Responding to talk of internal discussions about possibly shuttering Santa Clarita’s McBean YMCA as early as Dec. 1, the head of the YMCA of Metropolitan Los Angeles told The Signal this week, “We are not closing.”
Mark Dengler, chief operating officer of the Metro L.A. YMCA, which governs 26 Y’s including McBean, said, “There was never a plan to close McBean or any of our 26 Y’s.”
“There is no story,” he said.
But there was a story back in September, when two members of the McBean Y’s Board of Managers told The Signal there had been discussions of possibly closing the Santa Clarita facility in December. Dengler did not respond to inquiries from The Signal at that time.
Colin Jones, chairman of the McBean Y’s board, and Morris Thomas, a board member, said in September that there had been closure discussions about McBean as the Metro Y looked to transition to a new facility in the Five Knolls section of Santa Clarita – a site only recently donated, where ground has not even been broken.
At the time, Jones said of the McBean location, “I believe we will be open on Dec. 2 and beyond’’ — though he would not go on the record as to how long that “beyond” might stretch.
Thomas, back in September, said McBean officials had been told in “June or July” of the Metro board’s recommendation to shutter McBean on Dec. 1 – and that that date had been reiterated to McBean officials in a September conference call with Metro officials. Thomas also said the Metro board’s plan to swing the ax on McBean was financially driven.
This week, ahead of that rumored Dec. 1 closing, Jones was asked for an update – and he referred all inquiries to Dengler, who was emphatic that no McBean closing is at hand.
Dengler also said Thomas’ take on the situation back in September was not correct.
Meanwhile, Dengler said the Metro Y’s long-term goals in the Santa Clarita area are centered on 3.8 acres of recently donated land in the Five Knolls section – the home, eventually, of a new Y facility.
But he said plans for that new facility are still in the nascent stage. It won’t be until “the early part of next year,” he said, that a feasibility study will even be commenced “to define what the (new) building would be.”
Fundraising for the new facility is also just beginning, he said.
“We’re going to look for partners — that defines the timetable” of the Five Knolls project, he said.
In the meantime, regarding McBean’s future, Dengler stressed, “There are no plans in 2016 or 2017 to close that Y – we are working to keep it successful.’’