Sarasota YMCA to close 2 remaining fitness branches

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SARASOTA, Fla. (WFLA) – Some Sarasota residents will have to find a new place to work out after the YMCA announced its shuttering its two remaining fitness centers in the area.

The Evalyn Sadlier Jones Branch at Potter Park Drive and the Frank G. Berlin Sr. Branch on South Euclid Avenue will close permanently Friday, Sept. 13, Sarasota Family YMCA said in a statement.

The closure comes amid declining membership and program participation at both locations.

“Despite best efforts that were made to try to stabilize the operations of those fitness centers, they have operated at a financial loss for the past several years and the YMCA can no longer sustain them,” a letter to members reads.

According to the letter, the organization took substantial cost-cutting measures, such as merging the fitness centers with other YMCAs, and other actions, like raising money from members of the community, but “failed to make a measurable improvement.”

The closure was their “last possible alternative.”

Members will have access to both locations until 5 p.m. on Sept. 13. The last membership payment will be deducted on Aug. 15. Those who have prepaid their annual or semi-annual membership fee will receive a pro-rated refund, the letter states.

All other programs and sports activities will end on Sept. 13. Refunds will also be processed on a pro-rated basis. Before and after-school programs will continue at Southside, Gocio and Fruitville elementary schools, according to the letter.

“This is not the outcome we wanted. Our hearts go out to everyone in the extended Sarasota YMCA family affected by this. The YMCA exists to serve the needs of the community and it will continue that mission through our foster care and social services programs,” the letter continued. “With the closing of these fitness centers, the YMCA Board will be turning 100% of its focus to operating the YMCA’s ongoing foster care and social services programs that have served vulnerable populations in this community for many decades, including abused, neglected and at-risk children.”

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