The Lakewood YMCA in Durham got a four-month reprieve last week when the Triangle Y's Durham Board of Advisors voted to keep it open for the foreseeable future and explore all viable options for the building. (See "Lakewood Y facing uncertain future," June 13). Last month, Y officials told members Lakewood might close because it is losing $400,000 annually. The 41-year-old building also has electrical and heating/air-conditioning problems; nor is it handicapped-accessible. Since then, neighbors and Lakewood members have organized to brainstorm about ways to keep the Y open.
"We're about a long-term commitment," said Long Meadow Neighborhood Association President Chuck Clifton at a recent organizing meeting of the group, Save the Lakewood Y.
Residents fear the area will deteriorate if Lakewood closes or if the property is rezoned and its new use is incompatible with the neighborhood. The Lakewood Y is viewed as a stabilizing force and focal point in southwest-central Durham.
"A little thing can change a neighborhood" said Boyd Gibson, a Y member. "We don't want to lose any more neighborhoods."
Two members have already floated the idea of a "green" YMCA, which could qualify for federal and state construction grants. It would also save energy costs in the long term.
Over the summer, Y members, community leaders and the National YMCA will discuss alternatives; a recommendation is due to the Durham Board of Advisors by Oct. 15. If approved, it will be forwarded to the board of directors of YMCA of the Triangle. The board also recommended making upgrades to the Downtown YMCA.