don’t know that now is the time for us to be able to sell.”
From the YMCA of Greater Michiana:
The YMCA of Greater Michiana is permanently closing the South Bend-Mishawaka YMCA branch effective Tuesday, May 26.
“As we navigate the COVID-19 health crisis, we must reimagine how to best serve the greater Michiana community,” said Mark Weber, CEO of the YMCA of Greater Michiana. “This means our YMCA has made the very difficult decision to permanently close this branch.”
The Y plans to continue partnerships with area businesses and organizations to provide programming that falls into its areas of impact, such as youth development and community wellness. The closure of this facility will not be the end of the Y’s presence in St. Joseph County.
“After extensive research and evaluation, we determined this physical location was not financially sustainable moving forward,” said Weber. “However, our work in the South Bend community is not done. We’re working on a business plan that will bring us wherever we are needed in the future.”
Local Y programs have continuously expanded outside of their physical locations, allowing them to serve the community in several ways, including working with local schools and meeting their needs for onsite before- and after-school programs that provide mentoring and a safe space for kids.
“While fitness centers are the face of the YMCA, we are uniquely capable of making an impact on the health and wellness of our community without a specific building or set of walls,” said Weber. “As a cause-driven organization, we only need passion, people, and commitment to continue serving and supporting our community.”
All South Bend-Mishawaka YMCA memberships will remain active through August 2020 at no charge. During this time, members may utilize alternate YMCA facilities including our Niles-Buchanan and Benton Harbor-St. Joseph branches upon their reopening. Additionally, your Y membership gives you access to most Ys nationwide.
The Y has been part of the South Bend and surrounding communities for over a century. Its current location of 1201 Northside Boulevard has housed the organization since 1964.
To learn more about the Y please visit ymcagm.org.
Dear South Bend-Mishawaka YMCA Member,
Thank you for staying with the Y over the past few months while we’ve adapted our services in the face of COVID-19. Your support and understanding have been a bright spot in uncertain times.
As we navigate the COVID-19 crisis, we must reimagine how to best serve the greater Michiana community. With that, we have made the difficult decision to close our South Bend-Mishawaka YMCA branch indefinitely. This decision was not made lightly, and we are sad we won’t be reopening our doors to you. However, with the facility’s ongoing financial strain and recent close of business, we have been left with no other option.
For over 100 years, we have stayed true to our mission—to put Christian principles into practice through programs that build healthy spirit, mind, and body for all. We plan to continue our mission and remain involved in the community through programs in St. Joseph County in the future.
While fitness centers are the face of the YMCA, we are uniquely capable of making an impact on the health and wellness of our community without a specific building or set of walls. As a cause-driven organization, we only need passion, people, and commitment to continue serving and supporting our community.
As we make this transition, all South Bend-Mishawaka YMCA memberships will remain active through August 2020 at no charge. During this time, members may utilize alternate YMCA facilities including our Niles-Buchanan and Benton Harbor-St. Joseph branches upon their reopening.
We know that you may have questions so please don’t hesitate to contact us at email@example.com. It has been our joy and privilege to offer a place where so many found health and belonging each day.
Mowitt S. Drew III
Chief Volunteer Officer
YMCA of Greater Michiana
Mark D. Weber
Chief Executive Officer
YMCA of Greater Michiana