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Nonprofit has interest in saving Brown YMCA building

A Selma nonprofit would like to renovate and reopen what used to be the Brown YMCA. The Circle of Love has pledged to put a new roof on the facility prior to a deed transfer.

A Selma nonprofit would like to renovate and reopen what used to be the Brown YMCA. The Circle of Love has pledged to put a new roof on the facility prior to a deed transfer.

A Selma nonprofit has expressed interest in saving the Brown YMCA building.

Circle of Love Outreach, founded in 2002 by pastor Gary Crum Sr., has pledged to put a new roof on the historic building.

Kimesha “Sunshine” Alvarado has addressed the council several times in recent weeks to express the outreach’s interest in the building. She hopes the offer to fix the roof would be seen as a good faith effort ahead of a future deed transfer.

“We are not going to go any further beyond that until the YMCA and the city makes a decision on the offer,” Alvarado said.

The YMCA of Selma and Dallas County, also called the Walker-Johnson YMCA, currently owns the property.

For the past three years, the city of Selma has had the option to buy the Brown building for $1 and then transfer to a nonprofit. The only stipulation was the building had to be used for “youth and adult programs and activities.”

Crum said Circle of Love would like to reopen the facility as a community center, especially for youth. The building would not reopen as a YMCA.

“To guys like myself who grew up in Selma, we would not be where we are without that facility,” Crum said. “Wonder why teenage crime is high in Selma? Because they have nothing to do. We didn’t get into stuff because that was our outlet. I think we can galvanize the community to get that facility open and get our children off the streets.”

For the past three years, the Walker-Johnson YMCA and a fund set aside to restore to Brown YMCA have divided the city’s $2 per night lodging fee, with $1.50 going to help the Walker-Johnson YMCA pay down debt and make capital improvements.

During that time, more than $300,000 has been raised for the Walker-Johnson YMCA and the Brown fund has grown to more than $100,000.

At a meeting earlier this month, the city council voted to evenly split the lodging fee between the two YMCAs.

Alvarado has asked the council to not allocate the Brown money until a decision is made on the Circle of Love’s proposal, which requests “past and future occupancy fee funds” for the “redevelopment of this facility for the recreational use for the youth in Selma.”

Crum said the nonprofit’s vision to rehab the Brown building would carry on with or without the lodging fee.

“We care nothing about the city funding. You can’t run that facility a year for $94,000 — that’s just your power bill,” Crum said. “We just want to … get a roof on that facility so we can start rehabbing it.”

Crum said the organization doesn’t want to compete with the YMCA and his family is members of the Walker-Johnson YMCA.

“I want to see the Y thrive. Every community needs a YMCA, but to have that facility just sitting there without kids having access to it is a travesty,” Crum said.