Questions Surround YMCA of North Central Florida's Weeklong Closure
Published October 20th, 2012
GAINESVILLE - The YMCA of North Central Florida has announced it will close for renovations over five days next week, October 22 - 26. But notice of the closure only appeared on Friday, and it comes while the organization is working its way through bankruptcy, causing some people to question the true motives for the closure.
The decision to close for a week was announced via a letter, posted on the front doors of the facility. When asked about the closure on Friday, some members were not even aware that the facilities would be closed.
Just last year, the YMCA of North Central Florida filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, citing declining membership and a bad economy as reasons for the filing. John Bonacci is the CEO of the North Central Florida YMCA, and was not with the organization when it filed for bankruptcy last year. He says the closure has nothing to do with the non-profit's recent financial troubles. He says the remodeling is part of his re-structuring of the organization, which started when he was hired as CEO this past summer.
As part of the process, Bonacci says areas of the "Y" will be freshened up, including cleaning areas of tile and air ducts, as well as repairs to the roof. "There's just no time of the day that is good to get this done. So, for member safety, this is one of the projects we need to shut down in order to do," says Bonacci.
But one employee, speaking to me under the condition we not release their identity, says the rumors that the closure is financially related are true. "We were told yesterday that we were likely not to get paid today. They asked who could afford to not get paid. And then today when we came in, we found out that somebody had donated money so we could get paid," says the employee.
Bonacci says that claim is false. "[It's] not true at all. We had a surprise bill come in related to one of our insurance policies. That was $25,000, so it was a pretty big hit. And it created some discussion about 'what if' scenarios. But bottom line is, we got it paid in full, on time. The payroll got paid in full, on time." Bonacci says the child care facilities at the "Y" will remain open through next week's remodeling.
According to the letter posted on the front door, the YMCA's pool will be closed next week as well. We reached out to a member of High Tide Aquatics, which is a competitive swim team that pays to practice at the YMCA of North Central Florida. They told us that the team still has plans to train in the YMCA's pool next week, and has not been told to move its practices elsewhere.
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