Two Sarasota Family YMCA fitness centers will close permanently on Friday, September 13, 2019, at 5 p.m.: the Evalyn Sadlier Jones Branch at Potter Park Drive and the Frank G. Berlin Sr. Branch on South Euclid Avenue.
In a letter to YMCA members, Sarasota YMCA vice president and CEO Steven Bourne said that the fitness have operated at a financial loss for the past several years. and the YMCA can no longer sustain them. With their closing, the YMCA Board will be turning its focus to operating the Y’s ongoing foster care and social services programs, which have served vulnerable populations in the community for decades, including abused, neglected and at-risk children.
In his letter, Bourne added that YMCA leaders and board members considered closure of the fitness centers the last possible alternative. This decision was finally made after substantial cost cutting, changes to pricing, modifications of program offerings, and other actions failed to make a measurable improvement. "We reached out to the national YMCA organization and other Florida YMCA’s in an effort to merge the Sarasota fitness centers into other YMCAs, without success," Bourne wrote. "We also spoke with important funders in the community seeking financial support, but those efforts were not fruitful."
Members will have access to both fitness centers through 5 p.m. on Friday, September 13, 2019; their last membership payment will be on August 15, 2019. Members who have prepaid their annual or semi-annual membership fee will receive a pro-rated refund. Programs and sports activities will not continue past the closure date, and refunds will be processed on a pro-rated basis. However, before- and after-school programs will continue at the Southside, Gocio and Fruitville elementary schools.