City hears from citizens concerned about YMCA

Published 4:01 pm Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Several Atmore citizens attended the Atmore City Council meeting on Monday, where they voiced their concerns about the recent announcement that the Atmore Area YMCA might close Aug. 29.

Leigh Anne Jones said she was concerned that a number of citizens would have nowhere to go for their exercise and other activities. She especially pointed out that senior citizens and kids would be left without a safe place.

“Does the city have any plans to address the YMCA’s situation,” she asked.

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Atmore Mayor Jim Staff explained that the YMCA was a non-profit organization, and the city could not legally provide any financial support.

“I have two small children and I think about what I’m going to do when they go to school, during the summer,” she said. “Luckily we have family who can support us, but there’s only so much that family can do.”

After the meeting, most of the citizens in attendance signed a sheet pledging their support to work together to come up with solutions to the problem of the YMCA’s closing.

In other business, the council:

• Agreed to allow the Concerned Citizens of Atmore to have “Unity Day” at Houston Avery Park on Saturday, Aug. 9, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. The annual event will include free uniforms, free school supplies and free food, as well as other activities.

In case of rain, the event will be held Aug. 19, at the same time.

• Agreed to allow the Women of Distinction to have their annual fund raising walkathon on Saturday, Oct. 11, at Tom Byrne Park, from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

The walkathon helps raise money to buy gas cards for cancer patients in the community.

• Took no action on a request for a business license from John Frye, who sought to re-open the old “Chik-A-Dee” club, located at 55 Carver Ave., under the new name of “The Assembly Place.”

Mayor Jim Staff asked the council for a motion to consider the license application, but no council member made a motion.

Later in the meeting, Mary Frye asked why the council turned down the business license application.

Staff said that there was no motion made by a council member.

“Mary, apparently, there’s nobody here that wants it,” he said.

“I’m just asking for a regular license just to use my building,” Frye said.

“Yes ma’am, I understand,” Staff responded. “But we know what the experience has been there, and we know what it will be if it gets opened back up again. It will be just like some other places, and we’re just not going to let it happen.”

In previous meetings, Staff has explained that citizens regularly complained about the activity at the Chik-A-Dee, and that police had to come out to the location on multiple occasions. He has said it is not likely the location will ever be opened as a business again.

• Agreed to close Cruit Drive at the railroad tracks, on both the east and west sides.

“There’s no right of way there, and it does not belong to the city,” Staff said. “We’re not going to improve it, so we’re just going to close that.”