DUANESBURG – Duanesburg resident Eric Capron will miss watching kids grow up playing basketball at the Capital District YMCA’s Duanesburg Branch.
The Capital District YMCA has announced that it will be keeping its Duanesburg branch closed after it shuttered its doors in 2020 when COVID-19 hit.
“The Capital District YMCA was proud to operate the Duanesburg branch from 2015 to 2022,” said J. David Brown the President and CEO in the announcement. “Unfortunately, in the post-COVID economy, it is no longer possible for the CDYMCA to continue to operate this facility.”
He said the organization’s budget has been cut in half since COVID-19, noting they weren’t able to continue operating all of its facilities and had to make difficult decisions.
In January the organization announced a temporary closure of the Schenectady branch wellness center due to declining use because of the coronavirus surge at the time.
However, the organization is expected to announce next week that the Schenectady branch will be reopening.
During the closure Duanesburg members have had access to other branches and Y360, the virtual platform for classes.
Capron said not having the facility open will be a great loss for the area.
“It’s a sad day for our community,” Capron said.
He said the branch is only five minutes from the high school and provided a place for students to walk to after the day was over and hangout–something needed in a rural area where homes are spread out.
Capron has been a YMCA member for 18 years and his family even used the facilities, with his kids playing basketball on courts he said rivaled some school districts.
But it’s not just the kids it will impact. He said many senior citizens in the area used the facilities for pickleball and exercising.
“I think you’re going to see a lot of people in our community cancel their membership,” Capron said.
Patricia Jean Baker said she wasn’t surprised it closed, but definitely disappointed.
The Delanson resident said she has traveled to both the one in Glenville and Guilderland, but said it took 20 to 30 minutes.
During the pandemic she said she purposely kept her membership hoping they would reopen the branch.
Now, with the location closed Baker is wondering what will happen to the building.
Employees were furloughed when the branch shut its doors in 2020 and since then they have either gone to other branches or found employment elsewhere, said Emily Lang, the director of Marketing.
The building is under 30,000 square feet, Lang said.
No decision has been made regarding what to do with the building.
“We’re still evaluating what we will do there in the future,” Brown said.
Capron said if the organization wants to sell the building it would be great if the school district, maybe in conjunction with another, could buy the facility and make it a training facility for sport teams, but also still allow community use.
Brown said the organization will still provide other services in the area. They include:
- Programming including the Circle of Champs and the Youth & Government Program
- Racial Equity and Inclusion including the Black & Latino Achievers Program and Community Forums
- Community Outreach including addressing critical food insecurity through food distributions
Current members can still use their membership at other branches and access the online classes, according to the announcement. The membership rate will remain the same until Sept. 30, at which point people’s memberships will transfer to another location of their choice.
Reporter Shenandoah Briere can be reached at [email protected]. Follow her on twitter @SB_DailyGazette.