• 72°

YMCA closes doors for good

The Atmore Area YMCA closed its doors for the final time on Nov. 30, 2018.

The YMCA has been providing community services in Atmore for the past 23 years.

In 1995, the YMCA was incorporated, commencing public service in the historic Atmore high school building.

According to a press release, the following excerpt is from the Articles of Incorporation: “The YMCA’s purpose shall be to help persons develop Christian personalities and to aid in building a Christian society through the improvement of physical, mental, social, moral and educational conditions of persons who participate in YMCA programs and the community served by this Association.”

From 1995 until 2004, the YMCA resided in the “old” Atmore High School, which served as a community center operated by the Atmore Lions Club. A significant change to business operations and costs occurred in 2004 when the Lions Club sold the facility to the YMCA for the sum of $10.

“With ownership, came the fiscal burden of the building’s occupancy and ground’s maintenance expenses,” Atmore YMCA CEO Paul Chason said. “This cost was in addition to operating expenses required to support the myriad of youth, adult programs and assorted community services.”

Chason said since the YMCA assumed ownership of the building, the Poarch Creek Indians, many local businesses, civic organizations and individuals have contributed large sums of money to upgrade the facility and to support daily operational costs.

“The monies were dispensed on new flooring throughout the facility, lots of fresh paint, new windows and a new roof for all sloped surfaces; however, many facility requirements were unmet and remained unfunded,” he said in a release.

In June of 2014, we announced our intent to close because of large recurring expenses and a small recurring revenue stream, Chason said.

“Our wonderful community stepped up and took proactive measures to keep the YMCA open, allowing the YMCA to continue providing services for our community,” he said. “Without sustained community financial support, we would not have operated another four plus years.”

Beginning in September 2017, our membership began to decline and has continued this negative trend for eleven of the past 14 months, Chason said.

“From January to September of 2018, our membership revenue declined by just over $17,000 dollars compared to the same period in 2017,” he said. “Further, our program revenue declined by approximately $29,000 during the same period compared to 2017. The overwhelming fiscal challenges have taken the final toll – the end of an era that started in June of 1995.”

In order to close in the black, Chason said an estate sale was held on Dec. 8-9 to help pay off the deficit.

“Faced with a projected financial deficit of approximately $6,000 on Dec. 31, the YMCA would not have been able to pay utility bills and other debts for services occurring in December,” he said in a release. “We needed to raise money and opted to conduct an estate type sale of assets to meet our financial obligations, and to reduce assets as part of the dissolution process.”

Chason said in a release that the sales raised enough money to pay all of the YMCA’s debt and for utilities.

Additionally, the YMCA donated many of its assets to local organizations.

The following organizations received donations from the YMCA:

– First Baptist Church, Bratt

– United Bank

– Atmore Historic Society

– Pride of Atmore

– Rachael Patterson Elementary School

– Escambia County High School

– Atmore Sail Center

– Atmore Chamber of Commerce

– And the Greater Escambia Council for the Arts

Vin-Tiques helped coordinate the estate sales.

The YMCA thanks you, our community for your support and sincerely appreciates everything you’ve done to help us continue our mission, Chason said in a release.