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YMCA to permanently shutter branches in Livonia, St. Clair Shores

Charles E. Ramirez
The Detroit News

A YMCA facility in Livonia and another in St. Clair Shores have been permanently closed, effective Friday, the nonprofit said.

“As we navigate the COVID-19 international health crisis, we must reimagine how to best serve Metropolitan Detroiters,” Helene Weir, the YMCA of Metropolitan Detroit's president and CEO, said in a statement. “This means our YMCA has made the very difficult decision to permanently close two of our branches.”

The two branches — the Livonia Family YMCA and the Lakeshore Family YMCA — were closed because they were not financially sustainable and had operated with deficits for nearly a decade. The Livonia branch lost $1.2 million while the Lakeshore branch lost $630,000 over the past 10 years, she said.

Weir also said the COVID-19 pandemic and the economic crisis it caused compounded the two facilities' problems and made it difficult to sustain them.

“Livonia has served the community for 60 years and now needs $5 million in deferred capital improvements,” she said. “Lakeshore is a rental property and both branches do not have a large enough membership base to make them viable.”

As soon as the other eight YMCA branches open in the wake of the pandemic, members of the Lakeshore and Livonia branches will receive a free membership to use for the remained of the year. The organization has branches in Auburn Hills, Birmingham, Detroit, Downriver, Farmington, Macomb, Milford and Royal Oak.

The nonprofit plans to continue its day camp at the Livonia location for the summer when the state permits it to resume operation, the YMCA president said.

“We will continue food distribution at the Livonia and Lakeshore YMCA locations to ensure any child in those communities can receive up to 16 healthy meals each week,”  she said.

Before the pandemic, the YMCA served over 70,000 men, women and children annually.

“We are hopeful that our YMCA can stabilize and recuperate from losses compounded by COVID-19 and its residual fallouts,” Weir said. “Our sole aim is to have a financially strong YMCA able to meet growing community needs. All our decision-making reflects our core values: caring, honesty, inclusion, respect and responsibility.”


Twitter: @CharlesERamirez