In order to stay healthy, adults should try to achieve at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week. However, that hasn’t been easy to do over the last six months. Due to concerns pertaining to the coronavirus pandemic, gyms and health clubs throughout the New York State are staying closed. But while many of those facilities will eventually reopen, there are two community mainstays that have been forced to shut their doors for good.
Although gym memberships have grown by nearly 20% since 2008 and are expected to grow by 23% over the next 10 years, the current national health crisis has been rough on gym owners. For two YMCA locations in the Greater Rochester area, the pandemic signaled the end of the road. Tragically, one of these locations includes the Monroe Family YMCA — a historic, 97-year old institution located at the corner of Monroe Avenue and Dartmouth Street. In late July, officials announced that the branch would close and that the building will be transferred over to the Center for Youth (an advocacy group that had outgrown its former home a few blocks away).
At a press conference, President of the YMCA of Greater Rochester George Romell noted that even before the outbreak, the branch was in trouble. But sadly, the continued closures of gyms state-wide proved to be more than the Y could handle.
“There is never a good time to close a chapter in our history,” Romell explained. “Being able to transition this building to another vital community nonprofit ensures its legacy within the city. That is the Y’s mission at work: supporting community for all any way possible, even if that means we step aside.”
Although the YMCA has received financial help from private foundations and individuals, as well as the United Way synergy fund, to keep the lights on during the pandemic, it’s proven to be an uphill battle. While the Y normally generates roughly $60 million per year, the CEO has stated that they’ll be fortunate to hit the $25-million mark this year.
As a result, the Monroe Avenue location isn’t the only YMCA in the area to permanently close. Romell announced that the Victor Active Family Center would not be reopening, either. While the Y plans to hold onto that building for now, the organization is considering the possibility of repurposing it to support the Victor Central School District. Workers at both the Victor and Monroe Avenue locations will be transferred to other YMCA branches and current members can also utilize their memberships at any other facility once they reopen. But with more than 2,000 YYMCA employees remaining furloughed for the past four months, the future remains uncertain.
Certainly, local gyms aren’t the only ones taking a hit due to the pandemic. With roughly 30.2 million small businesses operating throughout the United States, countless establishments have had no choice but to bid an unexpected farewell due to the hardships they’ve experienced in the wake of COVID-19. And while certain economic relief payments and loans might have been made available in some circumstances, not every business was deemed eligible or able to secure funding.
For many Rochesterians, the coming months may continue to bring a sense of dread. However, the Flower City was named as one of Insider‘s best places to live after the pandemic — so maybe there’s hope for what’s to come.
Tags: covid-19, YMCA
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