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Future of Downtown KCK Community Center

YMCA of Greater Kansas City
March 20, 2019

A joint statement from Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas (UG) and the YMCA of Greater Kansas City:

The Unified Government of Wyandotte County/Kansas City, Kansas (UG) and the YMCA of Greater Kansas City continue to explore ways to partner to deliver YMCA programs and services in Kansas City, Kansas. At this time, discussions to build a new YMCA in downtown KCK in partnership with the Unified Government have ended and the focus has turned to identifying opportunities and existing locations where YMCA programs could be offered.

Over the past six years, the YMCA and the Unified Government explored multiple options to build a new YMCA community center in downtown. The original plan called for a grocery store to be paired with a YMCA at another downtown location, but because of challenges to fund construction and operations of the facility, at this time there is not an option to build a new downtown YMCA that would be sustainable into the future.

The YMCA continues to serve KCK and Wyandotte County through the Providence YMCA/Ball Family Center, the Bonner Springs Family YMCA, and through programming at community sites in the downtown area. Also, the Unified Government and YMCA are looking at opportunities to provide YMCA nationally recognized programs at other locations in KCK.

The YMCA is grateful to the Unified Government for their support over the years. In 2013, after the YMCA announced declining membership would require the 8th Street Family YMCA to close, the Unified Government Commission agreed to subsidize YMCA operations until enrollment could be increased. Enrollment increased and the Unified Government ended its subsidy.

However, in March of 2018, the 105-year-old building showed signs of deterioration. Based on a structural engineer’s report, the 8th Street Family YMCA had to permanently close because of the deterioration and the concern this created for the safety of associates, members, and the community.

“We are grateful for the long history of service to our community provided by the YMCA,” said Mayor David Alvey. “The YMCA holds a special place in the hearts of many of our residents and we regret that we could not arrive at a sustainable model for a new facility. We have not closed the book on a new YMCA in future years, but we have closed a chapter in the book.”

The YMCA remains committed to KCK. “The YMCA is more than just a building, it’s a community of supporters, volunteers, and associates,” said John Mikos, interim CEO. “While we continue our long history of service in KCK through our Providence YMCA, and we also look forward to finding ways to add programs in downtown KCK.”

The Unified Government and the YMCA together thank the public for their patience throughout this conversation. We look forward to working together to improve the health of all members of the community.