Published: Feb 12, 2013 07:00 PM
Modified: Feb 11, 2013 03:43 PM
The decision by the Board of Directors of the Chapel Hill – Carrboro YMCA to close their racquetball courts is a slap in the face to the member players who helped build the Y through financial contributions, program participation and volunteer work. None of the racquetball players was ever consulted by the board, and the issue was never put before the membership. Those of us who play see a number of possible ways that the Y could keep their courts and still obtain the additional wellness space desired. The courts are in excellent shape and have an estimated value of at least $250,000. There are approximately 70 players who use the courts and depend on them for their wellness. If the members of the Board of Directors choose to stay with their decision the YMCA and the community will lose one of its unique recreational assets.Dr. O. W. Henson, PhD Professor Emeritus UNC School of MedicineWhat’s the next Band-Aid?
Like Billy Barnes and lots of others who have written letters to the CHN lately about the YMCA’s bone-headed decision to eliminate their racquetball courts, I have been a member of our local Y for many years. We joined in 1994, and have enjoyed just about everything that the Y has to offer: swimming, workout machines, racquetball, exercise classes, after-school care and camp for our kids. It’s a great place, with limitations. Parking, for one, and an increasingly aging facility, for another.
But the Y’s biggest limitation is its lack of leadership: the Y board simply doesn’t know what to do, as evidenced by their other recent dubious decision to farm out the management of this Y to the Y of the Triangle. Now they are starting what is very likely to be the “piece-mealing” of this facility, starting with the closing of the racquetball courts. What will the next Band-Aid be? And the one after that?
What this Y needs, and what this board has never communicated to the membership, is a specific, strategic plan for this facility. Not a plan for more outreach programs (they have plenty for the time being), and not a plan for increasing membership (the Y building can barely hold the current membership, not to mention the cars of the current membership), and not a plan to open yet another CHCYMCA satellite branch. All of those things are important, but they have been the sole focus of this Y for too long, and to the detriment of this facility and those who pay to use it.
It is time for the board to be vocal, visible and vigorous in designing a future for this Y and its membership that includes a wholesale renovation and expansion of the Y facility. This is the challenge for the Y board, and it’s up to them to make it happen. The membership of this Y deserves a better future, and if that membership elects to go elsewhere to spend their exercise dollars, there is no future for this Y.Maureen Dolan Rosen Chapel Hill
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