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Published: Monday, 8/10/2009

Questions surround Y closing

In regard to the YMCA: An institution in dire financial circumstances gives away property valued just under $500,000 without trying to get something for it. Is there something we don't know?

The CEO, his wife, and daughter-in-law in high- paying executive positions in the same organization smacks of nepotism at the highest level. Ability is not a factor in this situation. It not only smells, it stinks.

The excuse expressed for the need to pay high salaries - to obtain and retain talent - is the same one used by the failed financial institutions whose CEOs led them down the drain.

Most of all: Was or is the board of directors asleep, incompetent, or sycophants to allow such a condition to develop and exist?

Ray Szymanski

Coolidge Parkway

I have taught gymnastics at the South YMCA for more than 26 years. More than 85 percent of the 1,200 kids who participate at the gymnastics center come from outside of the South Y service area. I understand how difficult but necessary the decision was to close the South Y building. The YMCA is about kids, programs, and quality staff, not buildings.

All of South's programs will continue and relocate to other community and YMCA facilities, many of which are in the neighborhood. The gymnastics staff, equipment, and programming will move to the Fort Meigs YMCA Super Sports Zone site in Perrysburg on Eckel Junction Road. This former private gymnastics club building offers a larger elevated observation deck, better sight lines, new air-conditioning, great access from I-475, and plenty of parking. It also offers space for immediate expansion to handle the continuing growth of our gymnastics program. We outgrew the South Y space many years ago. In fact, we have been working for awhile to build or locate a new site for the gymnastics program that would be centrally located. This work continues.

A Blade reporter asked me what I thought about Robert Alexander's salary. I told her that "I would not want to do his job for any amount of money." I explained that I had worked for the YMCA long before he came to Toledo and that Mr. Alexander has made many positive changes to the YMCA/JCC. Those improvements are for someone else to quantify, not me. None of my comments, however, seemed to fit into the articles that have been published, so I wanted to find another way to communicate them.

Casey Koenig

Maumee

A recent letter had a few mistakes that I feel compelled to address.

Pastor Lee Powell of CedarCreek Church did not, and would never so boldly proclaim, that any specific area of Toledo is "unchurched." It is Cedar Creek's mission statement "to reach the unchurched." As people who represent Christ as we walk through life, we strive to achieve this in many ways. Through outreach programs, like Beyond Our Walls; with numerous and continuing community services, or simply inviting someone to visit CedarCreek. Please, feel free to enter CedarCreek's doors any weekend. Come see for yourself what we're all about.

Since I grew up in the Catholic church, I'm not exactly sure what a big-box church feels like. But I am certain that at CedarCreek we are anything but.

Sherry Wohlfarth

Boyd Street

The closing of the YMCA in South Toledo is just one more thing that is causing the death of the City of Toledo. Too long have we been satisfied with our leaders taking the easy way out of all of the city's problems. We now have no manufacturing base, streets are in very bad repair. Neighborhoods are in decline; everyone is bailing out rather than fixing the problems.

The closing of the YMCA is a good example of the easy way out. Why isn't someone or group seeking a fix to the problem? Isn't it just easier to close it. After all, Toledo has never tried to help keep or find a manufacturer, at least never tried very hard.

Flowers planted around town are not going to attract anyone to move here. But throw out some financial aid and see how they perk up. And I mean real financial aid.

We need someone who knows how to get things done and we also need people to let them do it, not fight them all the way. You can see every day what negativity has done to this once beautiful, vibrant city.

Oh, to bring back the days of the 1950s. Now there was a great city.

Robert W. Murray

Coldwater, Mich.

Darts to the YMCA board of directors and CedarCreek Church for the manner in which the fate of the South Branch YMCA was handled. To execute a decision of such magnitude without any community involvement is inexcusable.

To the leaders of CedarCreek, I would like to recommend the vacant former site of Value City on the Anthony Wayne Trail. There is ample parking, so no need to encroach on city property.

To the YMCA board of directors, I call into question your status as a nonprofit institution. I believe this decision indicates a loss of mission to provide community support and services for areas in need. Yes, surpluses from more affluent areas are used to support areas less funded. That is the point.

I suggest the Y forfeit its status as a nonprofit institution. I have a perfect proposal for the resulting tax revenue: Fund a community center with a pool, fitness facility, and day care at 1226 Woodsdale Park Dr. in South Toledo.

I can only hope that the members of the Greater Toledo Area YMCA/JCC can hold true to the vision of George Williams and prevent a tremendous mistake from occurring.

Melissa Todd

Broadway

I was glad to hear that CedarCreek Church was looking into the South YMCA property. Finally, a positive organization sees the value of the area and is going to make use of what would be a empty building.

One of the reasons CedarCreek is so successful is its strong leadership. This area should have been redeveloped years ago. We have one of the best zoos in the United States and nothing in the area to complement it. If COSI had moved to the area along with a small hotel, it would have created a destination.

Any development in Toledo in this economy is good development. This will be a great addition to the area.

Brian Malkowski

Gilbert Road

I fail to understand The Blade's opposition to border security.

We deserve to be protected from the illegal traffic of goods and people. Passports have made border crossings easier. In bridge crossings to Windsor, we have been treated professionally with minimum delays.

All of our borders should have at least this level of security. It is a small price to pay for our citizens' safety.

Ron Blaser

Maumee

We need a new direction in energy. Sometimes we have to suck it up and do the right thing. We all know that wind and solar are the right things for our planet.

This would create more new jobs and a cleaner environment as well.

Fossil-burning fuels may put money in someone s pocket, but they cost too much in dirty air, water, and soil. This causes a sicker society and a sick planet [and] more corporate greed. Stop and think.

MILLICENT MARQUART

Perrysburg



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