By Brandon Martin
The Collinsville YMCA announced over social media on Feb. 13, that they will be closing their outdoor pool amid financial pressures.
“Certainly in the last five years we have seen the numbers drop in pool attendance at the same time cost have escalated,” said Brad Kinkema, Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of the Martinsville-Henry County YMCA. “In the last five or six years we have invested tens of thousands in pool renovations and repairs. In looking at the next five years it could easily be double that in repairs and new equipment.”
According to their post, the outdoor pool costs over $32,000 a year to run even though the pool is only open eleven weeks out of the summer. That amount doesn’t include costs such as repairs and new equipment either.
“People have an affinity for the Collinsville pool,” Kinkema said. “Many learned to swim there and there is a great deal of emotional attachment. So in general people are sad to see it close, just as we are sad to close it. Most are understanding that it is a business decision.”
He said there currently aren’t any plans for how the YMCA will use the space left by the pool but the money saved from closing down the pool could be used for other needs around the facility.
“Currently the YMCA has about $800,000 in deferred maintenance that needs to be addressed. This includes roof work, new HVAC systems for both indoor pools, repaving the parking lot, and much more,” he added. “All savings will go towards those facility needs.”
The YMCA has reached an agreement with the Fieldale pool in order to allow their day campers to still have a place to swim.
“We are excited to partner with them,” Kinkema said. “Campers will swim two days a week unless there is a fieldtrip in which case it will be one day on field trip week.”
He said there won’t be an additional fee to use the pool but “there will be a modest increase to camp fees as we do almost every summer.”
The partnership doesn’t stop with day campers either, according to Kinkema, who added that YMCA members can also use the Fieldale pool on a discounted membership. YMCA members will get $50 off the single and double memberships and $75 off the family membership.
Kinkema also pushed back on concerns that the YMCA was looking to close the facility altogether.
“Currently the YMCA operates afterschool care, day camp and adult volleyball out of the Collinsville Y(MCA) and Henry County Parks and Recreation offers yoga, senior programs, cheerleading and youth volleyball. The facility stays very busy and both the YMCA and the county only see it being utilized more in the future,” he said.