Protesters fight to keep Mason YMCA from closing

(WMC-TV) - Protesters gathered outside the Mason YMCA Wednesday morning in a fight to keep the facility open.

Members of the University of Memphis-area facility have been upset ever since the official announcement that the Mason YMCA would close at the end of this year.

Protesters said this YMCA has been the place they have gone for swimming and other fitness activities for years.  They claimed officials have refused to talk with them about their plans for the YMCA to close.

"We want them to talk with us, give us some input about what ... we can do about keeping it open," said Mason YMCA member Jamie Wright.

Protesters said closing the facility would put many of its current employees out of work and leave about 40 dormitory residents without a place to stay.

"It's rough," said YMCA dorm resident Jeff Coley.  "It's been a good place to stay and a lot of people are upset about this and it just seems like there's not enough answers being given."

Protesters said the goal is to put down so much pressure that YMCA officials reverse themselves.  Protesters said it has happened before in other parts of the country.

In Cincinnati, a YMCA that was scheduled to close was allowed to stay open following an outpouring of criticism.

An e-mail sent to Action News 5 by YMCA executives in Memphis said the decision to close was made after a study was done that claimed the Mason YMCA is too costly to maintain and operate.

Protesters said they are not convinced and they plan to do all they can to force officials to keep the YMCA open.

The Mason YMCA has been a neighbor of the University of Memphis community for five decades.

Copyright 2011 WMC-TV. All rights reserved.