YMCA abruptly closes local operations

A group of angry residents clad in gym attire stood outside the Clovis Family YMCA on Friday afternoon. They had come to the YMCA to work out, and they were informed that it would be their last workout because the YMCA would be closed, effective Saturday.

CMI staff photo: Tony Bullocks

The Clovis Family YMCA at Hilltop Plaza is closing effective Saturday because of continuing financial losses, according to the YMCA of Central New Mexico.

The 10,000-square-foot health and wellness center in the Hilltop Plaza was opened two years ago.

"It's frustrating for me as a single father," said Mario Gonzales, who has a 9-year old son and works as a manager at Bank of America. "It's a family-oriented gym where I could bring my son. We could run on the treadmills next to each other, and he could see me enjoy living a healthy lifestyle."

The press release from the YMCA of Central New Mexico stated the Clovis facility "has proven itself to not be viable financially."

"This decision has been a difficult one for our staff and board members, but, financially, we had no other option," said Steve Paternoster, YMCA of Central New Mexico chief executive officer in the press release. "We feel saddened for the community members that have used the facility and taken part in programs."

Although the gym will be closing, YMCA after-school programs located at Cameo and Mesa Elementary schools will continue until May 22, the release said. The YMCA youth sports program will continue until the seasons end May 18.

Former Clovis Mayor Gayla Brumfield, who was involved in getting the Albuquerque-based YMCA program to open a branch in Clovis, said membership drives that were part of the city's plan for the YMCA, coupled with coordinating many programs through the city's recreation department equaled a membership of almost 800 in Clovis.

"Albuquerque was impressed," Brumfield said. "They called us and told us we were really doing well.

"It's so frustrating because we had a good thing going. Everybody's shocked. We thought we had a good thing going."

Brumfield said no city money changed hands in getting the organization to come to Clovis, but city staff did spend time drafting the plan and getting a board in place.

Refunds will be given to those have prepaid memberships or who have prepaid for a program such as youth summer camp, a press release stated. Refunds will be distributed within five to seven business days.

YMCA employees, who also learned Friday that the gym was closing, declined comment.

"It's the only gym with a day care," said Cathleen Angulo a mother of three. "It's (expletive) that they closed it without warning." Angulo said she works full-time at a government housing office, which makes it very hard to find the time to exercise. She said she does not know what she will do to solve her workout dilemma.

For questions relating to the closure of the Clovis Family YMCA call: 505-881-4787

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