To the editor:
The apparently “abrupt” decision to close the Independence YMCA was actually planned as long ago as 2007. According to a Y spokeswoman recently, community focus groups have been included in the decision for two years. Not included in the decision were the members, who were completely caught off guard. Perhaps if the members had been aware of the possibility of closing the Y earlier, there would have been considerable effort to prevent it by offering alternatives. It has happened successfully elsewhere.
Readers who are not Y members may not realize the impact of the Y’s closing. For those of us who have been long time-members, it is like the breakup of our family, which has caused much turmoil and sadness.
The daily topic at the Y is “where will you go,” but there is no other Independence facility that offers what the Y does in a multi-age setting. There are Silver Sneakers classes, but also child care. The warm water pool is suitable for arthritis sufferers, but also water volleyball, aerobics, swim lessons and family swim time. Besides the cardio and weight machines and classes, there are youth and adult sports, community outreach programs, rooms for socializing and numerous social and wellness events for all ages.
We aren’t just losing an exercise facility. We are losing a community center, built in large part with community donations, which has done much for this area. Revitalizing Kansas City at the expense of Independence should not be an option.