Stolen ironwork is a setback for historic YMCA in St. Petersburg - WFLA News Channel 8

Stolen ironwork is a setback for historic YMCA in St. Petersburg

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ST. PETERSBURG, FL (WFLA) -

The movement to save the old YMCA building in downtown St. Petersburg is still afloat, but is facing a new challenge from vandals. The building is located on the corner of 5th Street and 1st Avenue South.

Tom Nestor, the head of the preservation effort, received some good news and bad news over the week-end. A donor stepped up to pay the $8,000 dollar monthly note due on the lease. But sadly during the same week-end, someone stole an ornate iron gate from a full length window. "There's only one piece like that and it only fits one window in the entire Tampa Bay area. So we'd like it back. We don't want to try to create that," said Nestor.

Not only is the gate a 100 year old one-of-a-kind piece, but it also leaves the building unsecured. Already, evidence of squatters can be seen inside the hall.

The gate is a minor set-back, but it's just one more piece to replace.

Built in 1926 , the five-story building originally included dormitory style rooms, a huge gymnasium, and even a pool in the basement.

Some architectural gems survive, like the painted cypress beams on the ceiling, the Mayan-themed stone fireplace, and the wrought iron window gates -- now, minus one.

While much of the 60,000 sq .ft. building is in disrepair, Nestor's vision is to transform it into a multi-use community music building." So you could swim in the pool to music, go see a show..learn how to play music, record music, go on the air with music with the radio station, or you could just come and enjoy music," said Nestor.

It would cost $1.4 million dollars to buy the building and about $5 million to renovate it.

Nestor formed a state-registered non-profit group, HistoricYMCA.com, and is looking for a major contributor to put up 360-thousand dollars to get the ball rolling.

But in the meantime, he'd like the iron-gate back please, no questions asked.

Anyone with information about who took the gate, or where it ended up, should call St. Petersburg Police, and reference police report 2013-004311.

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