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North Central Florida YMCA Will Shut Down At End Of Year

The North Central Florida YMCA announced today that the organization has filed for liquidation bankruptcy and will cease all operations on Dec. 30.

The YMCA intends to dissolve as an organization and close its facilities on NW 34th Boulevard and SW Archer Road in Gainesville, according to a statement. Seven full-time staff members and 82 part-time staff members will lose their jobs due to the organization shutting down.

Unsuccessful fundraising efforts and a lack of capital required to pay off debts and make facility repairs and improvements were cited as the reasons behind the YMCA's closure.

“This is a very difficult time for everyone associated with our Y,” said Robert Walpole, Chair of the YMCA’s Board of Directors, in a statement. “In recent years, we instituted a number of changes that improved our YMCA’s efficiency and effectiveness in meeting community needs. Unfortunately, we have not been able to generate financial resources necessary to sustain operations over the long term.”

The North Central Florida YMCA first filed a Chapter 11 bankruptcy in 2012, the same year CEO John Bonacci joined the organization. Bonacci previously was CEO of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Mid-Florida, which closed its doors in 2015.

The YMCA offered programs and services, such as childcare, sports, and recreation and fitness facilities to approximately 5,000 members, the highest membership in almost a decade, according to the statement. Interested members will be connected with other health and fitness facilities in the area for possible membership. For families whose children participate in its after-school program, the YMCA is referring them to other local agencies.

“Our YMCA has had the privilege of serving the children, families and communities of Gainesville for [more than] 49 years,” Walpole said in a statement. “We are grateful for the support we have received from our members, participants, volunteers and donors. The board also wants to thank John Bonacci and his team. They have done everything in their power, against long odds, to keep our YMCA going. We deeply regret that closing down will affect so many wonderful people.”

Contact WUFT News by calling 352-392-6397 or emailing news