Meanwhile, the YMCA in Pittsford is set to become one of the biggest in the nation
VICTOR — Members of the Victor YMCA submitted a petition filled with more than 25 pages of signatures and comments protesting cuts to the Y at 200 S. High St.
The Victor Y closed June 23 to undergo renovations with plans to reopen Sept. 4 with reduced hours. The Victor Y’s 526 members got word in a letter May 24, with the changes attributed to decline in membership and decreased participation during evening and afternoon hours.
Peggy Wehs and others behind the push for restored hours and offerings urge the Y to listen. Comments refer to the bond that Victor Y members have with each other and Y staff, and the pledge the Y makes to serve its community — as the Y states is its mission — and question why the Y is cutting back in one of the region’s fastest growing communities. Comments praised Victor Y staff, though they criticized the corporate decision seen as short-sighted and ignoring members’ needs. Some Victor Y members said they would discontinue their membership.
Jim Scarsella said he joined the Victor Y the month after it opened in 1998. Scarsella wrote in a letter submitted with the petition: “I am upset, along with countless others, about the changes coming to our Y. Renovations are a necessity, but the reduced hours will force many people to find other options. Four hours a day doesn’t make sense to most of us. It appears that type of schedule would soon force the doors to close for good. If that is the ultimate plan, it’s not disguised too well …”
Messenger Post Media sought a response to the petition. In a statement, Kevin Fitzpatrick, chief operating officer of the Victor Y’s parent YMCA of Greater Rochester, stated: “We continue to welcome input from our members during this transition. As with all nonprofit organizations, we need to be as prudent as possible to effectively serve our communities and members. During the last decade, YMCA membership in Victor has declined due to the availability of other local resources, resulting in operations at this location being subsidized. These changes are being made to ensure the YMCA can continue to serve the community in Victor.
“When the Victor location reopens in early September, the plan is for the hours of operation to be 7 a.m. to noon,” added Fitzpatrick. “Based on demand, the Y will consider expanding hours as needed.”
Meanwhile, at the YMCA of Greater Rochester’s Southeast Family branch in Pittsford, groundbreaking took place in May on what is pegged to become one the largest YMCA centers in the nation. The $40 million "Y of the future" entails construction of a three-story, 140,000-square-foot building on 20 acres at the corner of Jefferson Road and Clover Street. Offerings at the site will include new childcare and senior centers.
In developments at other area YMCAs, the Clifton Springs Family YMCA in Ontario County is considering construction of a new building. The YMCA on Crane Street in Clifton Springs is not part of the YMCA of Greater Rochester.
In a general statement about its Victor site, the YMCA of Greater Rochester talked about making interior renovations that will “upgrade current health and wellness services” along with its “focus on morning programming.” According to the Y, 70 percent of current Victor members are older adults whose participation is mostly during morning hours.
While the Y is closed for the summer, Victor members can access all the other YMCA of Greater Rochester facilities. As well, the Y mentioned addition of classes at offsite YMCA programs in Victor taking place at St. Patrick’s Church and Ganondagan State Historic Site. Seven classes added to the existing summer schedule include pilates and Zumba. The classes are during morning hours “in line with the most active hours of membership participation at the Victor branch in recent years,” stated the Y. Participants can include YMCA’s Silver Sneakers and Silver and Fit members.
“Core programming families and seniors rely on, including Child Watch, group exercise classes, and small group training, will continue to be provided as demand requires,” according to the statement, which concludes with: “YMCA of Greater Rochester management has received feedback from Victor branch members via phone calls, emails, and in-person conversations regarding the pending changes, including a document with handwritten feedback from Victor members.”