News

Members of Page Mill YMCA protest closure

Nonprofit execs say costs of remodeling are prohibitive

Following the YMCA's sudden announcement in late June that the organization would be closing its Page Mill Road facility in Palo Alto this fall, members have expressed outrage over the decision, angry that they were not consulted beforehand and suspicious of the reasoning behind the closure of the 35-year-old community institution.

"This is a community. This is not the closing of a Walmart or 7-Eleven," said Paul Doiron, one of more than 20 members who gathered outside the gym Tuesday morning to air their concerns about the closure. "This is a very unique and special place. Everybody is vehemently opposed to this decision that we were broadsided (on). ... There was no discussion."

YMCA leadership maintains that the impending end of its lease of the basement space at 755 Page Mill Road meant re-evaluating whether renewing the lease for another 10 years, which would mean a host of renovations they view as necessary, was worth it.

"The board of directors assessed the situation thoroughly before making the decision, and it was really hard for them," said Elizabeth Jordan, chief operations officer of the YMCA of Silicon Valley. "They did not want to impact people, but unfortunately, we have the biggest responsibility as a not-for-profit to be able to put our resources where they have the greatest impact. Signing onto a 10-year lease in a property that was really at the end of its useful lifespan is just something we couldn't do."

Jordan said plumbing that leads into the facility's whirlpools is 30 years old, breaks down often and needs to be updated, but some parts are no longer available. The gym's downstairs cycling room has "extremely poor ventilation," she said, but rebuilding the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system would cost close to $150,000 -- not including the costs of getting construction equipment into the basement.

Signing onto another 10 years would mean replacing a lift installed on a stairwell to carry members who cannot walk up or down stairs with an elevator, Jordan said, and "figuring out where to put that and where to install it is insurmountable."

"It would have cost an inordinate amount of money to make it work," she said.

Members have also complained about the lack of natural light in the underground facility, but there's no way to build up or even out, she added.

Many of the members gathered on Tuesday said they don't mind the lack of light, have never complained about it and are pleased with the facility.

"We'd be happy to have it stay the way it is," one man said. "We like it. There's no reason to close it. From the customer's point of view, there's no reason to close it."

"The facility itself is no great thing but it is adequate," member Sandra Weiss said. "It's the instructors, the classes they give. ... People like the equipment ... but the big thing really is the people and the community. It's astounding."

What members are most upset about is the loss of this deeply connected, supportive and comfortable community that they say does not exist at the other local YMCAs to which Page Mill members could transfer when Page Mill closes on Oct. 1. The closest locations are the Palo Alto Family YMCA on Ross Road in Palo Alto and the Lewis and Joan Platt East Palo Alto Family YMCA on Bell Street; a bit farther flung are the Sequoia YMCA in Redwood City and the El Camino YMCA in Mountain View. Page Mill members can patronize any of these gyms -- or any Bay Area YMCA -- now and through Dec. 31 for free, Jordan said in June. In January, the organization will ask members to select a "home branch" they would like to join, which they can do without paying the standard joining fee.

Page Mill members are concerned that the other gyms will not be able to accommodate an influx of transferring members, especially the Ross Road facility, which many say is overcrowded.

Magen Jensen, who's been a YMCA member since 1980, said on Tuesday that the Palo Alto Family YMCA does not compare to Page Mill.

"I just came from Ross," she said. "You're always fighting for parking, for showers, and children are running around; there's lots of noise. ... It's a totally different environment. This (Page Mill) has been home for all of us."

The Palo Alto Family YMCA serves 4,201 membership units -- which could be a single person or a family -- compared to Page Mill's 1,401 units, according to David Low, YMCA of Silicon Valley's director of marketing communications. The East Palo Alto gym serves 991 units and Redwood City, 1,740.

"In any comparison of membership size, it's important to recognize that no two Y locations are identical," Low noted in an email. "Each is unique in size, amenities and programming, which is why you see a wide variation among Y's in the area."

Jordan said they are not worried about crowding at the other YMCAs, citing the fact that 45 percent of Page Mill members live outside of Palo Alto and so, come October, might chose a gym near where they live -- whether or not that is a YMCA facility.

"We anticipate that they will either look for a location closer to home if they want to stay with the Y or they may choose one of the other options in the area that provides fitness programming," she said.

Page Mill's membership demographics also differs from other local facilities, with a higher percentage of adult membership than the nearby Y's, Low said. Approximately 23 percent of Page Mill members are older than 65 years old compared to 14 percent at the Palo Alto Family YMCA and 21 percent at the Redwood City gym, he said.

Older members say they feel more comfortable and welcomed at Page Mill than other locations they have visited. Many view the closure as an indication that the YMCA's model is becoming more family- and youth-oriented rather than senior-friendly.

Many who spoke Tuesday have been members for more than 20 years; one 59-year-old woman joined at 24 when she was unmarried and with no children and has brought her entire family through the facility.

A younger mother with two daughters, one 5 and one 7, has also been going to Page Mill since before she was married and with children. Her parents also belong.

Members said that they're prepared to fight the YMCA's decision and are considering taking legal action against the organization. Member Chuck Kinney said Tuesday that he has consulted with two members who are attorneys about this possibility. The attorneys refused to comment for this story, and Kinney said they are not sure what specific legal action they could take.

"We'd prefer not to (take legal action), but it may come to that point," he said.

A petition circulating to keep Page Mill open had more than 300 signatures on Tuesday. But if leadership won't change their mind -- and Jordan has said the recent outcry has not impacted the decision, which will not be reversed -- they said they're ready to go elsewhere.

"If they do close, and I hope they don't, I'll go anywhere else besides the Y," one man said.

Property owner Robert Wheatley told the Weekly Wednesday that he, too, was shocked by the YMCA's decision.

"We kind of thought they would stay," he said. "We've had this great relationship. We both realize there would have to be a major renovation done to the facility just to keep up with what's needed. So it's up to them to decide how to move forward."

He said he's already been contacted by people interested in the space, both "people related to gym uses" and others. He said he has heard rumblings about members interested in renting or somehow keeping the space as a gym under a different umbrella, but he doesn't "know of any offer or indication that anyone is seriously considering asking us to sign a lease to stay there."

He said an option like that would have to be "weighed against everything else" and that regardless of who takes over the space, a remodel is necessary.

"The space is old. They've been there for 35 years," he said.

Jordan said that the YMCA would "be happy to help in any capacity if members wanted to try to create a community center.

"We also know, like I said, that the facility is going to need some major rework if its going to remain. ... I wish we could stay, but unfortunately, it's not what were going be able to do."

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Offer solutions and serve, rther than just making demands for service
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 10, 2014 at 10:50 am

The YMCA is a non-profit. Rather than protest, why don't you organize and offer to help fundraise to solve the problems that you want solved? Offer meaningful solutions and community service.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 10, 2014 at 10:50 am

I hope the members can get the support they need to keep the gym open.

Perhaps getting some corporate sponsorship or another organization to take over the gym would work.

It is amazing to me that in this day and age where everyone talks about obesity and the need for more healthy exercise and life styles in everyone's lives, particularly for seniors, a well used gym is closing in such a supposedly affluent community for want of some funding for renovations.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Are you kidding me
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 10, 2014 at 10:56 am

Okay, Elizabeth obviously has never been to the The branch as she rarely probably ever leaves her kingdom At the Association office. Page Mill has an elevator right next to the steps that members use when they cannot manage the stairs. Overall I agree put Page Mill out of its misery: The place is a dump, water intrusion is a huge problem, the carpets are moldy And the showers disgusting. East Palo Alto is absolutely beautiful eco-friendly, however beware the screaming kids during kids camp and don't expect big towels for some ridiculous reason they do not offer them to members pain almost $80 a month :-)Also the locker room was not well thought out and can be overrun by screaming kids shades of Ross Road :-) one solution is the JCC which is actually really nice.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Used both Ross and Page Mill
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 10, 2014 at 11:20 am

I completely agree that the Ross facility is much more family oriented, and that uninhibited children parading throughout the facility is at times distracting. As a frequent Ross Y user, I think parking woes are overstated.

I find it disappointing that many of these Y members fighting to keep Page Mill open are threatening lawsuits or to never return to the Y organization if Page Mill closes. It's the wrong spirit. They correctly point out that the Y has fostered an incredible, mature community at the PM Y, and it seems childish to demonize the Y for what appears to be a decision with a reasonable explanation. I'd love to see PM Y members start a Kickstarter or otherwise find funding to see if they can work with Y to make the necessary renovations.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Not happy with the Y
a resident of Egan Middle School (Los Altos)
on Jul 10, 2014 at 11:23 am

The Y appears to be under poor leadership these days...after increasing the cost of after school care by up to 110% for Mountain View & Los Altos families, they are now closing the Page Mill Y. They failed to notify the members in both incidences.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Naked at the Page Mill Y
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 10, 2014 at 12:42 pm

As a user of the Page Mill YMCA I see a certain similarity to the sudden closure of the Betty Wright Swim Center at Abilities United.
Again, a non-profit with limited monies. Very fast decisions to close each facility due to mounting and expensive repairs. Both were/are unique and served many in the community for many years. Could someone or some group step in and help "Save" the Page Mill YMCA? It has a valuable function for our diverse population.

The Page Mill YMCA has a landlord that might be willing to be part of the solution. Perhaps the monthly fees for the Page Mill location could be raised to those users only? Maybe a public event in the parking lot to raise funds for a capital improvement campaign could bring attention to the plight.

Just because the facility is old doesn't mean it is beyond redemption. Hell, the naked "Over the Hill" crowd in the sauna each evening spend their evenings at the Page Mill Y seeking redemption from the cruel consequences of aging!

Hoping for a solution,
Naked



 +   Like this comment
Posted by Gethin
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 10, 2014 at 12:46 pm

Gethin is a registered user.

I have been a member of the Palo Alto Square Y for over 6 years until I cancelled my membership this year. Slowly over the years the quality of the machines, their maintenance, the facility and the staff has declined. Frequently, and too frequently for me, their machines are out of action and the repair time seems to take longer and longer. My impression is that the staff became less and less responsive. I can easily imagine that rectifying all of this would be an expensive proposition and probably not a justifiable solution. I would see it as definitely time for a change and I think the Y's plan makes good sense. Yes its disappointing for some of the members but the Y is a business and needs to be free to make its own decisions. Its time to close it and move on.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Whiskers
a resident of Los Altos
on Jul 10, 2014 at 12:54 pm

Whiskers is a registered user.

Why can't they lease the property on a year to year basis? When I had an office in Mountain View the owners wanted a five year lease. When I explained I couldn't do that because of the uncertainty of my business, but would do a yearly lease. They were okay with that and I ended up staying another ten years.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Jimmy Joe
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 10, 2014 at 1:37 pm

It's clear that Active Older Adults are no longer in the YMCA demographic. And that's BS of the highest order.S


 +   Like this comment
Posted by John Fredrich
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 10, 2014 at 2:49 pm

Given, the facilities and many of its patrons are decrepit and in need of intervention.
I am not sure how walking away from those facts is a desirable approach and question the thinking here.

I have been a member at Page Mill since the JCC at Terman closed in order to re-open the middle school there.
The limitations at Page Mill are more than offset by the sense of community and shared responsibilities.
Elizabeth Jordan appears to be extraordinarily obtuse in both her thinking and rhetoric, and one has to wonder if the National Council of the YMCA in Chicago has any role in supervising this type of public posture.

The YMCA seems to be doing incredible damage to its brand by the way in which they have engineered this shutdown.
One week they feature in the lobby a large poster thanking the community for the annual fund raising drive that raised $160,000 , the next week the dime drops on the closing in October.
Counsel with clients prior to the announcement--Zero.
We may be old, but we're not dead or stupid.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 10, 2014 at 2:50 pm

The Page Mill is being closed because we are too old. We no longer fit the profile of the YMCA which is kids and families. There is no structural reason to close the building for renovations. It is up to code as is and the members do not want to expand it. The landlord wants us to stay and the rent is reasonable. There has been no financial information provided by the Executive Director to support any economic reason to close the site. The Executive Team has refused repeated requests to meet with the Page Mill members as a group. This is a decision by the Executive Director of the Silicon Valley YCMA


 +   Like this comment
Posted by BottomLine
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 10, 2014 at 3:01 pm

The YMCA Silicon Valley Executive team refuses to meet with the members. They are making false statements about the property. They refuse to provide the actual numbers they that say they used to make the decision. They are acting in a vacuum.

In most companies share holders "members" would be calling for the Board's and the Executive Director removal. How about it, members?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jul 10, 2014 at 3:11 pm

[Post removed due to copyright infringement.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Freedom of Speech
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jul 10, 2014 at 3:20 pm

Posted by Freedom of Speech,PMCA of SV, Intimidation, a resident of Adobe-Meadows
1 hour ago

Have you noticed all the "black shirts" from the association office hanging about in the lobby? They are intimidating members and making certain that the PMYMCA staff members say the right thing. The YMCA of SV knows that the PMYCMA staff are as upset as the members about the closing. The PMYMCA staff have strict orders to refer everyone over to the EPYMCA and not discuss the lease. PMYMCS staff members will be without jobs soon unless they prove to be loyal to the YMCA of SV not the members of PMYMCA. It was next to impossible to find a YMCA executive staff member on the floor before this odious decision. Now Matt and the gang are out watching who is talking to whom, busy taking down signs, emails, petition, and reporting back to the YMCA of SV executive staff. This all seems to be way too Orwellian and goes against what the YMCA was supposed to stand for. Bad press is taking its toll on the YMCA of SV executive staff. Maybe it's time to call for their ouster.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by SV_YMCA_sucks
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 10, 2014 at 3:40 pm

Freedom of Speech is correct. I posted about the SV YMCA staff and their polo shirts last week.

I'm hating going to Page Mill these days because of the SV YMCA's staff "working the floor." It feels very unwelcoming and totalitarian. If SV YMCA were honest and forthright, they would not be behaving in this manner. It's downright disrespectful and dishonest. If they were secure in their reasoning and decisions, they would at least meet with the community as requested, not resort to divide and conquer.

Shame on SV YMCA and their COO, Elizabeth Jordan. Disgraceful.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Y Member
a resident of Fairmeadow School
on Jul 10, 2014 at 4:59 pm

There's a reason I work out at Page Mill. Ross Road is overrun with children: unattended children who stand in the showers for 10 minutes staring at the ground while the water runs and there is a 6-person line forming, children who loud playful screams reverberate off of the tiled locker room walls, and who completely take over the facility on weekends during family programs.

Ross Road is crowded. I defy you to get a treadmill before 8am or after 5pm. The weights area is usually unusably packed during these times as well. Parking is insane whenever I go, and the Russian church across the street uses the Y parking lot too on weekends.

Many members members at Ross Road are petty and rude, spit loudly in the pool and locker rooms, and get irritated if you join their lap lane. I have had other members complain to staff that I was breathing too loudly on my treadmill. It's CARDIO.

Ross Road is a YMCA for families, which is fine until they expect that branch to absorb the disenfranchised adult Page Mill members. Let's wait and see if the adjacent residents approve any construction or facility expansion; though Ross Road has been there far longer than any of their homes, I promise you it won't happen.

The El Camino Y is just as crowded, but lacks the personal community feel of either Page Mill or Ross Road. The East Palo Alto is also a ghost town most of the time because many community members can't justify paying for a gym membership, and West Palo Altans won't use it because they still think they're going to get shot or instantly addicted to crack if they turn the wrong way on University. It makes no sense to close a busy branch like Page Mill.

I heard Gold's Gym is something like $20 a month. That's where I'll be if they close Page Mill.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by ParkingatRossRoad
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 10, 2014 at 5:08 pm

The City of Palo Alto has drafted this proposal regarding parking in residential areas. Ross Road YMCA is going to have major problems with its current parking let allow all the new members' cars.

Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by SanJoseMercarticle
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 10, 2014 at 5:15 pm

Please read the following article by: Jason Green at the San Jose Mercury News

Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by John
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 10, 2014 at 5:22 pm

Doesn't anyone remember that YMCA stands for YOUNG Men's Christian Association?


 +   1 person likes this
Posted by Dino
a resident of Downtown North
on Jul 10, 2014 at 6:49 pm

Instead of my yearly donation to the YMCA in the future I will give my donation to the Peninsula Humane Society, they treat their animals better than the YMCA does.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mark Dinan
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 10, 2014 at 6:49 pm

The East Palo Alto YMCA is well run, a superb facility with a beautiful outdoor pool, and is located just across the 101 from Palo Alto. It is a great option for those looking for another option. I have been working out there for five years, and love it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Nothinbutthetruth
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 10, 2014 at 7:01 pm

Fact One: The SVYMCA deliberately deceived members by not informing them of the potential of closure prior to actually making the decision.

Fact Two: The reason why the SVYMCA did not want to inform members of a possible closure is because they did not want the members to save the Page Mill Y.

Fact Three: The reason why the Page Mill members could have saved the Y is because all of the justifications for closing the PMY are either bogus or resolvable.

Bogus 1: People who don't like the lack of light don't go to the Page Mill Y

Bogus 2: Leadership unilaterally decided that the renovations were not worth another ten year lease. Membership says that any renovations necessary are worth it.

Bogus 3: It is self-evident by the number of members who patronize the PMY that the Y at this location has not at the end of its lifespan.

Bogus 4: The Y is for young people and families. Older folk are a part of families just as young children are and a certain number of young people do patronize the PMY.

Bogus 5: The whirlpools are 30 years old and there are no parts out there to fix them. I'm certain that if the PMY members can raise $160k for EPAY then PMY members could raise $160K for NEW whirlpools.

Bogus 6: The gym's downstairs cycling room has poor ventilation and would cost $150,000 to update. The cycling room used to be an exercise room a few years ago and before that a racquetball court. The cycling used to be upstairs 5 years ago and ten years ago cycling did not even exist at PMY. Get rid of the bikes or move them back upstairs. People who come primarily for cycling, probably less then 20% of members, can go to one of the other gyms that cater to cycling. And if that is still not satisfactory than the members can come up with another $150k.

Bogus 7: The most egregious lie by COO Elizabeth Jordan is that an elevator needs to be installed inside the gym. According the Americans with Disabilities Act installing an elevator would not be required where Jordan is referring to.

If this were a debate the SCVYMCA would lose 7 to 0 on their justifications for closing PMY. That is why SCVYMCA chose to deceive the membership at the PMY because had the debate occurred prior to making the decision of closure the closure would not be taking place.


Public Accommodations
Q. Will businesses need to install elevators?
A. Businesses are not required to retrofit their facilities to install elevators unless such installation is readily achievable, which is unlikely in most cases.
Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by pm_ymca_the_best
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 10, 2014 at 8:41 pm

Nothinbutthetruth hit the nail on the head.

Elizabeth Jordan and SV YMCA Board: If you disagree with this information, why not host a community meeting as we have asked for?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Eileen
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 11, 2014 at 7:15 am

I live in Palo Alto. We signed up at the Ross Road Family YMCA. When I discovered the Page Mill YMCA... we paid an extra fee so we had an overall Bay Area membership just so we could use the Page Mill site. We ended up using the Page Mill YMCA like our home base YMCA and RARELY frequented the Family Ross road site.

The classes, the equipment, the overall ambiance and environment....were much more appealing. Parking was better. One didn't fight for a parking space. Hours were better. The environment was friendlier and more unique. Felt close knit. People were more polite. The page mill site had these fans... one can use for the treadmills that provided 100X infinitely better air circulation than what one got at the Family Ross road site.

The Ross Road family YMCA.. I can sign up for a treadmill and wait.. only to have someone else rudely take it over and not heed the signup board. It is poorly regulated and people ignore the sign up boards. You can only run 35 minutes there.. and even then.... there is a lineup for using the treadmills... and even when you DO use the sign up boards.... people ignore them half the time.

All things considered.. I am deeply saddened to hear the Page Mill YMCA is closing. I would have HAPPILY transferred our Main YMCA membership to be at Page Mill site (given we use it most of the time anyways) if it meant saving the Page Mill site. :(

The vinyasa yoga classes were amazing and challenging. The spin classes were awesome at the Page Mill site. The fans provided infinitely better circulation at the Page Mill site than the Family YMCA circulation. This is just the tip of the benefits. The list is extensive why I used the Page Mill site and we bought the Bay Area membership....


 +   Like this comment
Posted by PAmoderate
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 11, 2014 at 8:27 am

PAmoderate is a registered user.

There is certainly a lot of whining for a dumpy gym. Seriously.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by boscoli
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 11, 2014 at 9:43 am

The reasons Elizabeth Jordan gave for closing PMY are so clearly false, and the disrespect she has shown to the members so insulting, that even if the gym is miraculously saved, my family is forever done with the YMCA. We have already canceled our membership and signed up for the JCC fitness center. From now on we will donate the same amount of money we used to give to the YMCA to the Palo Alto animal shelter.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by PM_ymca_the_best
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 11, 2014 at 10:22 am

@ PAmoderate - You must be one of those people who values natural light over community. Please don't trash our gym.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by PAmoderate
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 11, 2014 at 12:11 pm

PAmoderate is a registered user.

@ PM_ymca_the_best - Probably, as well as working and rust-free equipment.

Tried it out. Not impressed.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Less whining, more problem solving.
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 11, 2014 at 12:14 pm

Volunteer on the Board if you want a voice in how the NON-PROFIT organization is run. Offer to help raise money to provide facilities and services you want from the NON-PROFIT.

If you want these services, roll up your sleeves and help solve the problem.
There are clearly some expensive and challenging problems to solve here. How can YOU help?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by David Joki
a resident of Meadow Park
on Jul 11, 2014 at 12:58 pm

A comment on the comments that us PM Y members are being childish in considering legal action. And the basic attitude that "us PM Y members smell a ripoff is not constructive." The Silicon Valley Y has offered no specific financial info. How are we supposed to undertake fundraising on our own without any info about what the goal would be? Plus, at "1400 membership units" times $75 a month there is an inflow of $105,000 a month. And this is just at an individual membership rate. Many of the "membership units" are couples or families that put in much more than $75 a month. And I know I'm just estimating. This in itself is infuriating since no data has been shared with us from which I could make better estimates. So, yeah, $105,000 a month is a lot of money. $1.26 million a year. I know 2 members, for 20+ years, who were volunteer board members at the PM Y. They raised a lot of money for the PM Y. And now the Silicon Valley Y just closes us. Well, show us where all the money has gone. If the Y Administration of SV would share info with us, then we could start being constructive. Or maybe we would agree with them that it must be closed. Or we could decide whether or not to fundraise.Yes, just having the attitude that "we're being ripped off" could be bad. But we are not having any info shared with us. So, the ball is in the Y Admins court. Share monetary info with us. If not, we will think you ripped us off. Yes, David Joki is my real name. But I usually go by Dave.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Betty Wright Legacy
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jul 11, 2014 at 3:11 pm

It is sad to see the closures of so many community spaces. But I disagree with the comparison between the closure of Page Mill YMCA with that of the Betty Wright Aquatic Center. The only clear similarity is that both are now closed. The differences are many:

1. There are plenty of YMCAs in the area, and a limited number of aquatic therapy centers.
2. Abilities United invested anapprox. of 2M in renovations to extend useful life of BWAC between 2006 and 2013.
3. Rent of facilities are costly for the Y, which is trying to become leaner. Abilities United owns their facilities.
4. Abilities United is moving forward towards a new center: Web Link

To say - simply to compare two vastly different organizations is a bit short-sighted.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Leslie D
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 11, 2014 at 5:58 pm

It is disappointing to me that YMCA management has made the decision to close the Page Mill Y. It is truly a special place with wonderful members and staff.

However, as disappointing is the way the closure was handled. The YMCA is a community organization with strong values - caring, honesty, respect and responsibility but in this instance I don't believe the management walked the talk. Instead of transparency around the decision, discussion, debate and perhaps opportunities for fundraising, members were met with a flyer. Later after it became apparent people were unhappy with the decision the lobby was filled with members from the corporate team who stood around looking unhappy.

Assuming the Page Mill Y closes as planned, my family will be looking for a new facility outside of the YMCA.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Naked at the Page Mill Y
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 11, 2014 at 6:12 pm

@ Betty Wright Legacy

No negative aspersions intended. The similarity is that the Betty Wright Swim Center had a large,loyal following of elderly users. It was closed quickly and is now sorely missed. It was unique and has not been easily replaced.

The Page Mill Y is NOT closed... yet. It serves a large,loyal following. Its closure was announced without community involvement. As the comments to this thread indicate, the concern is it too can't be easily replaced.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by PAmoderate
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 11, 2014 at 6:50 pm

PAmoderate is a registered user.

"ts closure was announced without community involvement. "

Why does everything require community involvement?

"It serves a large,loyal following. "

Apparently not large enough.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Nothinbutthetruth
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 11, 2014 at 7:11 pm

PAmoderate, "Why does everything require community involvement?

It's kind of like if city staff decided to tear down all the trees on your street without informing you beforehand. It's kind of like putting up a cell tower next to your upstairs master bedroom that hums at 30dbs all night long without informing you beforehand. It's kind of like shutting University down to vehicle traffic making it nothing but pedestrian traffic without informing you beforehand. I'm quit certain that if the city were to install flood lights on your street for "public safety" without informing you beforehand and the wash illuminated your house all night long you probably would be complaining about not being involved in the decision.

People in positions of power have an obligation to be honest and forthright to the people whom they are going to be affecting with the decisions they make. Anything less is highly disrespectful at the very least and borders on dictatorship at worst.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by PAmoderate
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 11, 2014 at 7:17 pm

PAmoderate is a registered user.

Sorry. A YMCA and City of Palo Alto are two different entities. Your analogy is bogus. Since when did we vote in YMCA board of directors?

This is a gym. Get over it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sunshine
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 11, 2014 at 10:06 pm

I was just about to join the Page Mill Y. I have reached the age where I need some encouragement and a good place to continue exercising. Now they want to close it.
No, I will not drive to Ross Rd or East Palo Alto to use their facilities. One of the things I especially liked about Page Mill is that I could and would walk there.
Also, I do not want to be among a group of children to exercise. I can't wake the noise or the multitude of small people running underfoot. At my age it would be dangerous for me. I like the idea if a group of seniors. That is why I never joined the Ys that friends invited me to for a morning. They were too loud and had too any youngsters running around.
There is nothing wrong with nude at any age. But saunas are best enjoyed with those ready to meditate.
If the Page Mill Y closes I will probably never join a Y or other such place.
Keep Page Mill Y open.


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Posted by ChrisC
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 11, 2014 at 10:44 pm

ChrisC is a registered user.

I think we would have been happy to be asked to fundraise. Also, there are big y dinars who might have come forward. Which board of directors are they talking about? I thought the page milk y board was supposed to represent members. Guess not I'm still convinced that the reason they are not investing in it is because only the family y's are deserving of that kind of investment.


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Posted by ChrisC
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 11, 2014 at 11:04 pm

ChrisC is a registered user.

Aha. Now I understand the re-branding of a few years ago to "The Y.". It'd no longer for men, no longer Christian, but it's still for the "young."


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Posted by Sally Schwartz
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 11, 2014 at 11:38 pm

I was at the gym today and was happy to see a nbc local investigative tv truck out in the parking lot. As I myself sent descriptive emails to some local tv channels telling them what was happening I was excited to think they might have listened and are doing a story. People on here keep telling us, get over it, it is just a gym. But that is the point, it isn't just a gym to us, it is a family. I am 30 and I love the environment of this gym. It is quiet and mostly kid free, it is full of people who are respectful and are actually there to get in shape, not to just be seen working out. This gym holds several classes per day for older people with mobility issues and I find that to be so important and fantastic. These classes are always full and are very much needed. I myself had a few emails back and forth with Elizabeth Jordan. I countered her untrue points about why they were closing and she had no response other than she would be happy to talk on the phone with me. I wasn't interested since I am sure it would just be more [portion removed] from her. This gym really does fit a need where it is and would be a huge loss to the community.

On a side note, the organizing of members to help protest the close has been very frustrating for me. I found a flier in a bathroom stall to email savingthepagemillytaskforce@gmail.com and went home and emailed the address. I never got an email from them, and have spoke to many others who also got no reply. I created a facebook page, "save the page mill ymca" go search for it on Facebook and join please!! as a way to try and get organized. What we most need is someone or some people actually heading up the task force and getting back to people so we can be a united front.

The legal issue I have is the donations drive that was held right before they announced the closure. I feel it was so dishonest for the YMCA to take donations knowing they were closing the gym. That really is just so uncaring and I read something another member posted that said the legal standing on donations and it seemed like the members might have a case for asking for the money back etc. If we could get the funds back we raised maybe we could take over

Going to keep hoping and keep fighting.


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Posted by SJ
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 12, 2014 at 9:38 am

Some news for those who don't get the YMCA emails. Matt sent this out last night. Tell everyone to come to the meeting. Let's put up a carpool ride sheet for anyone who doesn't want to drive in the dark.

We can use this forum to ask succinct questions about rent costs, operating costs, how much our Y is subsidized (if at all), our donations from this year, using our donations from this year for improvements, extending the lease for three years, letting people change their primary Y to Page Mill.

We want the YMCASV representatives to come with the facts and figures in hand. We do not want to have them reply to financial questions with "I don't have those figures with me".

See you all on Wednesday night.

July 11, 2014
Dear Page Mill Members,

In order to provide more information about the decision to close Page Mill YMCA later this fall, we will be holding an informational meeting on Wednesday, July 16.

YMCA board members and leaders will talk about the many factors behind this difficult decision and will answer your questions.


Page Mill YMCA Member Informational Meeting
Wednesday, July 16, 2014
5:00 PM to 6:00 PM
Unitarian Universalist Church - Main Hall
505 E. Charleston Rd, Palo Alto, CA 94306


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Posted by boscoli
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 12, 2014 at 11:11 am

About a week ago I found a flier in my locker at the PMY asking members to email savethepagemillytaskforce@gmail.com. I have sent them two emails, but never received any reply. This is a terrible and sloppy way to save the gym. I'm used to being ignored [portion removed] by Elizabeth Jordan and the Silicon Vally YMCA board, but when the very people who claim they are trying to save gym discourage other members from doing just that, I fear that this gym is indeed doomed.


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Posted by Nothinbutthetruth
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 12, 2014 at 12:26 pm

PAmoderate, actually you just proved my point by failing to admit the obvious. "get over it."



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Posted by vg
a resident of another community
on Jul 12, 2014 at 1:29 pm

I am extremely disappointed and feel that it is incorrect for the Board to make a decision like this without contacting Pagemill members first and giving all of us an opportunity to do fund raising. This is a very charitable community and I think if given the chance, the members would have come through. Just recently, there were several fund raising programs for which this community gave very generously. It is a shame that no opportunity has been given.

I have tried almost every Y in the area, and I think the Board is mistaken in they think that Pagemill members will be able to be absorbed by the other Ys in the area. The El Camino, Ross Road, and Cupertino (Northwest) Ys have terrible parking problems -- that is one of the reasons I started coming to the Pagemill Y. I think this decision will force Pagemill Y members out of the YMCA network. I doubt that once Pagemill members have experienced other Ys, they will want to stay in the network. It is a shame that an organization that advocates building strong communities is breaking up a community and I think will eventually force people out of they Y.

I am perplexed as to how during on the of the most affluent times in the Bay Area, the Y has not been able to attract members to be self sufficient. Unless I am mistaken, this has been possible for decades-- so I wonder why at such a prosperous time this has not been possible? I don't have the membership data, but compared to some years ago, it seems to me that the membership has dropped at Pagemill -- I might be wrong about this -- I used to come in the afternoons (before having children), but now come in the mornings so perhaps there are just less people in the morning. I would like to know what the data is and if there has been a drop, what caused the drop. We are not in a recession or anything close to that so I am wondering why attracting members has failed, particularly having such a great facility and such wonderful instructors.

I also feel very sorry for the senior adults that benefit so much from being able to exercise at Pagemill and have a community. I also feel badly for people who work in the nearby buildings who will likely have to forgo a workout now (this is not my situation -- but what a shame for them).

I hope that the members will be presented with membership and financial data and be given the chance to save a community that has been around for 35 years -- allowing people to be healthier and connected.


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Posted by PM_YMCA_the_best
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 12, 2014 at 2:11 pm

@boscili
You are correct about the Savingtheymcataskforce email address. She has hurt the campaign and not helped at all. Frightening that this campaign lacks the most basic electronic organization. Better to not volunteer than to volunteer and not come through.


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Posted by Pete
a resident of Professorville
on Jul 12, 2014 at 4:04 pm

Dear Ross Road and other PA Family Y members,
PA Family Y should be invited to the July 16th, 5:00 pm, Untarian Church meeting. They will absorb the brunt of the impact from the PM Ys closure. Can you get the word out to your follow PA Family Y users and invite them? Better yet, can you convince your the PA Y's director to directly email them?


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Posted by Proposed?s4Elizabeth
a resident of Stanford
on Jul 12, 2014 at 4:48 pm

We would like to propose that Elizabeth to get these questions ahead of time and have the answers ready for us. A summary of the numbers on paper by Elizabeth for each attendee would be very helpful.

COSTS, DONATIONS, AND SUBSIDIES
How much per year did the PM YMCA take in in membership fees 2011, 2012, 2013?
How much was the total cost to run the PM YMCA 2011, 2012, 2013?
Please break the cost down by:
Staff, utilities, insurance, maintenance, etc.
What is the current rent per month?
How many outside members use the PM YMCA per month but have another YMCA as their primary Y? Matt will have to get these figures from the sign-in sheets. 2011, 2012, 2013
What was the amount of subsidy (if any) the PM YMCA needed from the YMCASV for 2011, 2012, and 2013?
How much did PM YMCA members give to the Annual Campaign 2011, 2012, 1013, 2014?
Did our donations cover the subsidies (if any) for 2011, 2012, and 2013?
Please compare these cost numbers, subsidies, and donations to EPA Y, Palo Alto Family Y, Mountain View Y, and Sequoia Y.
What is the landlord's proposal for rent going forward with a new lease?
IF YOU WERE TO ALLOW US TO STAY OPEN
Would it be possible to renew the lease for a shorter span than 10 years without having expansion plans?
Would you allow us to use the funds you collected this year for your recommended improvements without expansion?
Would you allow other Bay Area Y members to switch their primary Y to Page Mill to reflect our true numbers?
Would you allow us to fundraise in order to finance the upgrades the YMCASV wants without the expansion?
Would you allow members to volunteer to man the front-desk to defray costs?
Is it possible to disable and shutdown the Jacuzzi to defray costs?
WOULD YOU SUPPORT US IN THESE SITUATIONS
Would you support and facilitate our joining the SF YMCA?
Would you support merging the PM site and Palo Alto Family site into one YMCA of Palo Alto with two sites?
OTHER YS HAVE AGE SPECIFIC SITES
Other YMCA associations have age-specific facilities and sites just for children's outdoor education, board meetings, preschools, after-school daycare, after school programs, school-base mental health services, youth counseling services, and senior health programs.
Why can't you support a facility for adults that simply work out?


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Posted by Nothinbutthetruth
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 12, 2014 at 7:23 pm

Dear Palo Alto/weekly I incorporated a coded message for PAmoderate and you deleted it without acknowledging that you did so. Granted this is your forum and you can dictate the agenda for your self servicing purposes but at the very least if you have any legitimacy to your positions surely you can allow yourself and those whom you want to promote your agenda to to be challenged and if not then you are no better than some banana republic dictating what the people can hear and see manipulating their ideas of what is right and wrong.

[Portion removed.]

Paloaltoonline, if you erase the above coded message without acknowledging it then you are definitely a propagandist and I will expose you for being so.


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Posted by boscoli
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 12, 2014 at 7:26 pm

I find it ironic that many Ross Rd Y members use the Page Mill facility often because it's much more pleasant and it's much easier to find available machines and parking, but strongly resent the idea that Page Mill members displaced by the closure might transfer to the Ross Rd. Y.


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Posted by Andrew
a resident of Portola Valley
on Jul 12, 2014 at 8:31 pm

I recently re-joined this Y and was not told of the intention to close it down. No way do I want the hassle of getting to Ross Rd, EPA, or Mountain View. I feel deceived by the Y; I should have been informed of the imminent closure. Now, I want my money back!! I can use it to join a gym closer to home. It won't offer the atmosphere of PM Y, but it will be nicer than the noisy rabble at Ross Rd. Bye, bye, Y.
This closure is not about money, if it was, we'd all have been given a chance to fund-raise.






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Posted by palo alto resident
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 12, 2014 at 9:59 pm

Regarding cycling room: As a member who has attended cycle classes at the ymca for the past 6 years, there is no problem with the circulation in this room. Yes it could be colder, but I have never heard a member complain- we just use the fans attached to the ceiling/walls.

The cycle room is preferred to the old "upstairs" location. Its a great cycle room with lots of fans. PYMCA cylce room has better circulation than the " soul cycle " at Stanford mall ( about $34/ class).

No one cares about the basement view, its a great gym.


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Posted by PM_ymca_the_ best
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 12, 2014 at 10:30 pm

Re: the "poor hvac and use of fans" that Elizabeth Jordan cites at Page Mill, I was rather surprised to see the same fans mounted at the Ross Rd Y in the group exercise room.

Just another one of her fabricated reasons to close Page Mill.


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Posted by Page Mill Member
a resident of University South
on Jul 12, 2014 at 10:40 pm

Attention to all YMCA Members including Ross Road, EPA, Redwood City, Mountain View and all of the South Bay, please attend the Page Mill Y Informational Meeting on Wednesday July 16 5:00-6:00 at the Unitarian Church 505 E. Charleston Rd. Palo Alto. The YMCA Board will be present to answer our questions.
If the leadership can close our Page Mill Y with a sudden announcement, your Y could me next! Please help us keep our Y from closing.


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Posted by PMCoolSpinner
a resident of Green Acres
on Jul 13, 2014 at 8:10 am

I spin 4 to 5 times a week. The room is perfect. There are fans on 4 sides of the room. There are people who are too cold who prefer to spin away from the fans but I never here comments about poor circulation. We are there to sweat and that causes heat in any gym anywhere.


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Posted by PMCoolSpinner
a resident of Green Acres
on Jul 13, 2014 at 8:14 am

Correction on previous post. " ...but I never hear comments about poor circulation." Come join us 2 floors below and spin.


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Posted by palo alto resident
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 13, 2014 at 9:23 am

Agree PMCool Spinner.

Pagemill has a great cycle room with very dedicated cyclers of all ages. Seniors, college students, young professionals. The cycle eachers are fantastic.

Pagemill is also the only Y with intensity cycle program RPM*. There is no way I would ever go to EPA due to safety, and other Y's schedule seem very full and I can't imagine they can add RPM*. Also RPM* requires a special license which a Y must purchase. So far only Pagemill Y has the licencse, probably because of the member influence/support.


Seems 24 hour fitness has some RPM classes, so that will probably be my solution.


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Posted by boscoli
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 13, 2014 at 9:57 am

Just an observation on the Wednesday meeting. I hope many people attend, but it will be run by Matt, who is the PMY director, but doesn't sit on the board. He is an employee and has no authority, he is just trying to keep his job. The board has no intention of changing its mind, unless they somehow get concerned with widespread negative public opinion and a sharp decline in YMCa membership and donations, which at this point they don't seem to be concerned about at all.


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Posted by Neighbor
a resident of another community
on Jul 13, 2014 at 10:17 am

I hope Matt will bring a copy of the Y's Operating Budget to the meeting. A couple of the past Annual Reports would be enlightening too.


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Posted by let's form our own PM and PA FamilyY without YMCASV
a resident of Stanford
on Jul 13, 2014 at 11:43 am

Dear Proposed?s4Elizabeth,
Have the above questions been sent to Elizabeth et al? We need to have answers from her when we come to the meeting otherwise the meeting will be chaotic.

I love the idea of joining with the PA Family Y and forming one Y with 2 sites.

A better idea still, lets ask the PMYMC and PA Family Y members to leave the Silicon Valley Association and form our own Palo Alto Y. Then we would truly be able to represent the members of "our community". It sounds as if the PA Family Y members are pretty disgusted with the conditions there and Silicon Valley Association. Then we could control our own Ys and put real live PM and PA Family voting members on our Board. Currently, we do not get to vote on anything, the Board and executives make decisions for us. Between PM and PA Family Y we have the members, money, political clout, and resources to stand on our own.


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Posted by One Palo Alto Y with 2 sites
a resident of Portola Valley
on Jul 13, 2014 at 12:25 pm

To: Let's form our own PM and PA FamilyY without YMCASV.

Yours is the most forward thinking of any idea posted thus far. Having PA Family Y and PM Y pull out of the SV association will topple the Executives and the Board.

In the words of the great Groucho Marx
I Don't Want to Belong to Any Club That Will Accept Me as a Member


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Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Jul 13, 2014 at 1:18 pm

If you want to form a different Y, come to the meeting with a detailed budget proposal outlining all operational costs (facilities and equipment costs, staffing/salaries, insurance --- and an income producing plan (sufficient membership fees).

No organization --- including non-profits (which are closely monitored by their Board, the United Way if they get $ from them, and the IRS) --- can operate at a loss. I suspect that this Y was consistently losing money at this location and had to close to meet its legal fiduciary obligations.

Why not try to entice a for-profit gym to locate at this or a nearby location? There are numerous private gyms nearby in Palo Alto who might be interested in opening a new branch.

Or --- since the Stanford Research Park is adjacent --- maybe one of the lessees there (HP, Varian??) or Stanford itself (there are several Hospital offices in the Research Park) might be enticed to take over the gym if the Y cannot re-organize its finances. Stanford could be your ally in this case.


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Posted by boscoli
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 13, 2014 at 3:21 pm

@neighbor, no one in the Silicon valley association or anybody else ever claimed that the PM Y was losing money. It was making profit and the members wee outstanding in their donations to the YMCA. I have no idea where you came up with the notion that this Y was losing money, because it wasn't and isn't.


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Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Jul 13, 2014 at 5:58 pm

"boscoli"
The Y was required to sign a new ten-year lease -- with significant rent increases AND significant capital improvement costs. As a non-profit (my guess is under 501-C3), they have stringent legal and fiduciary constraints on the financial commitments they enter into.

The Board (made up of citizens like you) had a difficult management decision to make -- they had to weigh their new costs against how much they could reasonably raise your membership fees to pay all of their costs. Clearly, there was too much risk of not being able to meet the costs of entering into a 10-year contract.

As someone who has been a budget analyst for the United Way, I can tell you that non-profit management is very difficult.

Note this information is specifically addressed in the article....

---------

..."we have the biggest responsibility as a not-for-profit to be able to put our resources where they have the greatest impact. Signing onto a 10-year lease in a property that was really at the end of its useful lifespan is just something we couldn't do.

Jordan said plumbing that leads into the facility's whirlpools is 30 years old, breaks down often and needs to be updated, but some parts are no longer available. The gym's downstairs cycling room has "extremely poor ventilation," she said, but rebuilding the heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) system would cost close to $150,000 -- not including the costs of getting construction equipment into the basement.

Signing onto another 10 years would mean replacing a lift installed on a stairwell to carry members who cannot walk up or down stairs with an elevator, Jordan said, and "figuring out where to put that and where to install it is insurmountable."


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Posted by boscoli
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 13, 2014 at 6:29 pm

@neighbor, you express many assumptions based solely on claims made by one person who speaks for the board. You have no data whatsoever to back up your claims. If they were originally genuinely interested in keeping the gym open, they could have informed the membership before their sudden announcement, providing data that could be confirmed re the supposed plumbing and elevator issues, and asked if the membership would be willing to hold a fund raiser and accept an increase in the membership fees. I can assure you that the necessary funds would have been raised and then some. The real reason for closing the gym is that the Silicon Valley board wants to get rid of a mostly elderly membership that doesn't fit their desired profile of YMCA fitness center and wants to send as many younger members to a very underutilized YMCA facility in E. Palo Alto, the one that's really losing money. They also conveniently announced the closure shortly AFTER the latest fundraising effort, to which members contributed generously. How ethical was that?


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Posted by realfacts
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jul 13, 2014 at 7:07 pm

Dear Neighbor,
How you know that the landlord insisted on a 10 years lease, I heard from Matt that they considered a 2 or 3 year lease?
What's the big deal with the spa? Shut it down.
Ventilation? Do you cycle downstairs? I do. Ask any one who cycles, the downstairs room is just fine, I have hear no complaints.
Seem like these are small to nonexistent problems.


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Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Jul 13, 2014 at 7:36 pm

You make a lot of assumptions about a plot of some sort --- e.g., "The real reason for closing the gym is that the Silicon Valley board wants to get rid of a mostly elderly membership that doesn't fit their desired profile of YMCA fitness center"

I assure you money is money to a non-profit gym, just like it is for a profit-based gym -- only the non-profit just needs enough to cover costs and break even.

If you can verify your charge of age discrimination, file a civil rights suit. But, beware of making reckless charges. The Y has historically always been open to all ages. An aside: my local Y (4 miles from yours) is doing fine financially by serving a majority of elder patrons...except during the summer when school is out. Perhaps there is more competition from other gyms in Palo Alto.

Furthermore, as already stated. the Y has a citizen Board whose meetings and records are open. Board members are people just like you, but they have strict financial responsibilities. The Y Director works for the Board. There is a legal audit of all financial records and these are public info. The citizen Board must make responsible financial decisions and it takes the LEGAL responsibility for not making them.

Get a copy of the Board minutes from all meetings over the last fiscal year to get some insight into the financial status of the Y's status. Yes, it's a lot of numbers....but that is what this is about, not secret cabals.

Perhaps the announcement about the Y's closing, coming after the fundraising effort, had the timing it did because -- DESPITE the generous contributions made by some individuals -- the TOTAL $$ RAISED fell short of what was needed to keep this facility running.

AND, perhaps this citizen inquiry should focus on exactly how much money will be needed to continue the facility and exactly how much membership fees will have to increase. Are you willing to pay WHATEVER IT TAKES to pay the new rent, the property updates, the salaries and insurance, and other costs? What if your membership costs go up 50% or 100% ??


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Posted by boscoli
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 14, 2014 at 7:19 am

@neighbor, again, you haven't seen any data on the Y's financial status, but you just accept their version. It took Elizabeth Jordan at least two weeks to come up with the plumbing excuse. The argument about lack of ventilation downstairs is patently false too, there are both overhead and floor fans which provide more ventilation than any other gym I've worked out in. She was also inconsistent ( I can't use another word to describe the nature of her comments because I'll get censored) about the new lease. She initially claimed that the landlord insisted on a 10 year lease, which the landlord denies. It's clear he was willing to negotiate a much shorter lease, and I wouldn't be surprised if he would have agreed to a year by year lease. At no point was Ms. Jordan willing to inform the membership by how much the membership fees would have to be increase and how much money should a fund raising raise in order to pay for the improvements. Her terse comment has always been the same:'The decision is irreversible". Add to that the PM Y director is working the floor energetically to sell the EPA Y, and it all leads one to the conclusion that plumbing and ventilation issues had absolutely nothing to do with it.


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Posted by Karen White
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 14, 2014 at 10:28 am

These are the leaders the YMCA of Silicon Valley who should be contacted and some of whom should be attending Wednesday's meeting to provide answers to the many questions raised by the community:

Web Link

One would think attendance by Kathy Riggins, President and CEO, would be especially important.


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Posted by Duveneck resident
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 14, 2014 at 11:08 am

Again. Please note the meeting time for Page Mill Y members and others who are interested.
Awkward timing, but this what was offered by management:


WEDNESDAY, JULY 16
UNITARIAN UNIVERSAL CHURCH
505 E. CHARLESTON
PALO ALTO 94306
TIME: 5 - 6 PM


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Posted by Dennis Briskin
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 14, 2014 at 11:24 am

Overheard in the men's hot tub: "The real issue is not the closing but the loss of the community of elders who enjoy being together. A community is fragile."

Since the patronage is heavily post-65, perhaps the Y could follow a policy of attrition. Let the facility slowly wind down by natural means. Of course, if programming shrinks, equipment breaks down, fitness levels drop and the mortality rate speeds up, we might have the makings of a real Palo Alto mystery thriller: "Who Killed the Page Mill Y?"


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Posted by A path forward...
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 14, 2014 at 12:13 pm

Everyone has spouted off. Now it's time to get past the anger and start working with the Y Board on solving the problems.

You want the Y to remain open? Ask questions--civilly, with an eye toward identifying options. Find out what volunteers might do to enable that possibility. Be productive, not a critic.

To the Y. I have to say, it's disappointing that you were not more communicative with your membership. You can't really consider people's needs if you aren't talking with them. It's time to start. Apologize for that. Open the door and encourage a productive dialogue. I'd recommend that you admit some mistakes and hire a good moderator to keep the discussion productive.

Everybody...to preserve a valuable community asset, the community that wants it must SUPPORT it. We may learn that membership dollars and donations were not adequate and that fundraising support is needed. Be open to the possibility that it may take some work to get this done.

What will be most important is not pointing fingers of blame ("Who Killed the PMY?"), but who will lead and who will support the effort to save it.
If we are not willing to help, then we can take some of the blame for its loss ourselves. How can you help?


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Posted by Ross Road Member
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 14, 2014 at 12:38 pm

Ross Road was very busy this mid morning summer Monday and the closure of Page Mill was the topic of conversation and blamed for why we were so busy for what should have been a quiet time. I filled out a comment sheet and put it in the comment box about the fact that we don't want extra members to play "musical chairs" when the gym is busy. I hope more do the same.


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Posted by SJ
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 14, 2014 at 3:51 pm

Elena of the Palo Alto Weekly has posted a new article about the meeting July 16, at 5:00 at the Unitarian Church on E. Meadow in Palo Alto. Please check out her new article.

Web Link


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Posted by Nothinbutthetruth
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 14, 2014 at 3:58 pm

neighbor, a resident of another community you are mistaken:

Elizebeth Jordan stated in the June 24, 2014 PaloAltoonline that the decsion to close the Page Mill Y was not due to the rent or that it was not making a profit. In fact she stated that the landlord was great at working with the "Y."
"Jordan said the closure has nothing to do with rising rents."
Web Link

"We certainly could stay at the facility,
but we're choosing to do something a little different because we feel as a not-for-profit, our (goal) is to be constantly looking for ways we can serve more and better in any community. That's really our objective." Elizabeth Jordan
Web Link

She claimed in that article that the closure was solely based upon that there was not enough natural light and that there was no way to construct natural light into the basement. Then when there was a big backlash she and her office mates started pulling everything out of their hat that they could to justify the closure because if she had stuck with her original reason she would have to keep the Page Mill "Y" open.

People who don't like the lack of light don't come here, it hasn't been a problem for 35 years and now all of a sudden it is, Hmmm?

"After some careful consideration, we decided it would be best to put our resources into our other facilities and programming in Palo Alto that would better serve the community," Jordan said.

"We" did not include the "Y" members who pay Jordan's salary and who raised hundreds of thousands of dollars every year for the last twenty years for the "Y."


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Posted by Contact TV and newspapers
a resident of Stanford
on Jul 14, 2014 at 4:19 pm

Anyone who has connections to local TV stations, radio stations, newspapers please contact them and get them to the meeting Wednesday. We need more attention from the media.


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Posted by boscoli
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 14, 2014 at 4:48 pm

The reasons Elizabeth Jordan gave for the closure kept changing almost daily until she settled a few days ago on the claims that the hot tub plumbing needed costly replacement, that there was no natural light, and that the downstairs cycling room had no ventilation.


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Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Jul 14, 2014 at 5:42 pm

Read the post from "A Path Forward" a couple of posts back.....then take a deep breath, and think of ways to work with the Y to either keep this facility going or open a new one nearby.

Do you have any concrete proposals at all, or are you just going to shout your outrage at the meeting? Is that the "Palo Alto Way?"


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Posted by Nothinbutthetruth
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 14, 2014 at 6:17 pm

Nobody is shouting here Neighbor, just pointing out the facts and the fact is Elizabeth Jordan stated unequivocally,

"We certainly could stay at the facility,..."

So really there is nothing more to argue about for there is no problem necessitating any solutions its just a matter of whether the "Y" wants to remain open or not. The members want it to so the question that truly needs to be answered is why does the "Y" not want to?


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Posted by Facts needed before planning
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 14, 2014 at 6:53 pm

Neighbor,
We are trying to plan. Would you write a proposal for anything if you hadn't done the research? We have not been granted any access to the YMCASV's financial information and use numbers. We continue to wait and wait for that. Wednesday's meeting will reveal if this non-profit will share this information.


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Posted by Secession from the YMCASV
a resident of Leland Manor/Garland Drive
on Jul 14, 2014 at 6:59 pm

Let's secede from the YMCA of SV and take Palo Alto Family members with us. Palo Alto Family Y members would you like to form a new partnership with us? Let us know. Spread the word at Ross Road tomorrow. We could control our own programs and work for the betterment of "our" community. Then the YMCA of SV might sit up and take notice of what their members are saying.


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Posted by Page Mill YMCA must sat open
a resident of Portola Valley
on Jul 15, 2014 at 7:25 am

I'm appalled at how the decision to close the Page Mill Y was reached - total lack of communication with and input from members! I've read that the Y board believes $2.8MM worth of improvements are needed. ???! I can't imagine where or why. Other than new paint and carpet occasionally and continued maintenance on the plumbing, I think most members are just fine with the Y the way it is. If not - it wouldn't get such heavy usage. A new elevator? There's an excellent elevator at the top of the stairs leading from the parking lot. Many of us are at the Page Mill Y because we don't want the more glitzy surroundings of an Equus. The board is claiming that ADA requirements will make the cost prohibitive That depends on whether we are doing good maintenance or rebuilding.

You have a unique demographic at the Page Mill Y - no it is not as kid-oriented as other Ys - we are still part of the community - and this Y still serves a really important need.

We are lucky to have a very supportive landlord who has and will work with us.

I have been a Page Mill member for ~ 20 years. I live west of 280 and none of the other Ys are within a reasonable driving distance (i.e., 30- 40 minutes each way to EPA, Sequoia, or Ross road, depending on traffic). Even if they were all within the same driving distance as the Page Mill Y, I would choose Page Mill anyway - even without a pool and all the problems the Board SAYS it has - because of the classes, quiet, and community.

I strongly disagree with the Board on the extent of the improvements needed, but let's figure out what is a reasonable list and do a capital campaign to raise the money.

To the Board - you have lots of very intelligent, talented, hard-working members and you would make much better decisions with their help!


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Posted by Clear Cut
a resident of Monroe Park
on Jul 15, 2014 at 5:10 pm

It is a clear case of discrimination against members who do not have children and are over the age of 40. That DEFINITELY leaves out a large section of the community.

Ms Jordan claims that Page Mill is not community oriented. Actually, SHE is not community oriented, she excludes older people and retired people and anyone without small children! And THAT is bias and age discrimination, which is illegal.


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Posted by Mass hysteria
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 15, 2014 at 5:27 pm

The hysterical pronouncements behind the " entitled" palo,alto residents are reaching a fever pitch. Black shirts? Discrimination? And on and on and on it goes.
The YMCA has the right to close this location.period. end of story.


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Posted by YMCAS is wasting $300,000.00
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Jul 16, 2014 at 3:01 pm

If you are a Page Mill member don't give up your membership or switch it to another Y before December 31. YMCASV apparently has plenty of money to burn. They will be paying the membership fees for PM members Oct. 1 through Dec. 1. Rough calculations estimate to be that buyout amount to be about $45,000.00 per month x 3 equals $135,000.

Information from the Board indicated that a modest estimate of the cost to YMCASV to shut down the Page Mill Y with severance packages, attorney fees, reconfiguring the Ross Road parking lot, seeking permission from the City of Palo Alto for increased usage at Ross Road, dealing with neighbor complaints from Ross Road will exceed $300,000.

Kathy and Elizabeth, We question your leadership when you can afford to waste $300,000.00 to shut us down.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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