Two Sarasota Family YMCA fitness centers will close permanently next month after operating at a financial loss for the past several years, the organization announced. The fitness centers are the Evalyn Sadlier Jones Branch at Potter Park Drive and the Frank G. Berlin Sr. Branch on South Euclid Avenue in Sarasota, Fla.
The YMCA’s board will turn its focus to operating its ongoing foster care and social services programs. The closure decision was made after cost cutting, changes to pricing, modifications of program offerings, and other actions failed to make a measurable improvement, according to the announcement. Attempts to merge the centers with other Ys were unsuccessful.
Members will have access to both fitness centers through Sept. 13, with the last membership payment draft will be on Aug. 15. Programs and sports activities will not be continued past the closure date and refunds will be processed on a pro-rated basis. The before and after-school program will continue at the Southside, Gocio and Fruitville elementary schools.
The branches have been experiencing a continual loss in membership and program participation. In a Q&A regarding the closures, officials wrote that the organization “cut costs every year by restructuring staff and eliminating positions, outsourcing some tasks, eliminating underperforming programs, eliminating towel service and adjusting insurance coverages.”
The YMCA has changed membership pricing multiple times in an attempt to attract more members and stepped up efforts to raise funds through grant writing and contribution support from members and the community. Underutilized properties were sold to reinvest into the branches and the YMCA also sought to merge the branches with other YMCAs but none of the initiatives proved to be enough.