(3:30 PM) Lakewood YMCA Is Not Closing, CEO Says

YMCA CEO Mark Eckendorf refuted claims that indicated the Lakewood YMCA would be closed. He cited a current marketing study being conducted regarding the potential for theconsolidation of the Jamestown and Lakewood facilities as the reason for the misinformation. P-J file photo P-J file photo

The Lakewood YMCA is not closing.

Information within an online petition titled “Mission: Please Help Us Save Our Lakewood YMCA From Closing” claiming the Lakewood YMCA is set to close is reportedly not accurate, according to YMCA Chief Executive Officer Mark Eckendorf.

“That’s fake news,” Eckendorf said of the rumor that the Lakewood YMCA is set to close.

The petition emerged on Change.com, a website designed to facilitate online petitions that individuals can sign electronically. The YMCA-related petition has garnered 214 online signatures as of Monday evening. An image provided for the petition displays a physical copy of a petition addressed to the YMCA Board of Trustees, Board of Directors and Eckendorf. The beginning of the petition states that the Lakewood branch is “slated to close.”

Eckendorf refuted that claim, but acknowledged that various studies have been conducted over the past several years regarding potential options for consolidating the two facilities that are currently located in Jamestown and Lakewood.

“Nothing is new,” he said when reached by phone Monday.

The ongoing study was described by Eckendorf as a “refresher” to a study completed two years ago regarding consolidation. Eckendorf urged that there are no imminent plans that would impact either of the two facilities. The YMCA released a news release Monday afternoon regarding the petition. In it, Eckendorf again refuted the claims that there would be a closure.

“At this time there are no plans to close the Lakewood YMCA, nor any of the other properties owned by the Jamestown Area YMCA,” the news release read.

Eckendorf attributed the misinformation about a building closing to a data gathering campaign within the marketing study that contacted community members about potential consolidation via telephone and email.

The marketing study is being conducted by Phil Balducci of the Florida-based agency PB & A Market Place Intelligence.

Eckendorf did, however, noted that there is a need for the potential consolidation of buildings and said there is “too much building” for the surrounding population that utilizes the YMCA facilities.

“We’re testing,” he said. “We’re looking at consolidating at one (building), but that’s not going to happen anytime soon.”