WUFT News

YMCA begins renovations, deals with financial problems

By on October 19th, 2012

The North Central Florida YMCA at 5201 NW 34th St. in Gainesville will be closed Monday through Friday for renovations.

The childcare program, which takes care of about 150 children, will remain open throughout the project’s duration.

John Bonacci, the CEO of the North Central Florida YMCA, said the renovations were not forced by a regulatory body but was instead his idea.

The renovation includes fixing a leaky roof as well as cleaning high-traffic floors, locker rooms, air ducts and sprinklers.

Bonacci said the YMCA didn’t schedule the renovations on a holiday because the club has special events and still has childcare programs on those days. He said many members come to the pool or gym when they don’t have work, too.

“We’ve tried to pile everything up in a coordinated manner into as small a block period as we can and just go through and get as many of these projects as we can done without putting any members at risk,” he said. “The easiest and avenue of least resistance is to actually shut down the majority of our programs.”

Some members, though, aren’t happy about the inconvenience.

“It’s hard to keep up with my routine if I’m not here, so it’s going to be really easy to not want to come back after the week’s over,” said YMCA member Kim Hart. “But I’ll try to do something while I’m home.”

The renovations are part of Bonacci’s plan to help the YMCA climb out of bankruptcy.

“Given the economy and given that we are an agency that is in an active bankruptcy, we haven’t got reserves sitting in the savings account for us to go to when we need it, things are tight,” he said. “Making sure that all the bills are getting paid at times can be an art form.”

New programs are a source of revenue, too.

Bonacci said the YMCA now offers massage therapy, a 90-day weightloss challenge and a smoothie and juice bar. Its childcare program now has dance, cheerleading and color guard extensions.

Childcare Director Brook Bauzon said another program called Gator Gamedays allows parents to drop off children and go to UF football games.

Bonacci said the stress of running a financially troubled YMCA is worth it, though.

“After a very long day, [I was] walking out and a member was walking in and she turned to me and she said, ‘I love the new Y.’ That’s all she said, continued on in the building to go about her business, and I continued on with the rest of my evening,” he said. “But it’s comments like that make these long days and all the trials and tribulations worthwhile.”


This entry was posted in Local and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Local

David Brown, 50, sits on his bed in the newly opened Dorm 1 at Grace Marketplace. The shelter opened its first overnight housing option on Wednesday to help those living on the streets transition into more permanent housing.

Grace Marketplace Opens Dorm For Homeless

On Wednesday, emergency shelter Grace Marketplace opened its first dorm for the homeless. Residents must adhere to criteria, but the dorm offers a more permanent housing option.


New Digital Map Launched to Decrease Hunger In Florida

The Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services is fighting to decrease hunger and sustain the health of Florida residents. The FDACS has created a new digital map to help locate and determine which areas of Florida have the least amount of access to food and resources.


Additional Parking, Lighting and Community Access Planned For Midtown Area

The Community Redevelopment Agency plans to break ground next year on NW First Avenue, the street a block north of University Avenue bordering the businesses in Midtown.


The Waldo City Council met Tuesday night to vote on disbanding the local police department. After hearing from residents and officers, the Waldo City Council disbanded the department due to lack of funding.

Waldo City Council Votes To Disband Local Police Department

The Waldo City Council voted 4-1 in favor of dissolving the local police
department on Tuesday night. The city noted negative publicity and outdated equipment as concerns, but ultimately, it was a lack of funding that led to the disbanding the police department.


Do Local Charities Deserve Your Money Or Trust?

According to the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services, some charities spend as much as 99 percent of funds raised to help fulfill their mission statement while others funnel the same portion into administration costs.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments