YMCA near University of Memphis to shut its doors

(WMC-TV) - The Mason YMCA will close by year's end.

The Mason YMCA has been a part of the University of Memphis community for five decades, but the building needs maintenance and repairs, and the board of directors said the money is not there.

"The building is 50 years old," said Mid-South YMCA President and CEO Keith Johnson.  "The cost of maintaining and operating was just getting to be too much for us."

Johnson said they have about 90 days to get the word out to everyone.

"We posted this morning, put it on the website and we are making it as known as we possibly can," he said.

A comprehensive study of the building's structural needs showed it would prove too costly to renovate.

Johnson said closing the facility was a tough decision, but also said it is not practical to raise as much as $6 million in a touch economy.

"It was not an easy process, it's been discussed a long time," said Johnson.

Johnson said the 42 men who currently live in apartments inside the Mason building will have to relocate.  He said the housing is furnished and if the men need to take the furniture, the YMCA is willing to let them take it.

"Our staff there is working hard to find other locations for them and to help place them," said Johnson.

Johnson said programs such as English as a second language will be integrated into other branches.  Those who use the Mason YMCA will have to use a new location.

"It's a reciprocal membership," said Johnson.  "If you're a member of one branch, you're a member of all of them."

Johnson said the YMCA is looking to partner with developers who will make the best use of the real estate while complementing the needs of the neighborhood.

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