YMCA’s future is uncertainPublished 6:03pm Saturday, December 29, 2012
After more than two months of intense efforts to pull together $1 million in donations, next week could prove the most decisive in the efforts to save the YMCA of Selma.
In October, YMCA officials announced they had reached an agreement with two of their three major debt holders that would have eliminated a significant portion of the YMCA’s debt. That agreement called on the YMCA to pay $1 million and the two financial institutions would then eliminate an additional $1 million in debt.
The deal was too good for the YMCA to pass up. The only question remained, what if the YMCA was not able to raise the $1 million by the Dec. 31 deadline?
“We really don’t know what’s going to happen,” YMCA of Selma executive director Bill Porter said Friday, admitting the YMCA has not yet raised the $1 million. “We are still hoping, still working. I have heard of a few, significant donations that are supposed to come in, but they are not in just yet.”
In an earlier interview with the Times-Journal Porter said if the YMCA is not able to reach their goal, the future of the YMCA is unknown.
“If we aren’t successful, then we no longer have control; we do not know what steps they would take,” Porter said, adding that it is possible the two financial institutions might decide to foreclose on the YMCA.
Also next week, the Selma City Council will reportedly discuss a proposed lodging fee increase at all Selma hotels that would go to support the YMCA.
While the $3 per night, per room additional lodging fee would help the YMCA — and the city of Selma — the fee would not help with the YMCA’s campaign to raise $1 million.
The fee, which has been discussed and debated at length during the past two months, has been reportedly stalled in the council’s administration committee.
Selma City Council president Corey Bowie said it is his plan to bring the discussion out of committee and make it a part of this week’s council work session.
“The YMCA is a key part, a key component, of the entire Selma community and we need to discuss this lodging fee plan,” Bowie said. “This will be a big part of our work session Thursday.”
As for the $1 million campaign, Porter said it remains crucial the YMCA continue its Christian-based mission in Selma; a mission that is more than 150 years in the making.
“We cannot let the YMCA close. If Selma were to lose this YMCA, after 150 years of history in Selma, it would be a travesty,” Porter said. “We’re going to do everything we can to make sure this YMCA is here for years to come.”
According to Porter, the current YMCA was built and completed based on pledges from individuals, families and businesses. The pledge drive at the time brought in commitments of $4.2 million.
In order to help encourage donations, the YMCA has created the “Why The Y?” campaign to show residents how much the YMCA means to Selma and the Dallas County community. Also, ymcaofselma.org has been created to provide an opportunity to make contributions online through PayPal.
Those seeking to make a donation or seek additional information on the “Why the Y?” campaign can also contact the YMCA of Selma at 874-9622.