Downtown YMCA opens doors one last time

YMCA closing
YMCA closing(KTTC)
Published: Apr. 23, 2022 at 7:46 PM CDT
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ROCHESTER, Minn. (KTTC) – Hundreds of community members lined up outside the former YMCA Saturday to say goodbye and grab some free gym equipment and other items as the Y downtown closes its doors for good.

“We got a pool and an office chair, some weights,” Rochester resident Laurie Biederman said.

“I got some things to spar with my friends, brothers, and all that. Have some fun with them. Got a garbage can and an office chair for my grandma,” Rochester resident Kayden Klingerman said.

“We were just looking for anything to help our student athletes and our students to just try to find ways to improve athletics. We have some dumbbell racks. We have some mats,” LeRoy-Ostrander Athletic Director & Dean of Students Trevor Carrier said.

Some waited for hours to get a chance to go inside.

“I was at the back of the line for the first part. I’m surprised I even got anything,” Klingerman said.

Although folks were able to get ahold of some useful items, it doesn’t go without some sadness.

“I am sad to see it go. I hope they get something else for the kids,” Biederman said.

YMCA staff members also feeling some emotions, but still happy to help give back to the community at the building one last time.

“We saw nothing but smiles. People were just really thrilled that the YMCA was able to open up their doors one last time for them to come into the facility and also take home with them some of the things they enjoyed while they were here at the YMCA,” YMCA VP of Operations Mike Lavin said.

The building is now up for sale, but the YMCA and its values are not going anywhere.

“Instead of having a physical location where people had to come to us, we’re gonna go to them,” Lavin said.

The YMCA team is planning to partner with different groups in the community to bring its mission to other organizations

“We have so many wonderful options going forward. We’re working with the community in places and spaces, figuring out what the new iteration of the Y will be,” YMCA Executive Director For Community Engagement Kristina Lemmer said.

The Y may no longer be downtown, but its presence isn’t going anywhere.

“We are inclusive, and we work to understand where the needs are in all the communities in which we serve, and we try to find our place and spaces in which we can fulfill and meet those needs,” Lemmer said.

Although the downtown Y-M-C-A is closed, the Y’s Early Childhood Learning Center which serves more than one hundred kids a day is still up and running for the community.

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