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Letter to the editor from Jim Aziere about the YMCA

          The YMCA came to Raytown with a powerful mission statement, a Christian label that sported a Board of Directors symbolizing the business magnets of Kansas City.  They built trust, asked for donations, and our community committed almost two million dollars.

          Their patrons today are sitting on blacktop: children, families, and seniors.  Their promises and commitment eroded from Social Darwinism, “survival of the fittest,” and we are YMCA victims.

          It rained Wednesday.  I stood on the YMCA pool deck before high school water polo practice watching water streaming down the walls below the seam of every joyce in the ceiling.  It has done this for years.

          I’ve worked in the YMCA 39 years.  I never dreamed I would outlive this facility built 15 years ago.  “Y,” what went sour? 

          The protective covenant signed by the YMCA in 1997 promises “to protect against  construction of improvements on building sites which are of poor design or quality….and good architectural planning standards….” and  “to conserve the value of the property.”  Filed in the State of Missouri.

          Now the building has a three million dollar lien, and 2.2 million dollars of deterioration.  Such a poor business record of a Board of Directors who eats the breakfast of champions.  Monkeyshine.

          I ask myself, “Why didn’t the YMCA live up to it’s contract, or who in the organization prevented that from happening?  Was there a conflict of interest?” 

          The YMCA credibility has eroded.  Its missions statement seems weak.  The contract it signed with Utilicorp means nothing.  They took our money, but they didn’t deliver.  If that wasn’t true, YMCA members wouldn’t be sitting on the street.

          The YMCA has lost the animation of its image.  Yes, Raytown struggles to survive  economic conditions.  Our property values were hit hardest in the metropolitan area.  People have been out of jobs.  The price of membership went up, patrons left.  Does that make our needs less important.

          From the “Byrd’s Eye view,” yes.  The YMCA needs a 40 million facility downtown, where children don’t live, and everyone has a job, for business people.

          Who heads the Board of the YMCA?  Allen Blair, an attorney.  The whole picture sizes up the motives of corporate leaders and our American legal system.

          I’m proud of Raytown, my home, a bedroom community.  We are symbolic of middle-class America.  We love what we do and give our best.  We don’t want a free ride, and we want to be able to pay our bills.  We aren’t weak or “unfit,” but we cannot keep up with rising inflation caused by Wall Street.  Our economy has left us behind.

          The YMCA picture leaves me sad, and hundreds of others too.   Many wonderful memories were tainted the final moment I walked out of the Richard C. Green YMCA  on April 12th. when it closed. 

          YMCA betrayal changes everything.  A corporation shouldn’t be allowed to have a “not for profit” tax status when it does not abide to the terms of a contract designed to protect the philanthropist. 

          In the past, when the legal system didn’t prevail, a national boycott worked.  I believe people should think carefully before they join the YMCA, or write a check for a donation. 

          It’s empty now.  The pool drained, lights turned off, doors locked.  ‘For Sale – 5.5 million dollars.’  Rain water will stream down the walls of a dark room on hot days, mold will thrive.  It will sit empty for years, testamoney to  the YMCA legacy.

YMCAs in Independence and Raytown to close doors for good on Friday

The link is to a Channel 41 article that also mentions a planned protest at the Independence Y from 10 am to noon.

YMCAs in Independence and Raytown to close doors for good on Friday.

YMCA Tax and Budget Info editorial (part 1)

The YMCA of Greater Kansas City is closing the Raytown branch today. The stated reason is that this branch is losing money.  The  residents and government of Raytown have donated land and money to the building and operation of this facility. The stated goal of this non-profit organization is “The YMCA of Greater Kansas City, founded on Christian principles, is a charitable organization with an inclusive environment committed to enriching the quality of family, spiritual, social, mental and physical well-being“,  not turning a profit.  RaytownOnline.com feels a duty to examine this situation in detail. 

It is interesting to note that the YMCA of Greater Kansas City reports about $8 Million in stocks and bonds on their federal forms.

The YMCA Federal 990 form from 2011 ymca 990 from 2011

The YMCA Federal 990 form from 2010 ymca 990 from 2009

The YMCA Federal 990 form from 2010 ymca 990 from 2010

It is also interesting to note that the YMCA is the 2nd highest beneficiary of funding from United Way of Greater Kansas City, receiving about $1 Million a year for various programs.

The United Way Federal 990 form from 2011 unitedway2011-990

The United Way Federal 990 form from 2010 unitedway2010-990

The YMCA of Greater Kansas City budget is below.  Note that, while they got over a million dollars last year from the United Way, they only credited $2,500–less than 1 percent–  of that Million to the Raytown Branch. 

 The YMCA also receives income for providing services to policy holders of multiple health insurance companies and organizations.  It is not known if the income credited to the Raytown YMCA reflects the members and policy holders that use the YMCA. Does the YMCA organization plan to  keep this income with the rationale that the remaining Raytown members will now go to 70th and Troost?

It is also interesting that the loss projected for 2013 appears to be equal to items tacked on the bottom that are at best arbitrary and debatable.  These questionable items are things an organization doing well would like to put in the budget like building capital reserve, or items that probably will not go away like associated overhead.  (Read Raytown’s share of the CEO’s salary and other expenses that will not be reduced by the closing).

The YMCA’s own budget shows an operation that is almost breaking even if  management did not charge off building reserve funds, finance costs in lieu of sale (whatever that means, but the lending company is going to love the probable short sale), home office operations and reserve (which will continue after the closing), travel and conferences (did local Y personal get to go or is this just our “share” of the CEO’s expenses?) and other line items that require a more detailed explanation. If one were to add into the income a reasonable share of the funds the YMCA receives from other sources like the United Way and other organizations and businesses, this YMCA would be in the black. 

The major portion of the projected deferred maintenance risk comes from bad decisions on the construction of the roof and HVAC (heat and air) made by the highly paid top management of the organization. This is not something anyone in Raytown had control over and should be born by the organization as a whole and not charged off against this particular facility. This number is reported by the YMCA to come from their facility management partner, Copaken Brooks.  If they are using a management partner, what does David Byrd do to earn his much higher than average $277,000 a year compensation package? 

One thing is clear, if Raytown is only getting $2,500 credited from local contributions to the United Way, we need to make sure none of our contributions in the future end up in the hands of the YMCA and monitor the numbers in the future to make sure that there is a proportional drop in what the YMCA receives from the United Way. Independence residents should be advised to take the same course of action along with all of the Kansas City resident that used Raytown or the Independence facilities. 

 YMCA Budget

The Kansas City Star: “YMCA damaged its image with how it handled closings”

Mary Sanchez’s  editorial in yesterdays Kansas City Star lays out some, but not all, of the reasons that the YMCA has a tarnished image as a result the manner and substance of its decisions to close 3 branches in the metro area while planning to open a $40 million dollar facility for the rich downtown. 

Click HERE to read the Sanchez editorial. 

 

 

The latest YMCA press release and The City of Raytown’s Response (revised with YMCA proposal)

The YMCA of Greater Kansas City senior leadership led by CEO David Byrd as well as the City of Raytown senior leadership led by Mayor David Bower last met on Friday, March 22, to continue conversations regarding possible solutions to financing and sustaining the operations of the YMCA in Raytown.

 Charitable donations, membership dues and program revenue have not generated enough to pay for the Richard C. Green, Sr. Family YMCA’s operational and capital expenses. As a result, the Y is in a long-term deficit financial situation for the center, and the Richard C. Green, Sr. Family YMCA will close on April 12, 2013.

 City residents and the Y reached out to the City of Raytown for assistance to keep the Richard C. Green, Sr. Family YMCA open. Both the Y and the city have presented possible solutions for consideration.

 The last two meetings involved the Y’s and the city’s chief financial officers to explore the costs and the realistic financial options. 

  1. The YMCA could continue to operate the facility as a Y with outside financial support from an outside funder including but not limited to the school district and/or the city that would offset operating deficits.  
  2. The YMCA could transition the operations through the sale of the facility to another interested organization including but not limited to the school district or the city.
  3. Most recently on March 22, the Y proposed to the city to subsidize membership for the residents of Raytown, allowing the residents to purchase a membership at a much-reduced monthly rate. The revenue from both the city’s subsidy and the patrons of Raytown would generate enough money to meet expenses if the membership would grow by 1,000 new members.

 The reality for all of the options presented is that neither the City of Raytown nor the YMCA of Greater Kansas City have the finances to cover the needs at this time.

 The city asked for a six-month extension to give them time to explore presenting an issue on the ballot for the residents’ vote. Both parties agreed that a favorable vote is not guaranteed.

 The YMCA of Greater Kansas City can’t extend the closing without a guarantee of financial support because it does not have the dollars to support the losses that continue to grow as membership declines.

 The financial commitment needed to keep the 8th Street, Independence and Richard C. Green YMCAs open varies for each facility because of differences in the size of the facilities, deferred maintenance costs, amenities at the facilities, amount of staff needed to run the facility, and the amount of deficits in membership and program revenue.

 For example, Richard C. Green YMCA operational expenses exceed that of the 8th Street YMCA because of the amount of membership and program subsidy needed to overcome deficits in membership and program revenue, the larger staff team needed and the cost of operating the indoor pool.

 At this time, there is not an agreed upon resolution to keep the Richard C. Green YMCA open, and the Y believes we have exhausted all possibilities for a joint resolution.  

 Next steps for the YMCA include securing community space to offer programming to the Raytown community and moving forward with selling the building.

______________________________________________

Raytown’s response below

______________________________________________

YMCA Final Offer to Raytown

YMCA Negotiations Started With Non-negotiable Base Requirements

Raytown, MO?The City of Raytown recently met with YMCA officials to see if we could agree upon a way to temporarily keep the Y open after they abruptly announced that they would be closing the Richard C. Green facility on April 12. In a recent press release from the YMCA, they write that Raytown had not offered any proposal or financial support. This statement is very misleading. It is important for our community to understand what the city was offered by the Y and how the negotiations were handled.

 At the March 22 meeting, the YMCA brought three non-negotiable issues to the table that had to be addressed before any proposals from the city would be entertained. These issues were:

1)     Address long term sustainability for operations. The Y indicated that our citizens had not supported the Y to date.

The city was requesting six months to see what our citizens were willing and wanting to do with this facility. We were given one week to determine this. That is not enough time to put together a feasible, fiscally responsible plan. We would not even be able to put it to a vote of the citizenry that quickly. The family of Richard C. Green gave the land to the Y, our citizens donated thousands of dollars as evidenced by a plaque within the Y and the city has invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into the facility and grounds. To indicate that they have not been supported is a troubling statement.

2)     Address a means to take care of current and future deferred maintenance.

The city was told that the millions of dollars in deferred maintenance was non-negotiable. This is an expense that the city had no part in making, the decision to let the facility go this far without maintenance was made by the Y. We would entertain future maintenance decisions but to be able to come up with $2.1 million in deferred maintenances was unreasonable.

3)     Covering any losses the Y incurred for the next five (5) years.

Every meeting that we had with the Y this dollar amount changed. First it was $18,500 per month, then it went to nearly $40,000 per month and this last offer asked for $323, 844/ year or more based memberships, and was guaranteed for the next five years. This amounts to a blank check. We as overseers take our responsibility of the use and promise of use of the taxpayers money very seriously. This would not be fiscally prudent.

 Their requirements was that the City had to agree to all of these terms by the March 28th Y Board Meeting. David Byrd, YMCA President indicated that he would be unwilling to take any proposal we came up with to his board for consideration if these were not addressed. They were asked what amount of money that the Y was willing to offer and they indicated none. The city had already indicated that we could not meet these requirements without some consideration from the Y by way of a time extension any proposal or offer from the city would be moot. At that point, the city’s hands were tied.

 Attached to this release is the proposal document that the YMCA brought to the March 22 meeting. We regret that the city was not given the opportunity or time to see what our citizens could approve. They deserved better.

———————————–

* I am working on getting and posting or attaching the document mentioned above.

Below is the document referred to.  To see a larger version of the image, click on it. 

———————————–

 
Y_Proposal_March_22_Page_1_1024

 Y_Proposal_March_22_Page_2_1024

Wyandotte County & YMCA cut a deal

KMBC channel 9 reports that a deal has been cut to keep the Kansas City, Kansas YMCA open for a year.  For more on this story click HERE

Kansas City Star Editorial “YMCA stumbled while deciding to close its facilities”

A recent Kansas City Star editorial points out some of the mistakes made by the YMCA in both their decision and manner of deciding to close Raytown’s YMCA.  Click HERE to read the editorial. 

 

Pubic Comments on the YMCA closing at the Raytown Board of Aldermen meeting

The Aldermen Chambers were packed with people wanting to comment on the upcoming closing of the local YMCA and none of them were happy about it. The following people ask to speak to the Raytown Board of Aldermen.  Gary Grocning,  Cory Prochastea, Timothy Curry, Bill Haman, Anita Nebel, Larry Shiner, Henry Jass, Lee Moreland, Tony Taylor, Pam Clark, Linda Myers, Betty Loveland, Jerry Loveland, Phyllis Miller, Tom Day, Kathy Leclere, Witty Wittman, Steve Cushing, and Melanie Mullally.  

Important Facebook Group to Save the YMCA just click on the link

 Save Richard C. Green Sr. Family Center YMCA!

 

Joint Statement from Raytown City & Schools on YMCA closing

Joint Statement from the City of Raytown and the Raytown Quality Schools
In Re: Closure of the Raytown YMCA
March 20, 2013

Raytown, MO?Mayor David Bower and Superintendent of Schools Dr. Allan Markley, along with other city and school district officials met with YMCA Chair CEO David Byrd and other Y officials yesterday, to ask for a six-month extension of the closing of the Richard C. Green YMCA and to examine options for keeping our local Y open and operational. Sadly, no resolution was reached.

 In yesterday’s meeting, the YMCA declared the value of the Richard C. Green YMCA at $3 million based on comparable Y’s. The Y is firm on this selling price. In addition, the Y is indicating $2.1 million dollars in deferred maintenance which the building will need. This large asking price and large maintenance totals are not inclusive of the annual $1.2 million needed to operate the facility.

Previously, the Y indicated that monthly operating costs would be approximately $18,000 to extend the closing date. Yesterday, that number rose to near $40,000, and if the Y lost any more money, interested parties would have to agree to cover those costs as well. The city and school district agree there is no way citizens can be asked to provide a blank check to cover the potential expenses.

 It is our belief that the YMCA’s decision is strictly based on monetary reasons and does not match the Y’s stated mission of enriching the quality of family, spiritual, social, mental and physical well-being. We feel our outreach attempts were met with disinterest on the part of the Y and with a clear purpose to stick with the original intent to close the Raytown facility.

Both the city and the school district are disappointed in the short notice given to local citizens about the impending Y closure. Both groups had private meetings with Mark Hulet, Chief Strategic Alliance and Assets Officer, only days before the public announcement of the closure, limiting any actions the city or school district could have taken. However, yesterday’s inquiry regarding an extension was met with firm resolve on the part of the Y to stick to the original closing date.

 We regretfully inform our public about the lack of a positive joint resolution between the Y and the community, and we remain deeply discouraged and disappointed about the loss of the Raytown YMCA. Again, we were willing to work to come to a reasonable resolution, the YMCA was not. Our doors remain open.

New development on the YMCA

City and School District officials have met with the YMCA and the results were not productive. First reports indicate that the YMCA has raised the price they demand the government pay to keep the YMCA in Raytown open for a few months longer and they have raised the asking price for the building. A building sitting on land given to them by a Raytown resident and a building built with the help of Raytown donors and Raytown tax money.  Expect a more detailed report on this matter when press releases are received on this from our local government agencies involved. 

RaytownOnline supports saving the local YMCA and the petition drive. We can no longer support the “save my y”  website based on the questions they ask to allow registration and other factors.

Raytown South meeting on the closing of the YMCA

Petition Drive to Keep YMCA Open

YMCA of Greater Kansas City: Keep the Raytown YMCA open (Richard C. Green Sr Family YMCA)

There is a petition on Change.Org to keep the local YMCA open. If you are interested in signing the petition, click HERE.

Meeting about YMCA closing

MEETING LOCATION CHANGED

RQS Superintendent Addresses YMCA Closing, March 14, 6:00pm

Raytown Quality Schools Superintendent Dr. Allan Markley asks that you join him Thursday evening to discuss the closing next month of Raytown’s Richard C. Green Sr. Family YMCA. 

Click for closing details from the
KC Star Editorial, March 12

Thursday, March 14, 2013 at 6:00pm
Raytown Schools Education & Conference Center
10750 Highway 350, Raytown, MO 64138

Raytown South High School auditorium due to anticipated large numbers of attendees

What Can the Community Do?

More on the Closing of the Raytown YMCA

Thanks to RaytownOnline.com reader Jill Searcy for posting this to our Facebook timeline and thanks to KSHB for providing the code to embed their video.

Jill also provided a line to a facebook page Save Richard C. Green Sr. Family Center YMCA! which already has 277 fans.

YMCA Closing

350ymca

The Richard C. Green, Sr. Family YMCA on 350 Highway is closing.  April 12, 2013, will be the last day of operations.  Members are advised to use other area YMCA facilities.  An email to a local member of the facility states that the membership will be transfered automatically to the Cleaver Family YMCA, 7000 Troost, Kansas City, MO. 

Click HERE to read a Kansas City Star article on the closing of area YMCA’s

A copy of the Email sent to a Raytown YMCA member
_________________________________

Dear Richard C. Green, Sr. Family
YMCA Member,
 
Thank you for being part of our YMCA
of Greater Kansas City family and supporting our commitment to youth
development, healthy living and social responsibility. Like many other organizations
and individuals, we are faced with making changes as a result of today’s
difficult economic environment. After careful consideration, April 12, 2013,
will be our last day of operations at the Richard C. Green, Sr. Family
YMCA.
 
Challenges
facing the Richard C. Green, Sr. Family YMCA include continuing trends of
declining membership and program interest, an increase in people ending their
memberships, close proximity to other Ys and rising operating expenses.
 
We value your membership and want to
keep you in our Y family. We are available to talk to you about how you would
like to proceed with your membership.
 
To make this transition smooth for
you, if you would like to transfer your membership to the nearby Cleaver Family
YMCA, 7000 Troost, Kansas City, MO, you do not need to notify us. We will
automatically transfer your membership to the Cleaver Family YMCA. We will also
provide additional information about a special event to welcome members who are
transferring. ;
 
If you would prefer to transfer your
membership to another area YMCA or end your membership, simply call
816.360.3311, and we will assist you. This line is answered 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday. You may also
email MemberSupport@KansasCityYMCA.org.

 
Other area Ys include:
 
•
Blue Springs Family YMCA, 1300 Adams
Dairy Parkway, Blue Springs, MO 64014

•
Red Bridge Family YMCA, 11300 Holmes,
Kansas City, MO 64131

•
Linwood Family YMCA, 3800 E Linwood Boulevard,
Kansas City, MO 64128

If we do not hear from you by Monday,
March 25, your membership will be transferred to the Cleaver Family YMCA
effective April 1, 2013. Your Y membership has always included access to all
YMCA of Greater Kansas City locations, and you may begin using any of our Ys
immediately.
 
Feel free to contact us at
816.360.3311 or MemberSupport@KansasCityYMCA.org
with any questions or concerns. Thank you for your understanding and support.
 
Best
regards,
 
Gretchen Deaton
Chief Operating Officer/Chief Brand
Advancement Officer
 ;

YMCA of Greater Kansas City
3100 Broadway Street, Suite 1020 Kansas City, MO 64111

Phone: 816.561.9622 | Fax: 816.753.2908

www.KansasCityYMCA.org
;