Planning For YMCA Building’s Future Should Begin Now

It comes as little surprise that Jamestown Area YMCA officials have been taking the first steps toward finding a new home.

The rumor mill was quickly in high gear after phone calls were made to gather information from area residents about consolidating the Lakewood and Jamestown YMCAs into a new location. The fact that the discussion is making its way into the public realm in recent months makes sense. Mark Eckendorf, Jamestown Area YMCA CEO, told The Post-Journal that YMCA officials have been looking at properties along the Foote Avenue medical corridor as possible new locations, but nothing has been finalized.

“It is very unusual to have two (YMCAs) within seven miles,” he said. “To be so close, our market place overlaps about 80 percent. We have two, 85,000-square-foot buildings. We are on top of each other. At some point, most likely, the (YMCAs) will have to merge unless we find someone, a tenant, to share with us to cut overhead by sharing a building.”

While the YMCA board does its due diligence, city officials should do the same. There has been a solid influx of investment in that area of Fourth Street in recent years, and the last thing anyone needs is a big vacant building in the area that takes years to fill. The YMCA might not actually move for years, but that doesn’t mean planning for the YMCA building’s future can’t begin happening now.