Brown YMCA future up for discussion

Published 9:21 pm Tuesday, April 19, 2016

As of right now, there is only one nonprofit organization taking an active role toward potentially taking ownership of the Brown YMCA.

Edmundite Missions is holding an open meeting at the Center of Hope, located at 1107 Griffin Avenue, at 5 p.m. Wednesday to discuss how the property could be used.

“We want to hear what is the community thinking and what is the community’s desire and as best as we can to try and meet some of those needs,” said Edmundite Missions president and CEO Chad McEachern.

The other nonprofit organization that had previously expressed interest in purchasing the Brown YMCA was Circle of Love Outreach, Inc. Its founder, Gary Crum, said his organization is no longer interested in purchasing the building.

Crum said Edmundites’ interest in the purchase had no effect on Circle of Love, and he hopes the Brown YMCA is purchased for the good of Selma’s youth.

“I’m supportive of anybody that is going put it to necessary good use for our kids,” Crum said.

McEachern said he is also interested in benefiting the youth of Selma, but he is curious to find out what the community wants to do with the building before he goes further into the process.

“In Selma, so many things start and stop. That’s one thing that we will not allow to happen,” McEachern said. “We want to have something that is sustainable, something that can be managed and something that transforms the neighborhood and the lives of the folks that we serve.”

Edmundite is in the process of investigating the building to see if it is something worth renovating.

On March 24, Brown YMCA Chief Volunteer Officer Ray Thomas sent a letter to Edmundite, allowing the organization a six-month investigation period.

The investigation period ends on Nov. 15. McEachern said there are plenty of questions that need answering before then.

“Is it better to start with something brand new that is a newer, more modern space for folks? There are lots of variables,” McEachern said. “We don’t have all the answers yet. In the end, it could be that it just does not fit in with the ultimate objective of the mission.”

The Edmundite motto says to “Do the best we can with what little we have, to serve the most in need.”

“I think it would be nice if the property continued to serve the community in some way,” Thomas said.

With many factors still in play, McEachern and Thomas both said the potential sale of the YMCA is still in the early stages. Thomas said he’s not rooting for one organization over another to purchase the building.

“We would see it as a good thing if it could be owned by a 501c3 that would use it for some beneficial purpose,” Thomas said. “We’re not financially in a position to do that. If there is an organization that is in a position to do that, we would like to see that happen.”

About Justin Fedich

Staff writer for The Selma Times-Journal.

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