News

YMCA: Shrinking membership is forcing gym closure

Page Mill branch in Palo Alto is less lucrative than other locations, executives say

Citing for the first time a decline in membership and inability to attract new members due to an increasingly competitive market, YMCA of Silicon Valley leaders Wednesday evening defended their decision to close the organization's 35-year-old Page Mill Road facility this fall.

YMCA of Silicon Valley President Kathy Riggins, COO Elizabeth Jordan and several board members' explanation of what seems to be a pragmatic business decision to focus resources elsewhere once the YMCA's lease of the Palo Alto Square basement space ends Oct. 1 continually clashed with the emotionally charged members who attended Wednesday's informational meeting. YMCA leadership initially prevented the media from attending, but did not object once the meeting was underway.

Since 2009, the Page Mill Road gym has seen a steady but not sharp decrease in membership, from close to 1,575 units in 2009 to fewer than 1,425 in 2014. A "unit" can be an individual or family. Annual revenue has more steeply declined, from $1,313,000 in 2011 to $1,232,000 in 2014.

Jordan said after the meeting that the Page Mill facility had a revenue shortfall of $215,000 for the fiscal year that just ended.

"Prior to that, for the last four years, it was anywhere between $83,000 and $120,000," she added. "We worked hard to try to attract new members. One of the things we have found is that it is difficult when you have a facility that tends to be smaller than others in the marketplace and that needs some significant improvements in order to be attractive. It's been a very challenging position to be in."

Jordan said that the Palo Alto Family YMCA on Ross Road as well as other nearby locations have seen increases in membership. She described the Ross Road facility – with a pool, larger gym and room to host summer camps – as more "versatile" than Page Mill, which is housed in a basement. Ross Road is able to compete with the amenities offered by competitors in the area such as the Oshman Family Jewish Community Center, Equinox and the numerous boutique gyms that have opened in Palo Alto in recent years. She said the proximity of Equinox – located directly across El Camino Real from the Page Mill branch – has "been a real hamstring for us."

Members took a microphone one by one to express their indignation at the way the decision to close the gym was made and to urge leadership to find alternative solutions.

"It seems like this is a meeting that should have occurred months ago," member Chuck Kinney said to a round of applause. "I get the strong feeling that it's over."

"We've never closed the ranch before," Jordan told the Weekly after the meeting. "This is something that happens so very rarely within YMCAs in my 22 years, it's certainly the only closing I've witnessed. We heard that clearly people wanted to have a different process. We can't change what's been done .. but we acknowledge it."

Bud Bennington, a former Page Mill Road board member, asked the YMCA representatives if it would be possible – or if they would be willing – to work with the landlord to buy the members some more time with a month-to-month lease or a one-year extension.

Board member John Savage said they did talk to the landlord about extending the lease for a year.

"That's what we thought would be the right solution," he said.

But the landlord, WSJ Properties, is planning a major renovation of the building for early next year, Savage said, and part of the conditions for renewing the lease would be to commit to paying for those improvements. They also said that the landlord wants any improvements to happen at the same time, so putting off any renovations for the gym while the rest of the building moves forward with a revamp wouldn't make sense. Jordan has said before that the basement facility is in need of many improvements, including for 30-year-old plumbing and a poorly ventilated cycling room. Members say they are largely happy with the facility the way it is.

"I think we all need to recognize the fundamentals don't change," Savage said. "I don't want to hold out any false hope here."

Another member asked if they had considered raising Page Mill membership fees to increase revenue or fund renovations – a change many members have indicated they would support.

Jordan responded, "It's hard to justify charging the same fees as Equinox to new members" when Page Mill does not offer the same level of amenities.

Members repeatedly asked for a definitive "yes" or "no" to the suggestion of buying the Page Mill gym more time with a short lease extension, with board members, Riggins and Jordan repeatedly responding that they will take all the input from Wednesday's meeting into consideration.

"We haven't even had a chance to process the feedback that was received tonight, so the plan over next several days is to do that ... certainly hear it, absorb it, recognize it," Jordan said after the meeting. "Right now, there's no change to the plan."

Related content:

Page Mill Road YMCA to close Oct. 1

Members of Page Mill YMCA protest closure

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Bunny Wunny
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 16, 2014 at 10:41 pm

Bunny Wunny is a registered user.

I originally signed up at Ross Road YMCA but over the last two years now go exclusively to Page Mill. But my membership is probably counted at Ross Road still. I added onto my original membership the ability to go to any Y and just never changed it. There was never any effort to transfer my membership even though the Y must have known my attendance since they track it at every visit. I wouldn't be surprised if this is true for a significant number of members - they started out at a different Y but now are primarily if not exclusively at Page Mill.

The Page Mill Y does no marketing. Many people don't realize that there is this one Y that is not full of screaming kids. People without kids are part of this community too.

But the best part of the Page Mill Y is the wonderful instructors and staff, and the other members. The boot camp class is outstanding. There is nothing like it at the other Y facilities.

If only the management had let the "members" know of the problems we could have worked together and at least tried to succeed.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by oh my goodness
a resident of Stanford
on Jul 16, 2014 at 11:12 pm

[Post removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Informed
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 16, 2014 at 11:33 pm

I am saddened by the closure of the Page Mill YMCA. I have been going there for 7 years now. I have to say though I am more saddened by the overwhelming negative response I have seen in the news and message boards. The name calling, the overall rudeness is so disheartening. The little community created in this YMCA is made of what I thought were really great, loving, caring individuals. It is unfortunate that something that I agree was handled poorly has brought out so much ugliness. I joined the YMCA because of the good they do and the communities they help. Could I in good conscience say that "my gym" is worth loosing money that could help others who need it much more than I do?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sparty
a resident of another community
on Jul 17, 2014 at 12:55 am

Sparty is a registered user.

[Post removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by curious
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 17, 2014 at 12:59 am

Interesting. I've lived in Palo Alto for 30 years and never knew this was there. One thing that location has that no one else does is proximity to the bike path, people can walk, bike, or jog over there from Stanford all the way to Los Altos...

We're having all this density foisted on us on the pretense that it's important to have housing in Palo Alto because there are jobs in Palo Alto. Okay, but all this housing over here, but what about services?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by boscli
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 17, 2014 at 5:54 am

So the latest excuse for closing the gym is that it's losing money. The reasons according to SVYMCA keep changing on a daily basis. No one has seen their books to verify that they are indeed losing money, which is highly doubtful. My guess is that no one will ever see their books before the closure day.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Boscli?
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 17, 2014 at 6:47 am

Latest excuse? Or the ymcasv (YMCA of Silicon Valley) is just elaborating on the reason and giving more detail. What makes you so entitled that you should be able to go over their books? [Portion removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ross Road Member
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 17, 2014 at 7:35 am

I joined the Y because the "boutique" gym that I had previously used (which I loved) closed through membership fees not covering the cost of increased rents. The "boutique gym" that replaced it seems to be closed most of the time.

The fact is that Ross Road is full and can't take any major increase in members. I think many people have the type of membership which makes them able to use any Y in the area and it is hogwash to talk about which is their "home" Y.

I hope that Page Mill members can work something out.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by concerned voter
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 17, 2014 at 8:21 am

So the truth finally comes out why the PM Y is closing. All the postings here about discrimination and fraud and lying etc were all bogus (as I expected). Clearly the mass hysteria was driven by a few posters.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by sadly_its_done
a resident of another community
on Jul 17, 2014 at 8:23 am

After attending last night's meeting, it's crystal clear that the PM YMCA will close on October 1, at the end of its present lease. While the SV YMCA Board finally decided to host its long overdue meeting, it was painfully obvious that their decision has been made and there is no going back.

Quite frankly, after seeing SV YMCA Board's presentation, I understand the issues much better. Though I don't agree with the decision to close, as least I get their thinking. Blindsiding and not involving the PM community has cost the SV YMCA credibility and the bad publicity will haunt the SV YMCA for, at very least, the short term. This same Board that showed no regard for our Y could do the same to any of the other 12 in their association.

I applaud longtime PM member, and two time past PM Board member, Bud Bennington, for directly asking the Board to consider extending the lease for 6 months - a year to give members and the SV YMCA Board to work together towards a decision. Seemingly looking to SV Board member, (the notedly rigid and unsympathetic) John Savage, for guidance, the SV Board repeatedly ignored and ultimately refused to consider Mr. Bennington's request.

The PM YMCA has its own Board of Directors, and as far as I can tell, the PM Board has shown absolutely no leadership for its membership since the closure was announced. Our Board President, Christine Benninger, was out of town and unable to make last night's meeting. She sent a letter that was read at the meeting, largely sympathizing with the tough decision made by the SV YMCA Board. Only one other member of our Board, Jeff Fenton, attended the meeting last night.

In my mind, a member of a Board of Directors has a fiduciary and ethical responsibility to guide the organization which they represent through good and bad times. It is most remarkable that the current YMCA Board, and PM members who sit on the SV YMCA Board have effectively abandoned their membership during this turbulent time in the PM Y's history.

Whatever the circumstances, a great captain goes down with, and never abandon's his or her ship.

Members of the PM YMCA Board and PM members who sit on the SV YMCA Board, take note. You blew it. Big time. And that might be the biggest disappointment of all.



 +   Like this comment
Posted by randy albin
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 17, 2014 at 8:34 am

who can afford this? who can afford to live in palo alto? no wonder that this would occur. clean this up quickly. better do something about this...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Too expensive
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 17, 2014 at 8:57 am

I belonged to the Ross Road Y for ten years, but then gave up on it. It was too crowded, there were people waiting in lines in the morning to use equipment. Yet, they kept taking equipment away, stating that there was a lack of space, at the same time accepting more and more new members. When they remodeled the building and enlarged it, that reduced the number of parking spaces. I got tired of driving around for 15-20 minutes every morning waiting for a parking space.

Last, but not least, they raised the membership fees every single year, and eventually it just was not worth what you got for your money. Boutique gyms are even pricier, but there are bigger, better gyms with lots of parking and lots of equipment--and no lines waiting for it. Bigger and better showers, and no lines waiting for those either.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by true
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 17, 2014 at 9:17 am

sadly_its_done is right. Page Mill YMCA members have been effectively abandoned by their own Board of Directors, who have been completely missing in action since the closure was announced.

My bet is that they have already joined new gyms and completely divorced themselves from the controversy.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by done
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 17, 2014 at 9:40 am

Page Mill YMCA members have a few months to find another gym. That's plenty of time. Nothing to see here...


 +   Like this comment
Posted by I-Agree
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 17, 2014 at 9:43 am

I agree with "Informed"

"I joined the YMCA because of the good they do and the communities they help. Could I in good conscience say that "my gym" is worth loosing money that could help others who need it much more than I do?"

The branch is loosing money, they are loosing more annually than even the campaigning for donations bring in. It makes sense to better focus resources where they are able to do more for all people not just one small group.

I will work out at EPA, PA, or maybe even the El Camino one. Parking can be a pain but it is a beautiful and huge location.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by I-Agree
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 17, 2014 at 9:45 am

Sorry losing not loosing.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by boscoli
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 17, 2014 at 9:47 am

[Portion removed.]

Many, many members who are nominally members of other Y gyms like Ross, EPA, Redwood City and El Camino actually work out at the Page Mill facility, because it's quieter, has abundance of parking, and is so friendly. I know, because I have been meeting them at the gym for many years. It's a matter of accounting-if those members, who actually don't use the other facilities they are supposed to belong would be re-signed for Pager Mill Y, the facility they belong to for all intent and purposes, Page Mill would have plenty of members. As a matter of fact, Page Mill has been subsidizing other Y facilities in the area. The CVYMCA will lose thousands of members, their membership fees and their very generous donations to the causes of the YMCA. Financially, it will prove a very costly bad decision.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by concerned voter
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 17, 2014 at 10:01 am

[Portion removed.]

"The CVYMCA will lose thousands of members, their membership fees and their very generous donations to the causes of the YMCA. Financially, it will prove a very costly bad decision. "
Considering how wrong you have all been regarding your other pronouncements, I will take this latest prediction with a grain of salt.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by YMCASV wasting $3000,000.00 shutting us down
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Jul 17, 2014 at 10:01 am


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.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Really?
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 17, 2014 at 10:13 am

@Boscoli
[Portion removed.]
All of your comments and accusations are assumptions, with no basis in actual reality. How do you know what they did to count and determine branch usage and membership units? They have a team of professionals that run a company that provide services. [Portion removed.] How do you know that they will lose thousands of members? Heck what did we raise for the branch during donation time... somewhere around $160,000 yet the branch net was ~-$200,000 so we didn't even cover the deficit.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by RE:YMCASV wasting $3000,000.00 shutting us down
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 17, 2014 at 10:15 am

It would cost around 2.8 million to keep it open. I am sorry but isn't that a lot more than $300,000?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Re: Concerned Voter
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 17, 2014 at 10:17 am

Thank you, I am glad to see that I am not the only one who is keeping a level head about this.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by dollarbin
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 17, 2014 at 10:20 am

That "Page Mill Membership Units" graphic is terrible. The limited Y-axis makes it look like the Y has less than 20% of the members it had in 2009, but the actual value is around 90%. Plus, what happened in 2009-2010? Almost all of the decline happened 5 years ago, since 2010 the decline is only about 3%. What was the membership in 2008? Is 2009 an anomaly?

The Ross Road Y is already too crowded, I am not looking forward to sharing it with an onslaught of new members.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ross Road Member
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 17, 2014 at 10:40 am

There are some other questions that should be asked here.

What proportion of regular Page Mill users are signed up Page Mill Members and what proportion are Bay Area Members?

What proportion of Ross Road,EPA,Grant Road members are Bay Area Members? And what proportion of those using each of these facilities are Bay Area Members?

Have Bay Area memberships dipped in the same way and have the other Ys lost memberships?

Is there a trend here about the Ys losing membership overall? Why just pick on Page Mill to show us figures, we should look at all the local gyms to get a true picture of what is happening?

If we don't get these numbers about membership declines, there is nothing to stop the other gyms being closed for the same reason in the next year if the ex PM members decide to take out membership elsewhere rather than just transfer.

We have the JCC, Golds Gym, 24 hour Fitness plus a plethora of boutique gyms/yoga studios, etc. popping up all over the area. Is this part of the problem? Google, Facebook, Stanford have their gyms too. What is happening at all of these?

We can't just look at this so called decline in membership of one Y to see the complete picture. A decent statistician looks at all sorts of factors to arrive at conclusion. This one graph seems very misleading as far as I can see.

In an area where personal fitness, increasing populations and increasing personal disposable income are demographic realities, more questions should be asked to see what is really going on here. I am sorry, but I smell a fishy smell.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by 1 Member's summary of meeting
a resident of Atherton
on Jul 17, 2014 at 10:45 am

The YMCASV decided to bar the press and TV cameras from the room because first they thought it should be for members only (but wait there were scores of non-members there), because there wouldn't be enough room ( but there was lots of room) and then they denied knowledge of knowing that one of their executive team had made the decision himself and had barred the media.

The YMCASV has been asked a number of specific questions prior to the meeting. They successfully sidestepped direct answers to almost all questions. When members asked direct questions, they were non responsive in their answers or changed the subject. Over the last 3 weeks they changed their reason from poor lighting, no place to grow for families and kids, to the entire building has to be shut down for 5 months, to 3,000,000.00 million of repairs needed, to poor ventilation, and to too costly of spa repairs. As members successfully refuted these reasons YMCASV came up with a new reason, shrinking membership. You see we older members keep getting older and are literally dying off.

They ignored or rejected the dozens of offers of help from know experts in the audience including further analyzing their data, fundraising, increasing fees, not repairing the imagined problems (poor ventilation in the Spin room), renewing the lease for a shorter period of time, and campaigning to solicit new cooperate members, etc. They did acknowledge that the landlord would be responsible for the most costly of the improvements and we would only have to be shut down for a short time to complete the repairs for which we were responsible. They cited 1 incident were they might need more room, when one time per week the 5:00 AM Bootcamp which ends at 5:50 overlaps with the 6:00AM Express Bodypump!!!

They were not aware that Equinox's city block will be shut down for 2+ years during major construction (Equinox attends to stay open during construction but managers there expect more that a 50% to 70% drop in attendance during the most disruptive times). In fact Equinox is planning on launching a huge new promotion during the 2 year construction to keep and recruit new members to compensate for its losses during construction. Seems like a great time to launch a great membership campaign for PM citing our ease of parking and non-crowded conditions.

From what I could hear from the audience was 2013 was the year that our donations did not exceed out deficit (it was hard to hear Elizabeth much of the time and impossible to see her graph and pie chart from the back half or the room). Most of our donations go to supplementing EPA which is a noble cause.

We are also important demographic to reach out and serve. We boomers are increasing day by day and will need more and more specialized services. Eliminating the only local Y that provides an adult setting for serious workouts is completely against the City of Palo Alto's mission to expand services to boomers. It is expected that Palo Alto's population of age 55 or older will reach 40% of the population in the next 20 years.

Finally, the YMCASV talked about their unsuccessful attempts to gain more members. I have been a member for more that 6 years and I have never seen or heard of any efforts to increase membership and I work in one of the large office buildings on site. If they didn't reach me or my business partners, the PR attempt was ineffective.

It is abundantly clear that YMCASV makes its own decisions without input from members or local boards. We were mistaken to believe that "we" are the "we" in the Y. We are merely paid subscribers and YMCASV will and does exactly what they want. It's like any other business and they and we do not owe each other anything.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Another Ross Member
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 17, 2014 at 10:46 am

I didn't have the chance to attend the meeting yesterday, though I am disappointed that the YMCA board seems to have already made up their mind, according to some commenters.

But I do think it is clear that the board has several reasonable explanations for PM Y's closing. Unfortunate, but I understand their thinking. Could the decline in membership be due to the fact that major Silicon Valley names these days must have its own gym for its employees as perks?

I'd like to clarify a few things about Ross YMCA, which I go to at least 5 times a week.

- Yes, Ross has lots of children running around. It's a family YMCA
- Parking is a problem in the mornings around 10am, but I rarely feel there are parking problems any other time (except Saturday mornings when there are kiddie basketball games)
- Ross YMCA never expanded or took away parking spaces. They just lifted the ceiling to max out the workout room. I don't think Ross *can* expand given its contract with CPA and the nearby neighbors
- Ross is getting more crowded, and it is indeed nearing capacity. I often cannot find space in the pool.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by YMCA Bay area member
a resident of another community
on Jul 17, 2014 at 10:46 am

I've been a Y member for 13 years. I see a lot of anger in these posts, but you know you can't make everyone happy. I personally have never liked the Page Mill YMCA because the machines are really close together, I don't like being in a basement and they aren't able to offer the number of classes I can get at Ross Road or El Camino. However, I sympathize with the many people who did consider this their exercise home; I know it's hard to change your routine. I don't agree with everything the Y does, but it's a business and they have to look at their bottom line, just like any other business. Being a non-profit doesn't change that. As for opening their books to the public, as a non profit, their tax records are certainly available. Are you really going to spend your time looking at these numbers? I know I'm not. If I don't like the way a business operates, I let them know by spending my money elsewhere. Much less frustrating than trying to argue with them.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by TimH
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 17, 2014 at 10:47 am

The YMCA is really no different than a familiar old restaurant or store closure that we all comment upon monthly. Newer Palo Altans will seek out a more modern "image" from an Equinox over going to "the Y". The YMCA is very reliant upon communities to thrive, and some areas (midtown) could sustain it indefinitely but in this example there is not enough community interest to provide enough revenue. Like everything else in Palo Alto, it's a business decision.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by boscoli
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 17, 2014 at 10:50 am

[Portion removed.]
YMCA is actually not a corporation, it is a nonprofit entity. I am a member who has also donated to their causes for many years, and I do have a right to see their books. Their reasoning for the closure is bogus. They couldn't get their story straight for a few weeks, and now they eventually settled on the "declining membership" meme, although they'll make certain that no outsider will ever see any proof.

An indication that the entire matter isn't kosher was demonstrated at the gym this morning. A burly, shaved head man with a black shirt with the word STAFF printed on the back was loitering in the gym, getting physically close to members who were conversing, never saying a word but looking intensely at them, a well as at other members who weer working out. A crude and clumsy way of intimidating members and showing them who is the boss.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by YMCASV wasting $3000,000.00 shutting us down
a resident of St. Claire Gardens
on Jul 17, 2014 at 11:02 am

Yes indeed, $3 million is more than $300 K. But as quietly YMCASV agreed last night the $3 mil is mostly the owner's responsibility. Of course we don't know how much our share actually is because we have no right to see their books. Estimates by members with construction expertise estimated our share to be less than $100,000. $300k is much more than $100k but we would have to see the books to verify that.

Poor Robert Wheatley will never be able to re-rent this space given the YMCASV decrepit description of the space (no light, no ventilation, leaks every where, elevators to be built, new HVAc systems).


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Solon
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 17, 2014 at 11:05 am

Isn't this a Christian organization?
Devoted to the full humanity of all
Would using Christian welcome!
And Christian purposes and principles? What happened?

And when?

Signed,

Huh?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by concerned voter
a resident of Charleston Gardens
on Jul 17, 2014 at 11:11 am

"An indication that the entire matter isn't kosher was demonstrated at the gym this morning. "
An indication??? How about some real proof.

"A burly, shaved head man with a black shirt with the word STAFF printed on the back was loitering in the gym, getting physically close to members who were conversing, never saying a word but looking intensely at them, a well as at other members who weer working out. "
Funny how you make this "person" sound so scary--black shirt, shaved head, burly. Also funny how no one I know has seen any of these people and the issue did not come up at the meeting yesterday. Yes. Real funny,

" A crude and clumsy way of intimidating members and showing them who is the boss. "
What is crude and clumsy is the wild assertions made on this and other threads regarding the PM YMCA. most of them made by people with an obvious sense of self-entitlement. You would think that they actually owned the PM YMCA.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by where_is_the_pm_ymca_board?
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jul 17, 2014 at 11:18 am

Give up. PM leadership is fragmented and ineffective.

The PM YMCA Board has been absent from community discussions and have abandoned their membership. Unbelievable.

Very, very sad.

Time to look for another gym.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sally
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 17, 2014 at 11:20 am

I am very disappointed in the closure. I do not go to Ross road because it is way too crowded, it is hard to wlk from entrance down hall towards gym and restroom. I much much prefer page mill and go there even though I have Bay Area membership.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Really?
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 17, 2014 at 11:22 am

-Boscoli,
[Portion removed.]
I too have donated and volunteered and am a member at the Y for many years and I don't remember seeing in my membership paperwork, pledge information or even just a post-it on the wall stating that in lieu of my donations and membership they are now obligated to show me their financials upon my request.
Get their story straight, they still hold to the renovations and cost as they have said from the beginning. To back up that they showed how the branch is costing the company money yearly, how memberships and campaign doesn't even cover the operating costs of the gym, so how can they justify millions more in construction costs.
You are now going to call out a Y employee's physical appearance "burly, shaved head man". Who is actually every polite if you actually talk to him instead of pointing the oh so righteous finger at him. He is employed by the Ross Rd. Y and he is there to talk about the location to those who would like to know more, and help them educate themselves on the location. I understand that based on your posts any educating or explanations the Y, it's branch staff or even your fellow members give will fall on def ears with you.
[Portion removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by RE: YMCASV wasting $3000,000.00 shutting us down
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 17, 2014 at 11:28 am

The members who have expertise in renovation can't give an estimate of $100,000. Like you stated "of course we don't know how much our share actually is because we have no right to see their books." So how can $100,00 be even thought of. You, them, nor I have seen what the landlord would cover and what the Y's portion would be. I venture to think that the landlord isn't covering over 2 million dollars and allowing the Y to pay just $100,000. I mean come on be real. That makes NO sense what so ever.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Jul 17, 2014 at 11:43 am

What is kind of number is "$3000,000.000" ??? Was it meant to be 3,000? 3,000,000? 3000?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by A done deal
a resident of Palo Alto Orchards
on Jul 17, 2014 at 11:44 am


Unfortunately I have to agree that I think it's a done deal. The board and executives were not there
last night to listen to members concerns but to explain why they made the decision they did and
that they aren't going back. They weren't really interested in finding ways to save the PM Y
or involving the community for ideas. It seems that for this board and executive team
dollar concerns trumps community. Sad day indeed.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ken Horowitz
a resident of University South
on Jul 17, 2014 at 12:04 pm

If the Silicon Valley Executive Board wants to call their "business" a YMCA they need to follow the mission statement of the YMCA organization which reads:
"The YMCA rooted historically in the values of Judeo-Christian ethics,is an association of people unified by the common purpose of strengthening and enriching the mental,physical and spiritual well-being of all people and improving human conditions within the changing patterns of family and community life"

Nothing I heard last evening, will convince me that they should have been allowed to call themselves and their "business" a Y! What a disgrace to all the other YMCAs in the United States.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by CT Resident2
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 17, 2014 at 12:52 pm

My wife and I are also very sad about this closing. We were using the PM YMCA regularly. I wonder why they only gave the last 5 year's membership count. Does anyone have a bigger picture, say the last 10 years for example? Moreover, in 2014 the membership count increased. I wonder if 2009 was just a spike in the data, and the data is presented to in a way to deceive people... Is 10% drop a good excuse to close a 'profitable business'?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by ChrisC
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 17, 2014 at 1:00 pm

ChrisC is a registered user.

Good job, Elena, but you might have had more rebuttal to their party line if you'd been there from the beginning. It was clear last night that they haven't done marketing for this gym. There were great ideas from members. It sounded Luke the PM board of directors, except for the chair, were not involved until the decision was made. If it was known that declining membership meant continuing deficits, then both boards are to blame for ineptness. It appeared that the cost was inflated, and the gentleman who had spoken to the leasing agent had conflicting information, including some amount of cost sharing for the improvements. The Family Y is not a competitor with Equinox. It may have more "amenities" than page mill,, but not what young professionals are seeking, which is the club atmosphere. The board knows most page mill members will not go to the other area Ys; they do not care. There were problems, but instead of starting from the position of needing to save this Y, they came at it from "it can't be dine," now how do we justify it. I do think they their story changed; I still believe the new Y has no place for this type of y and wants the money for Family Ys. I still believe there is discrimination.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by ChrisC
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 17, 2014 at 1:13 pm

ChrisC is a registered user.

To Really? And anybody else who does nit understand the campaign that raised $160,000. None of the campaign money is for facilities. It is all for financial aid--either providing special programs like Live Strong Live Well to cancer survivors or "scholarships" to fee-based programs such as summer camp for EPA kids. This year there was a matching grant of $25,000 from one donor. I wonder if they will do the sane for other Y's next year. I'm quite sure the majority of PM y Do not know this, because almost every member I called during campaign, I called wouldn't let me get one sentence of explanation out out before they hung up. of my mouth, there was no mention if where each and every program will go, as well as where the many many classes will go. The other y's schedules are very full.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by boscoli
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 17, 2014 at 1:24 pm

Was anyone surprised that local channels TV cameras were not allowed in the meeting? Is anyone surprised that the story kept changing from 'no natural light', to 'downstairs room has no ventilation'(false), to 'landlord insists on a 10 year lease'(false), to 'there no parts necessary to fix Jacuzzi plumbing' (laughable), to 'we are losing money'(but will not open their books to the members who actually pay their salaries).

The notion that Ross Y can accommodate even a small portion of the PMY is absurd. Ross is not only very overcrowded with often irate membersI tried it a number of times over the years and it's awful) frequently having to wait for machines and showers to become available, plus serious parking issues. Many Ross members are working out at the PMY facility, but are counted as Ross members, the same goes for EPA, El camino and Redwood City members, so in real terms, PMY has many more members than the board will admit. The Ross Rd residents are pretty fed up with that facility and any additional pressure on that neighborhood will be the beginning of the end for the Ross rd. family Y. EPA has never been an option. So what we really have here is age discrimination, as the aging membership of this facility is at odds with the profile the SV board has in mind.

One last thing, I am not an attorney, but how can a board of a non-profit corporation refuse to allow the people who pay their salaries to examine the books? We members are their employers-THEY WORK FOR US!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Naked at the "Y"
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 17, 2014 at 1:24 pm

Who ever said being on a Board is Easy? A thoughtful review of intended actions can always be changed until they can't.

1) We have heard that Robert Wheatly has been a strong supporter of the Page Mill Y. For 35 years a VERY low rent. As a member of the local community, he may be willing to consider the outpouring of support for the facility that he helped create. > He and other Community leaders may rise to help produce a different outcome.

2) The apparent failure to increase membership at the Page Mill "Y" may have a link to the awkward "communications" regarding the closure of the Page Mill facility. In hindsight, both probably could have been done much better?
> I hope the board will consider another effort to increase membership if closure is reconsidered.

3) Membership at the Page Mill "Y" has demonstrated the capacity to "donate" above and beyond. > Allow membership to initiate a three week effort to seek pledges for the "Capital Projects" budget of a surviving Page Mill "Y". Review the results after three weeks.

- naked





 +   Like this comment
Posted by Really?
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 17, 2014 at 1:40 pm

[Post removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Timeline
a resident of Esther Clark Park
on Jul 17, 2014 at 2:03 pm

This is my opinion of the timeline -

Executives at YMCA Silicon Valley realize East Palo Alto YMCA gym doesn't have enough money because EPA has nearly no membership.

Executives discuss and decide to shut down Page Mill YMCA because they calculate (in their opinion) that the elderly and mentally challenged will be unable to launch any kind of protest. They intend for Page Mill members to transfer to EPA. They will make efforts to have us transfer within YMCA Silicon Valley.

Page Mill is to be closed even though renovations are not necessary, renovations will be paid for by the building owners, and even though it is making a lot of money. Repeat: Page Mill YMCA is currently very profitable. The numbers given by YMCA Execs are skewed, incomplete, and in essence - completely false. Page Mill, if counting the numbers from other local gyms, has 500% more membership than East Palo Alto.

Executives run an ultra-aggressive, deceitful campaign to "raise money" for Page Mill YMCA. Donors are told our money is for Page Mill YMCA. The entire time, they are conscious and fully aware the money will all go to EPA and to indirectly fund Kathy Riggin's salary, currently over $400,000. [Portion removed.]

Members donate all the money they can to Page Mill YMCA

All the fundraising signs, congratulation posters, etc are taken down.

Closure is announced. False information, excuses, and lies are disseminated to make the Page Mill members shut up. Deceit and varying financial numbers are used to convince Page Mill members that there is no hope to save the gym. The reality is that Page Mill never needed "saving" to begin with.

YMCA Silicon Valley must discourage any effort to continue Page Mill under another YMCA organization, or any kind of organization outside of YMCA Silicon Valley, since the money will no longer go to them. Part of this plan was to drain the membership of money by running the ultra-aggressive donation campaign.

Manipulative efforts are made to make Page Mill look like a financially failing gym, even though it is doing very well. YMCA SV refuses to allow Page Mill to sign up any more members. They prohibit members from changing their branch to Page Mill, even though it was OK during donation campaign time. They prohibit staff from printing any more membership cards.

YMCA SV Executives turn away people wishing to discuss the decision for closure. They do not return emails and phone calls.

The Page Mill YMCA members and community, including members who have technical membership at other local branches, work as hard as they can to rally support and inform media [portion removed.]

YMCA SV Executives need some kind of token "meeting" as proof they didn't ignore the members and community. They are forced by the media pressure to hold a meeting. They setup the meeting in a confusing location, difficult for the elderly and mentally challenged to find. They give short notice of the meeting. They make it 5 PM, the worst time of the day and night to schedule anything. Many members and the community are confused and show up at the wrong location for the meeting.

At the 5 PM meeting, YMCA SV Executives kick out reporters. Reporters have equipment to record. [Portion removed.] The decision to have the meeting on "private grounds" was intentional. They intended to shut out reporters to begin with. Execs give out just enough information to appear helpful and compassionate. In reality, they have no intention to listen to anyone. The 5 PM meeting time was intended to discourage people to show up.

What needs to be done -

The members and media have to use all available resources, organizations, and leverage to prepare continuing a new Page Mill gym. The people who donated should be given an option to have their donations returned, so they can contribute that towards their new gym.

YMCA SV Executives [portion removed] have irreparably damaged their image and the overall broader image of YMCA. This action to close Page Mill, to silence and ignore the helpless, is an example of human greed that has gone too far unchecked.

YMCA SV Execs should apologize. They should take Bud Bennington's advice to keep the gym open until it can be saved. But they will not. [Portion removed.]

Page Mill members will need to continue to organize. They must identify the people who will keep the gym open. The priority of the new gym's ownership and management to community service will depend on the group of people that end up taking over. It is essential that members write out the values they expect from the new gym. [Portion removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by boscoli
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 17, 2014 at 2:06 pm

[Post removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Really?
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 17, 2014 at 2:13 pm

[Post removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by boscli
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 17, 2014 at 2:22 pm

[Post removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Y member
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 17, 2014 at 2:26 pm

I too joined the Family YMCA when we moved here 11 years ago but soon found myself almost exclusively at the Page Mill Facility after my husband found they had raquetball. I did formally change my membership to Page Mill once but found it back at the Family Y????For a period I tried Equinox as well. But the Page Mill community, unlike any work-out community I have found in the past 30 years and five Cities I've lived in, always brought me back. It is a special place. Why not let the membership know that there is trouble, we could have helped. We are a committed, connected group of people. Sadly you communicated so late in the game we are all searching for our next home. My husband and I think we will cancel our Y membership altogether. $125/month is not cheap. If he has to play racquetball down in Sunnyvale, I might as well check out other places as well. Also, not to be mean, but the classes just haven't been as engaging at the Ross Y--and dancing in that big echo-chamber gym is a shame.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ymember18
a resident of Professorville
on Jul 17, 2014 at 2:47 pm

Elizabeth Jordan COO of SCVY stated on June 24:

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

So the question is, why is nobody holding her to her original statement?


Jordan continues:

"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."

The above quotes are at the end of this article:
Web Link



 +   Like this comment
Posted by Joe Antebi
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 17, 2014 at 3:00 pm

I totally agree with Bunny Wunny's comments at the top of the page. We joined the Ross Road Y but my wife goes mostly to Page Mill and I go there when I need to work out later at night. I'm sure we are considered Ross Road members and our numbers don't count in the Page Mill tally for members, or revenue. My biggest concern is that we are going to get a lot more folks using the Ross Rd Y once Page Mills closes. It's already getting out of hand in the weight/machine room. I love kids, but there are often a number of them who appear to be underage using a cross-trainer or treadmill next to (somethimes) their parent. The fitness staff, all nice people, who are stationed in the weight room do a poor job making sure the weights are put back, benches are not dragged all over the place, people are using the equipment and the space in a safe way. One of the problems is they are very friendly (a nice thing) with all the teens that work out and are very reluctant to give them any kind of guidance, or are too busy to notice unsafe practices going on nearby while they talk with their friends. Adding more members will eventually, I believe, cause Ross Rd to lose members who are getting sick and tired of the weight room "scene." Clever remodeling and expansion is really the only thing that will keep enable Ross Rd to compete with all the competition. The JCC does cost quite a bit more than the Y, but as a percentage of household income around here, the difference is not very significant. What the JCC has to offer is so far superior to the Ross Rd Y in terms of variety of equipment, accessability, size and space of the facility, is going to make it hard for the Ross Rd Y to keep up, unless it addresses some fundamental questions. I hope there is a way to keep Page Mill open. Otherwise I predict a negative domino effect.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Boscoli Fan
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jul 17, 2014 at 3:08 pm

I've been doing a lot of research. I'm pleased to report that other members have intensified their research too. The results have been astounding. Every day this research continues, the intent of - and falsehoods from - the YMCASV Executives have become more clear.

I have been following all the comments. I want to thank Boscoli for his / her comments. I hope s/he can repost the comments that have been removed. Her/His comments and figures are in fact, accurate. I don't know where he/she is getting the info from. If anything, it's a bit conservative.

I'd like to see all of us working together towards formation of a new Page Mill. We have accomplished so much already. As someone posted previously, I agree that we need to write out the code of conduct for our new gym. We need to discuss the intentions and vision of the people that will provide funding (and therefore control) of the new gym.

Of course we are upset by the YMCASV Executives' lies. Remember they will be gone in 2 months. Already, we are in the time where our new gym is in our hands.

YMCASV showed us terrible leadership and a complete failure of community values. But their failure can be our gain.

We can do this.

Boscoli, please try to use milder language. We need your facts and figures to stay online where we and the media can have access to it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sally Schwartz
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 17, 2014 at 3:14 pm

ATTENTION MEMBERS:

We had our meeting with the YMCA but now what?
Please join the OFFICAL email group for Page Mill Members who want to get involved in a solution, to receive emails with news, our progress, and how you can help. Didn't attend the meeting? Don't worry, we will be emailing out the minutes of the meeting, what was covered, said, and even short video of the meeting you can watch at home.

Current ways to get in the loop:
Join our Facebook page, Save the Page Mill YMCA, and get in on the discussion, get news updates etc.
Email pagemillymcamembers@outlook.com and get emailed updates, news, and more. You will get an immediate response, and ways you can help now.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by True Numbers
a resident of Palo Verde School
on Jul 17, 2014 at 3:14 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sally Schwartz
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 17, 2014 at 3:16 pm

*OFFICIAL


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Not all eggs in one basket
a resident of Mountain View
on Jul 17, 2014 at 3:19 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Joe Antebi
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 17, 2014 at 3:20 pm

While we are on the subject over the over-crowding at Ross Rd and future addition of folks coming to Ross Rd from Page Mill, is it too much to ask that signs be posted that explain some simple etiquette rules that would make the Y more workable and pleasant for everyone ie. Everyone (especially kids) pick up your used towels and put them in the bin - your mom will not be walking around behind you to take care of that while you are at the Y. And post them in the most popular languages for greatest effect.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by traceychen
a resident of Fairmeadow
on Jul 17, 2014 at 3:39 pm

[Post removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by New Leadership
a resident of Portola Valley
on Jul 17, 2014 at 3:40 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Central Hub
a resident of Greater Miranda
on Jul 17, 2014 at 3:53 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ralph
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 17, 2014 at 4:05 pm

As for "annual revenue has more steeply declined" than membership units, I calculate that the membership "units" have declined by 1.90%/year over the last five years and revenue has declined by 2.06%/year over the last three years.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by SJ
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 17, 2014 at 4:14 pm

Please email Sally at: pagemillymcamembers@outlook.com You WILL get an automatic response that you are enrolled. You WILL get updates today and tomorrow. We, meaning all of us WILL have tangible results within the days. We WILL have specific people writing, phoning, analyzing data with in a few days.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Karen White
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jul 17, 2014 at 4:25 pm

I wonder whether anyone at the Association calculated the opportunity costs of their decision, which I'd invite them to do:

Loss of members and memberships, both at PM and Ross Road
Loss of contributions
Loss of goodwill
Appearance of harming those they purport to serve.

Seems to me the opportunity costs are quite substantial.

Separately, WSJ Properties owns the two buildings Morrison Foerster occupies as well as the Page Mill Y space. Related: they also own the substantial parcel where Fry's is, I believe from Park all the way out to El Camino (though it's been a while since I checked the parcel map). The partners/principals of WSJ Properties have been enormous and generous supporters of the Y for decades, as the Association Board will know. I'd be absolutely astonished if a shorter-term lease couldn't be arranged, if the Y sincerely wanted to stay.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sparty
a resident of another community
on Jul 17, 2014 at 4:26 pm

Sparty is a registered user.

"[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names] "

How do you know this? maybe...the are friends at starbucks...or petes.... or coworkers at work...or two people at the library.....or on the same cable modem..... or...a whole lot of things could give them the same IP


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Brian
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jul 17, 2014 at 4:55 pm

I hope someone can figure out a way to keep a gym open at the PM location. As satisfied, long-term members at PM, we would definitely be interested in joining a new gym at that location, as long as the rates are reasonable. We are looking at alternatives, but haven't committed to anything. It won't be Equinox (too expensive) or JCC (too far away and a bit too expensive) or Ross Road Y (too crowded). I suspect the Y is going to lose a lot of the PM membership. The two main YMCA alternatives are just not that attractive - at least for us.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by sporty agree
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 17, 2014 at 5:05 pm

"[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]" is the work of YMCASV Corporate.

They also called the landlords / building owners to tell them to stop giving out info that could discredit the "story" given by Y Corp.

Notice that this error has never been seen before - neither here nor in the first article. Also, noticed that these type of "post removed" coincidentally are those that have the most pertinent and damaging information against Y Corp.

Contact PageMillTown@gmail.com and ask to be added to the facebook group. There, you can post pretty much whatever you want.

Peace


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Town Square Moderator
online staff of Palo Alto Online
on Jul 17, 2014 at 5:21 pm

Town Square Moderator is a registered user.

We regularly remove posts made from the same IP address, knowing that occasionally this might result in the removal of the comments of two different people using the same Internet connection. Unfortunately, this is the best tool we have to ensure that a single poster is not making comments under multiple identities and distorting the discussion. We do this on all topics; the YMCA has nothing to do with it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by sj
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 17, 2014 at 5:44 pm

Dear Sporty,

What do you mean? What error and posts by whom?
"Notice that this error has never been seen before - neither here nor in the first article. Also, noticed that these type of "post removed" coincidentally are those that have the most pertinent and damaging information against Y Corp."


 +   Like this comment
Posted by SJ
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 17, 2014 at 6:20 pm

KQED called for information from the members on the YMCASVs decision to close Page Mill today. Reporter Ms.
Adizah Eghan then posted this on this on the Web Link, the members' Facebook page. Please contact her at the number or email posted on Web Link.

"Today at 12:12pm
Anyone interested in speaking to KQED about the closing of your YMCA? Send me an email: aeghan@kqed.org or call me 415 553 2470 by the end of today."


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Entertained
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 17, 2014 at 6:33 pm

[Post removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by boscoli
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 17, 2014 at 8:07 pm

[Post removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sally Schwartz
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 17, 2014 at 8:36 pm

Loving the comments from all those supporting the Page Mill YMCA staying open! We need to keep the momentum going! Please don't forget to sign up via email to become part of the solution.
Please email pagemillymcamembers@outlook.com This is the OFFICIAL email of organized members taking the lead and interested in getting things done. Our current goal is to get more detailed financial information so we can get to the bottom of the real costs involved, and from there make an informed decision. A members only meeting will be announced in the next week. Don't let the YMCA meeting discourage you! If you care about our gym please email us and get involved. Those who email our OFFICIAL address will be getting a recap of the meeting that was held this week including video clips. Thank you --Sally

What we need NOW from PM members:

1) Someone with financial background willing and able to get the YMCA financial information and look it over. We want to have clear idea of what it costs per month to run the Page Mill location, what the absolute renovations needed are and cost. Someone who can compile that data for easy viewing.

2) Anyone who has experience being on the PM board, who could give us the insider scoop on how to proceed.

3) Anyone who has experience setting up a non-profit or running a non-profit that could give us a real idea of what would be involved if we took this on without the YMCA.

4) Anyone with experience in fund raising that could give us an idea of what it would entail to reach out to our greater community to donate to our Alzheimer's programs etc. (Because this is an issue the whole community would care to support)

5) Anyone who has lots of contacts with current members that could be the social head and distribute information, speak to members etc.

If you would like to help in any of these ways, or a way we have missed please email us at pagemillymcamembers@outlook.com.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Entertained
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 17, 2014 at 9:18 pm

[Post removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by ChrisC
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 17, 2014 at 9:47 pm

ChrisC is a registered user.

If we go to Ross Rd we need to make our voices heard to change some of the things there. The fitness room is always warm because they leave the fans on the lowest setting. The fitness room staff have their hands tied as far as enforcing rules, or even adding signage. They are told that members rule and not to ruffle feathers. It's left up to members to duke it out with each other. One of the previous staff made some goods signs about the cardio wait lists, but those were removed. Parents often park their kids on the bikes to watch tv while ey exercise. So, please complain to the right people. Maybe page mill members can make a difference there.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 17, 2014 at 10:38 pm

Maybe praying for members is not a good way to solve the problem! ;-)
Why don't they advertise a little or make their presence known.
I have lived in Palo Alto for decades and not heard anything about a YMCA.
I'd go there if they had a pool.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 17, 2014 at 10:53 pm

When Page Mill closes, we're cancelling our family membership. It is that simple. It will be sad, but, we will just have to live with it. Traffic makes all the other Y's inaccessible during normal use times. Page Mill is 5 minutes away. But, there are a lot of other issues nagging for years. The rising cost and deterioration of the Ross Road youth swim program, the deterioration of Y youth basketball (compare to NJB), the overcrowded Ross Road weight room. The lack of management concern when people complain.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Long Time Resident
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 18, 2014 at 2:22 am

24 hour fitness is spacious, always open, inexpensive, and free of screaming kids.

Pay a bit more and go across the street to Equinox, or Reach.
Ask Reach to extend their hours. If there are enough people who want to work out until 10 pm, they may stay open later.



 +   Like this comment
Posted by Similarities
a resident of another community
on Jul 18, 2014 at 5:25 am

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by sadly_its_done
a resident of another community
on Jul 18, 2014 at 7:43 am

Thank you, Sally Schwartz, for spearheading what looks to be the first organized and effective campaign to try to keep the Page Mill YMCA open.

I urge folks to get on Sally's email list: pagemillymcamembers@outlook.com. You will receive an immediate confirmation back. She promises (and delivers) action and updates. It has constructive tasks and ways of thinking.

It is nothing like the email and efforts of Saving the YMCA Task Force that never got off the ground and didn't deliver what was promised.

Thanks for coming through, Sally. Together, hopefully we can keep the PM Y open.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by WhatIsWrong
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 18, 2014 at 8:55 am

[Portion removed.] Yes it sucks that the Y has decided to close Page Mill, but they are a business. They are loosing money every year keeping this location open, they will loose even more money having to fix up the behind the scenes parts of the gym. They are a non-profit. It isn't like the money they are loosing is just hitting their profit margin a little and they are being greedy. They are in the red on a location, and being in the red means that can't offer the same financial aide, community outreach programs, help the less fortunate with things like food. How selfish has this once charitable community become to get so angry over not having a gym 5 minutes from their house, or how their are too many kids at other locations. Geeze! The YMCA is the Young Mens Christian Association, bringing FAMILY VALUES. Hate to tell you this but in many families KIDS are involved. Stop the conspiracy theories, and stop acting like martyrs.
Oh and NO the Y doesn't have the power to have a company like Palo Alto Online, take down comments that include pertinent information. It is Palo Alto's decision not the Y's and if you guys kept an eye on this board you would have seen a lot of the removed content was between Boscoli and Really?.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Jul 18, 2014 at 9:14 am

I wholeheartedly agree with the previous poster....and last week I posted a couple of comments (on the previous thread on this topic) about the Y's legal fiduciary responsibilities [portion removed.]

Previous post from last week follows
--------------------

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.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by WhatIsWrong
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 18, 2014 at 9:36 am

@neighbor- You are amazing, thank you!!! It is a breath of fresh air to see some logic, and level headed thinking.
I appreciate your post!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Jul 18, 2014 at 10:28 am

Thanks for those very kind words.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by anonymous_celebrity
a resident of another community
on Jul 18, 2014 at 10:58 am

just a side comment...i walk through this area and parking lot every morning to get to work and i can't tell you how many times i've almost been run over by the Y folks speeding through the lanes, blasting through the stop signs and not yielding as pedestrians cross the parking lot. just because it's morning and there's ample room for your vehicle means you don't have to obey the laws?

i'd say this is one positive thing to come out of this closure.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Observer
a resident of Adobe-Meadows
on Jul 18, 2014 at 12:43 pm

@ whatiswrong and neighbor
The Y has done a very poor job communicating reasons for closing the Page Mill facility which has created the strong backlash from their members. Originally they said they wanted to focus more on their mission of serving families and youth implying that Page Mill was over focused on seniors. Then they said the facility needed renovations including an expensive elevator that others have suggested is not needed as there is already one in the building. Then they said the decision was final and they would not meet with the members. When protests prompted them to meet they rolled out financial data saying they are shutting it down because it is operating in the red. Why wasn't this originally disclosed? They have bred mistrust among the membership. It is no surprise that people are not trusting what they are saying. With the appearance of a cavalier attitude in shutting PM down, tas a member I would question if they have taken a hard look at how to turn around the financials. Are all members registered as Page Mill members, can hours and offerings be cut to reduce overhead, can fees be raised and what really is required in renovations? What will the impact be on Ross Road and how much revenue will they loose when they shut down Page Mill and PM and Ross Road members leave the Y due to overcrowding. It sounds like they have provided a wonderful community resource and I don't blame the members who want to preserve it. I'm not advocating for the Y to subsidize it, just to give members a fair shot at saving it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by SJ
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 18, 2014 at 1:03 pm

Respectfully Neighbor,
We have diligently been trying to get the financial information the SV used to make their decision. At Wednesday's meeting Elizabeth said that she would download the specific information we have been asking for. We still don't have it.

The Board meetings are NOT pen to the public; we have no way to speak directly to the Board and determine what data was given to them by Elizabeth.

Until we have it there is no way members will accept Elizabeth's statements about finances. If you have been reading Elizabeth's statements in the papers you recall her reasons for closing were initially lack of natural light, then we didn't fit the new family profile of the Y, then poor ventilation, then costly renovations that were to be partially paid for by the building owner, and finally shrinking enrollment.

Todays editorial in the Palo Alto Weekly says it all very well: Web Link

"Had open communication strategy been followed, instead of a strategy of secrecy and limited explanation, the YMCA could maintained a good relationship with its members and, perhaps, developed an alternate plan that would have preserved the facility"


 +   Like this comment
Posted by d duncan
a resident of Stanford
on Jul 18, 2014 at 1:46 pm

d duncan is a registered user.

The most recent tax return for Silicon Valley YMCA is publicly available here:

Web Link

Silicon Valley YMCA is not losing money; it had a net gain of $2,096,797.

The decision to close Page Mill Y was made by executives who will continue to earn in excess of $200,000, who can't get their story straight, and who failed to consult the local board or members in order to pursue alternative actions. My take: they hired a consultant to tell them what they wanted to hear, and decided it's an old facility (but not impossible to remodel) serving an older clientele (certainly not true in Yue's 6 AM TRX class), and it was easier to close the darn place and be done with it.

And look what they got.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by PageMillTown
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 18, 2014 at 4:04 pm

Thank you for the tax return info. An accountant looked at the returns and said Kathy Riggins is making in excess of $360,000 a year. She is earning way over $1,000 per working day.

There were a small handful of people that were saying Page Mill was making very good profits even before this was dug out. It's great the community is researching, digging, and finding the truth.

Page Mill never had to close down. Personally, I'd like to see the outcome of the Executives behind this resigning. And that Page Mill will continue its operations.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by boscoli
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 18, 2014 at 4:11 pm

There is absolutely no evidence that Page Mill is in the red. Elizabeth Jordan has had ample time to provide evidence that Page Mill is losing money, although it took her a couple of weeks to migrate to that claim, starting out at lack of natural light, through lack of ventilation, thorough plumbing issues and a few others I can't even remember anymore since her story kept changing so often. I always believed in the Occam's Razor principle. The fact Jordan hasn't provided (and is un unlikely to do so) any evidence that Page Mill is losing money, is that Page Mill isn't losing money but is actually profitable. There is another YMCA fitness center within a few miles that is definitely losing money, and I suspect that Page Mill has been subsidizing its loses for years. That facility can't be closed down for political reasons, and the SVYMCA believes that enough Page Mill members will now migrate to that facility to make it profitable, and that's what this is all about.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Rupert of henzau
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 18, 2014 at 4:14 pm

So, kathy rigging is making $360k. She is CEO of the Silicon Valley YMCA. So what does that have to do with the PM Y????
The YMCA is a non profit, so they do not make " profits". Does the YMCA have the right to close this location? Or does the sense of entitlement by a small number of Palo Alto residents trump that right ? Are you claiming that then YMCA people lied about the reason for closing the PM Y? If so, let's see the solid proof.. Not claims of,fraud , discrimination etc. without any evidence.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by boscoli
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 18, 2014 at 4:27 pm

[Portion removed.] No-profit executives making hundreds of thousands of dollars is legal, but highly inappropriate. Telling members of Page Mill of the closure right after the fund drive is quite tacky and should raise some eye brows.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Need clarification
a resident of Portola Valley
on Jul 18, 2014 at 6:28 pm

Can someone explain how a Bay Area membership works? I understand that if you are a Bay Area member, you pay a higher fee but have access to 26 bay area Ys. However - If someone gets a Bay Area membership -

1. Are they allowed to choose their own "home Y" or do they all get added to the Ross Road Family Y membership?
2. Are the dues paid by the Bay Area member (and any charitable gift contributed) credited to the Ross Road Y, the Y the member uses the most, or the YMCASV?
3. We all have to show our cards when we sign in to use the Y, so surely YMCASV has the capability to figure out which Y each member uses most frequently. Is there any attempt to find out which Y a member uses most frequently and consider that the "home Y"?

A lot of questions related to this were asked during Wednesday night's meeting and I don't remember getting a clear, direct answer. It's important to know to interpret the data YMCASV gave us.

Thanks


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ymember18
a resident of Professorville
on Jul 18, 2014 at 7:16 pm

[Post removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Rupert of henzau
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 18, 2014 at 8:06 pm

[Post removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ex-Board Member
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jul 18, 2014 at 9:21 pm

Need clarification-

If you purchased your Bay Area membership at the Ross Road Y, than all of your dues goes to that branch. None of the funds go to any other branch, no matter which branch you usually use.

You may choose a different home branch any time. There is some paperwork involved.

Unless you specify a different branch, all of your charitable gift contributions automatically goes to your home branch.

The YMCASV does know which branch each and every member uses, as long as they scan their cards. However, there is no effort to allocate dues by branch usage. Elizabeth Jordan said that on average and over time, it all equals out.

I hope that helps.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ymember18
a resident of Professorville
on Jul 18, 2014 at 9:21 pm

[Post removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Rupert of henzau
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 18, 2014 at 9:31 pm

[Post removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Need Clarification
a resident of Portola Valley
on Jul 18, 2014 at 9:35 pm

Thank you Ex-Board Member. So, if someone got their Bay Area membership at Ross Road, but used the Page Mill Y most of the time, all of their dues would go to Ross Road. Therefore, when Elizabeth said about 23% PMY members are actually Bay Area members, does that mean that their dues are going to branches other than Page Mill?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ex-Board Member
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jul 18, 2014 at 10:01 pm

A little Page Mill Y history:

During the first 25 years of our existence, our revenues greatly exceeded our expenses. We were doing so well that we were subsidizing the Sequoia branch and the Ross Road branch.

In the early 90s, our branch board, with the approval of the Mid-Peninsula Y, met with the leadership of East Palo Alto and decided to establish the East Palo Alto Y.

Over the next 10 years, virtually all of the money we raised during the Annual Support Campaign went to support their programs. In the early years, Page Mill volunteers and staff actually developed and ran those programs.

We have a long and rich history of helping those that were not able to fully help themselves.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by SJ
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 18, 2014 at 10:14 pm

To Need clarification,

Yes, that means that 100% of your membership fees go to your other-identified main Y and 0% goes to Page mill.

I believe that Elizabeth stated at the meeting that we have the highest percentage of non-Page Mill members using our Page Mill Y than any other Y in the association and she did not know what percentage of Page Mill identified members use other Ys.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ymember18
a resident of Professorville
on Jul 18, 2014 at 10:42 pm

[Post removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ex-Board Member
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jul 18, 2014 at 11:02 pm

-Need Clarification

The dues paid by members of the Page Mill Y for a Bay Area Membership stays with the Page Mill Branch, even if they use a different exclusively.

The branch that you originally sign with is referred to your 'Home Branch' and all dues stays with that branch until you request a change of your 'Home Branch' designation.

The Page Mill has 23% of the members with a BAM and we have about 1,400 members. Ross Road has a lower % of its membership with a BAM, but I believe they about 4,000 members ( educated guess).

The bottom line is they have not given us figures concerning how many people are using our Y verses how many are actual Page Mill dues paying members.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Where's the money
a resident of Palo Verde
on Jul 19, 2014 at 6:12 am

Attended the meeting on Wed., really confused about the money graphs.....showing $160,000 raised but going to special programs. Money should be used to keep the Page Mill Y open. No graph showing all the money to keep EPA YMCA open. Salary of $360,000+ to Kathy Riggins. That is ridiculous, we're a non-profit! Maybe some of the CEO Members could take over her position. The meeting left a lot of unanswered questions about $$$ and membership figures. Also, Board Members seemed surprised to hear Equinox will be closing for 2? years.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by boscoli
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 19, 2014 at 6:25 am

There are hundreds of PA users who signed up in other branches and their dues and charitable go to those branches. Even if PM was losing money, which is highly doubtful, it would be in the black if the board if those users were counted as PM members, which in reality they are. This fact was even admitted by E. Jordan on Wednesday, but conveniently, she didn't provide the data, which would prove that PM is both profitable and subsidizing other branches.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Rupert of henzau
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 19, 2014 at 6:30 am

[Post removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Van Brugge
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 19, 2014 at 12:55 pm

[Post removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Rupert of henzau
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 19, 2014 at 1:16 pm

[Post removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by PageMillTown
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 20, 2014 at 6:20 pm

PageMillTown is a registered user.

I agree along the lines with boscoli. I personally know that PM is highly profitable. An accountant got access to financials and said PM is not only profitable, but making a ton of money. Furthermore, membership is not shrinking at PM. Also, ymcasv did NOT publish truthful numbers about membership. They did not include the high numbers of members that are signed up at local gyms, but ONLY go to PM.

As soon as closure was announced, new members were not allowed to sign up, local members were not allowed to transfer to PM, even though they only used PM. These are efforts meant to help distort the numbers to report the way ymcasv wants it to be reported.

There are rumors equinox will close for a time. I am a member there. It is impossible equinox would ever block anyone from signing up or transferring - even if they were a few days away from closing.

Now the main focus should be an effort to organize and quickly find a way to secure the lease starting Oct 1, so that no other business can "steal away" our space.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Rupert of henzau
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 20, 2014 at 6:29 pm

The Y is a non profit, so the PM Y is not " profitable". Why doesn't this accountant make these financials available to,everyone if they are so important? Why did he share them only with you? And if you have them why don't you share them with envy one?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Ross Road Member
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 20, 2014 at 6:34 pm

As a Ross Road Member I certainly do not want the PM Y to close down and all the members/users revert back to Ross Road. We do not have the space and whatever configuration of parking lot or indoor space is done, it will not make the Ross Road Y less crowded.

For this reason I do not want to get involved in the effort to keep PM open, but as an interested observer, I would like to make a couple of comments that I see from these threads.

At present there seem to be at least two separate groups run by a dedicated couple of people attempting to do what they can to get the ball rolling on a salvage plan. At present they may not have the same methods, but it is possible that they are accidentally dividing the interested people into two groups. These two efforts should be consolidated asap and the goals, whatever they are, should be something they all agree on. Division will hinder the effort so agree on something and get going.

The other probability is that the elderly people are possibly not as conversant with social media, emails, or other forms of technology. An old fashioned phone tree is going to be necessary. Getting those who are not able/willing to use the internet, social media, emails and the like are really important. It is possible these people do not have cell phones rather than smart phones. It is necessary then to friend them and let them know what is going on by word of mouth.

My 2 cents for what it is worth.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by jan
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 20, 2014 at 6:34 pm

PM town- your comments are very interesting. I hope that this accountant did not break the law to gain access to these financials. I and others would like to see them. Can you post them? You do actually have them and this is not some story made to gain sympathy for your cause?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by PageMillTown
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 20, 2014 at 7:35 pm

PageMillTown is a registered user.

Hi Jan, you can find this info online. I believe someone posted a link. It's confusing now, because there are comments on 3 different articles. Also, some comments are being taken off. No, the accountant didn't do anything illegal.

Page Mill gym is arranged so it's easy to socialize with people. If you talk to those that are in strong support to keep the gym open, you'll probably meet the accountant. And they actually had the report out for a while.

I'm not seeking sympathy. There are a lot of people that want the community to continue - and sympathy is not required for it.

I am seeking funding to secure the lease. I'm supportive of anyone here who wants to enjoy the community and improve their own personal lives and experiences.

If you're interested in the accounting, you may also want to ask the executives for it. The worst they can do is say "no."

Tonight or tomorrow, I plan to meet with a friend that has a personal connection to a philanthropist. I'll see if a meeting can be setup to secure a temporary lease for the purpose of keeping the "important aspects" of PM open. Towards this end, I have to thank the press for so diligently reporting on this matter. It's helpful to convince them that PM will continue to be profitable. Also, that the community aspect is worth replacing the open space with another non-profit.

I dread the idea of finding out the basement space is rented to another business - but that could occur any day now. We must hurry.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by PageMillTown
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 20, 2014 at 7:45 pm

PageMillTown is a registered user.

Hi Ross Road Member,

I hope whatever "camps" there are, that they support each other. I haven't really seen any "camps" so far. There is sort of one large group that doesn't know what to do and they don't know how to keep Page Mill open. But they love Page Mill and they are really suffering from the impending closure.

There's another small handful of people that have the finances to secure the basement lease, but they seem to want a private gym and it will probably not be non-profit.

This is the order of outcomes I'd like to see, from most to least desirable:

1) Someone(s) donates $1 Million to keep Page Mill open under a different or new non-profit organization that will facilitate a healthy and joyful community

2) Ymcasv reverses its decision for closure and also agrees not to
a) close Page Mill again.
b) Also to provide more transparency so we won't get blindsided by another closure
c) And be more transparent about the intent and distribution of donation campaigns.

3) Someone(s) turns the basement into a private gym, but continues to serve the community

4) The basement is leased to another company and Page Mill becomes a facebook page with 100 or less "likes"

Thank You


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Rupert of henzau
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 20, 2014 at 7:52 pm

"Hi Jan, you can find this info online. I believe someone posted a link. It's confusing now, because there are comments on 3 different articles. Also, some comments are being taken off. No, the accountant didn't do anything illegal. "
But, PM town, you said an accountant got access to the financials, implying that there was no access to the financials. Have you seen the financials or are you taking the word of this accountant. If you have these financials, there should be no problem having you posting them for all to see.
Also of note is that your claim regarding the financials contradicts what the Y has been saying. It is therefore imperative for this accountant to come forward and for you to make these financials available to all.

"2) Ymcasv reverses its decision for closure and also agrees not to
a) close Page Mill again. "
Since this is a leased facility the Y cannot make such a agreement for obvious reasons.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 20, 2014 at 8:07 pm

I have been vaguely aware that the PM and other branches have been subsidizing the new EPA branch, and, I have no problem with that. For years our family use was pretty much split between PM and Ross, but, for people on our side of the tracks, all the other branches except PM and Ross take way too long to get to, and, Ross takes too long at rush hour. EPA is completely out of the question at rush hour. Our use has gradually migrated from mostly Ross to mostly PM over the years. We never changed our "home" to PM because no one ever suggested it mattered. I always preferred the Y to private/exclusive clubs, or, commercial gyms, and, we don't have the time or money to use most of these clubs or commercial facilities anyway.

The articles about this remind me of the old movie "Cool Hand Luke" -- "What we've got here is failure to communicate." But the problem is that the Y actions and resulting message to be communicated do not make rational sense. It isn't a failure to communicate. It is a failure of the decision-making process.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by SJ
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 22, 2014 at 4:51 pm

How Page Mill YMCa has subsidized other Ys over the years: The following is an ex-board members response to a question about how many years the Page Mill Y has helped other Ys.

"I have been with Page Mill for 25 years. Before we were the YMCA of the Silicon Valley (11 branches) we were the YMCA of the Mid-Peninsula Valley, composed of Ross Road, Sequoia, El Camino and Page Mill. I don't know of any branch closing. We all helped each other out.

I don't know how many years we gave to help Ross Road (my guess is more than 15). Any surplus generated by a branch was pooled at the Association and given the the other branches as needed - we generated surpluses (Page Mill Y) for at least 25 years. Ross Road revenue increased greatly after their facilities were upgraded and expanded and they too generated surpluses.

I believe we have been contributing to EPA since day one. The PM Board, with the permission of the Association, formed and exploratory committee and met with the leadership of the EPA community and formed the EPA Y in the early 90s. For the next 10 years all of the Campaign funds we raised supported EPA. We also raised $450,000 for their capitol campaign. In the early years, our volunteers and staff developed and ran all of the programs."

When I asked other Page Mill Y members who have been with the Y for 35 years, they confirmed that no other Ys had had closed in their memory. It is unfortunate that the Board did not let the Page Mill members know that they were closing the Page Mill Y until after the fact, we would have risen to the challenge and come up with the money to save it and keep it running.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by SJ
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 22, 2014 at 5:09 pm

In a follow up to the question about how how many years the Page Mill Y has subsidized other Ys. Another member wanted this information from Elizabeth Jordan:

We want Elizabeth Jordan to give us numbers about exactly how much the Page Mill Y given to other YMCAs year by year. The Page Mill Y also subsidized the El Camino Y for years and other Ys in need. We request the the amounts the Page Mill Y gave to other Ys year by year since Page Mill's inception.

Page Mill helped other Ys out for 30 years and now we need a bit of time to get our finances in order. The Page Mill Y now has financial needs of its own based on its aging membership. The Page Mill Y is a worthwhile Y to keep open. It serves the growing number of boomers and should be seen as a feather in the YMCASV's cap in meeting the challenges identified by the National Council on Aging.

Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Too Late for Apologies
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 22, 2014 at 6:01 pm

It is just too, too late for damage control. The best thing that management of the Silicon Valley Y can do is refund the membership fees for 2014 that people have paid. That way they can easily pay to go elsewhere, to a non-YMCA facility.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mark Duncan
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 24, 2014 at 3:21 pm

I joined the Page Mill YMCA about ten years ago, after being a member of the Palo Alto Elks Club for many years.

Despite the higher monthly fee, I greatly preferred the YMCA. It has a wide variety of weight equipment, classes and racket ball courts. It was much cleaner and had more staff. But most importantly, there was a sense of community that I found particularly appealing because I work alone. Over the years, I have formed many friendships as a result of belonging to the YMCA.

As it has become more difficult for me to walk, I particular appreciate the small, compact layout of the Page Mill YMCA compared to larger facilities. As I require use of a cane and find it easy to lose my balance, I avoid situations where young children can inadvertently run into me.

It was a wise decision by the City of Palo Alto to require in 1979 that Palo Alto Square include an athletic facility as part of the EIR mitigation to meet the requirements for its zoning as a planned community. It has greatly enhanced the value of being a resident of area.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by fewiley
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 24, 2014 at 8:55 pm

Why is the only exercise facility predominantly for senior citizens in Palo Alto closing? ...on short notice and without any possibility of the members (who've lived and worked in Palo Alto for many decades) having any say in the matter - or any ability to help resolve the problems that have been used to justify the closing. I realize that the future is with younger families, but those of us who've helped build this community deserve at least some consideration, don't we?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Concerned about Y leadership
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 24, 2014 at 9:07 pm

It's remarkable to me that Y leadership did not consult the members about terminating the Page Mill branch and is also not transparent about the supposed costs of maintenance which appear to be changing constantly. Any nonprofit organization whose mission is to serve its members and the community should communicate openly and timely about momentous decisions like this. Member input should have been solicited early on.

Perhaps it's time to consider new Y leadership who understand how to lead and communicate. It's not too late for this leadership to work with the community to come up with a solution to the issues. Consider merging this branch with the Ross Road facility so that certain operating efficiencies could be realized. There is no need for two sets of management. Take an accurate tally of where members' "home" Y really is - many are recorded at Ross Road but use the Page Mill location. Take a poll and ask members if they'd be willing to pay higher fees. Many of us would gladly pay a higher monthly fee to keep this Y in our neighborhood. It's a wonderful community who have been together for years and the location is convenient. Perhaps there is hope yet...let's work together on this.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Concerned about Y leadership
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 24, 2014 at 9:07 pm

It's remarkable to me that Y leadership did not consult the members about terminating the Page Mill branch and is also not transparent about the supposed costs of maintenance which appear to be changing constantly. Any nonprofit organization whose mission is to serve its members and the community should communicate openly and timely about momentous decisions like this. Member input should have been solicited early on.

Perhaps it's time to consider new Y leadership who understand how to lead and communicate. It's not too late for this leadership to work with the community to come up with a solution to the issues. Consider merging this branch with the Ross Road facility so that certain operating efficiencies could be realized. There is no need for two sets of management. Take an accurate tally of where members' "home" Y really is - many are recorded at Ross Road but use the Page Mill location. Take a poll and ask members if they'd be willing to pay higher fees. Many of us would gladly pay a higher monthly fee to keep this Y in our neighborhood. It's a wonderful community who have been together for years and the location is convenient. Perhaps there is hope yet...let's work together on this.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Concerned about Y leadership
a resident of Barron Park
on Jul 24, 2014 at 9:08 pm

It's remarkable to me that Y leadership did not consult the members about terminating the Page Mill branch and is also not transparent about the supposed costs of maintenance which appear to be changing constantly. Any nonprofit organization whose mission is to serve its members and the community should communicate openly and timely about momentous decisions like this. Member input should have been solicited early on.

Perhaps it's time to consider new Y leadership who understand how to lead and communicate. It's not too late for this leadership to work with the community to come up with a solution to the issues. Consider merging this branch with the Ross Road facility so that certain operating efficiencies could be realized. There is no need for two sets of management. Take an accurate tally of where members' "home" Y really is - many are recorded at Ross Road but use the Page Mill location. Take a poll and ask members if they'd be willing to pay higher fees. Many of us would gladly pay a higher monthly fee to keep this Y in our neighborhood. It's a wonderful community who have been together for years and the location is convenient. Perhaps there is hope yet...let's work together on this.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by anon54
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 24, 2014 at 10:23 pm

I am so mad! We are now meeting at Cubberley to brainstorm on how to save the Y. Management are telling lies and throw out phony numbers to justify their decision. It's a disgrace for the YMCA worldwide. It appears that the Y prefers to serve families, rather than seniors. AGEISM!!! Does the Y need this negative image? Lawyers take note.

Please, Matt or Elizabeth, please let us help you reverse this decision.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by anon54
a resident of Community Center
on Jul 24, 2014 at 10:24 pm

I am so mad! We are now meeting at Cubberley to brainstorm on how to save the Y. Management are telling lies and throw out phony numbers to justify their decision. It's a disgrace for the YMCA worldwide. It appears that the Y prefers to serve families, rather than seniors. AGEISM!!! Does the Y need this negative image? Lawyers take note.

Please, Matt or Elizabeth, please let us help you reverse this decision.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Appalled by SVYMCA leaders
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 24, 2014 at 11:41 pm

The Silicon Valley YMCA's web page describing its mission and impact repeatedly mention adults, not just youth, as a target, for example: "As a result, thousands of youth, adults and families in Silicon Valley are receiving the support, guidance and resources needed to achieve greater health and well-being for their spirit, mind and body . . . " and ". . . To strengthen our community by improving the quality of life and inspiring individuals and families to develop their fullest potential in spirit, mind and body."

Our family has had a Page Mill YMCA membership for 26 years. Our now-grown children return to work out during summer, winter, and spring breaks. We bond with members younger and older than we are. We want an adult environment with working professionals young and old, students, and retirees. We value and take advantage of the terrific variety and scheduling of classes, the outstanding instructors, the excellent front desk staff, and the wide range of equipment.

We resent the initial statement by YMCA Silicon Valley executives that they want to focus on families rather than on adults. We are all parts of families.

We also resent the misleading data presented at their presentation last week. Anybody who wants to make a point can cherry-pick data, but in a meeting like this it is unprofessional to show slides with illegible labels and mismatched scales. These were highly paid professionals choosing to present bad data on bad slides for the purpose of obfuscation.

Finally, the fundraising campaign was aggressively conducted before the announcement. This was highly unethical.

The Board Members of the SVYMCA should be ashamed of themselves for being complicit or inattentive.

The Executives and the Board Members should acknowledge the error and cooperate with the members to make sure the Page Mill YMCA continues its proven success.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mark Duncan
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 25, 2014 at 9:19 am

Without consulting its membership, the Silicon Valley YMCA plans to close the Page Mill YMCA.

It urges the current Page Mill YMCA members to transfer to the Ross Road YMCA.

Given that the Page Mill YMCA has 3,000 members, this seems that this will greatly aggregate the limited parking at the Ross Road YMCA and add substantially to traffic at this already crowded facility.

Perhaps the City Council could direct staff to have a dialog with the Silicon Valley YMCA management regarding their abandonment of their charter to serve the Palo Alto community?

In particular, Resolution 5545 that modified Ordinance No. 2533 for the P-C district at 755 Page Mill Road, and File No. 77-ZC-20 (April 21, 1978; March 24, 1978, February 21, 1978), relating to the mitigated EIR for the planned community.

The Page Mill YMCA membership feels that if they were involved, it would not be necessary to close the facility and that the Silicon Valley YMCA keeps changing their story and refusing to provide evidence to support their rationale for not renewing the lease.

Thank you!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by SJ
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 25, 2014 at 9:53 am

[Post removed.]


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Attend the City Council Meeting August 4
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 25, 2014 at 6:37 pm

Come to the August 4 Palo Alto City Council Meeting at 7:00 pm and let the Council know about why keeping this Y open is important to the City. The meeting is open for comments in the first 10 minutes. Let's get as many members as possible to come to the meeting.

We have also asked to be on the official agenda.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Former Member
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 26, 2014 at 8:34 am

Does the Y ever ask why their membership is shrinking? They should ask former members like me, who will tell them that compared to similar gyms, their rates are much too high for what you get, gym-wise. The gym is too small, too crowded with members, not enough parking, childcare is too expensive. They take away perfectly good pieces of equipment, and don't replace them, citing space as an issue. Yet, they raise the rates every single, dingle year, and them have the nerve to pester you for several hundred dollars per year in donations!

Get a clue, already: I have met several former members at 24 Hour Fitness.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Brian
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jul 26, 2014 at 10:26 am

Former Member,
I could take issue with several of your complaints, but will deal with only one at the moment. My family have been members of PM for ~ 18 years, and for the past 9, the price hasn't changed one dollar And it's much lower than the competition (Equinox and JCC). If we joined Equinox as individuals, which seems like the only option, our cost would be more than three times our Y cost.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by boscoli
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 27, 2014 at 12:13 pm

According to the SVYMCA, 15,000 dollars are taken away from Page Mill after each fund raising drive and given to the EPA Y. If Page Mill was losing money, as the SVYMCA is claiming now as the reason for the closure, although it never provided any evidence backing up that claim, how was it possible to take money from a facility that's in the red to subsidize another facility?

In fact, PM has been subsidizing EPA for years. EPA has been losing money for years. The energetic attempts of Matt to convince PM members to switch to EPA tell us the real reasons behind the closure.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Former Member
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 27, 2014 at 2:27 pm

Brian: Sorry for the confusion--I should have specified that I had been a member of the Ross Road YMCA for a number of years. EVERY single dingle time we received a bill for renewal, once a year, the renewal price was increased. Eventually, my husband quit going there and started attending Gold's, which was cheaper, had lots of parking and plenty of showers, but no towels. That lowered my membership to individual, but at the time I quit renewing, in 2009, I was paying $1800/year.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by SJ PAW Headline is wrong
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 28, 2014 at 6:31 pm


Membership at Page Mill Y increased over the past 2 years;

Total membership units increased from 1400 in 2012 to 1405 in 2014

These numbers come from YMCASV COO.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Rupert of henzau
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 28, 2014 at 6:47 pm

SJ PAW- please provide some proof for your claim


 +   Like this comment
Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Jul 28, 2014 at 9:07 pm

The headline has nothing to do with anything.

The 5 memberships gained over the 2012-2014 period were not enough to sustain the Y at that location.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by y.ha
a resident of Palo Alto Hills
on Jul 29, 2014 at 9:06 am

I transfered my membership of Y to page mill form el camino because page mill is quite and friendly environments. Other y. are over crowded and hard time finding parking place.
Shuting down place is the easy solution to solve the problems.
We should spend more time to solve the problems in stead of shut down on Oct.1, 2014.
Hello, board members of Page mill and silcon valley Y.
Please do your work for solving problems rather than escaping from the problems.
Long time Y. member


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Naked at the "Y"
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jul 29, 2014 at 11:31 pm

Our family moved over from Ross Rd to Page Mill last year. We found PM far more comfortable for all of us. Both college aged kids enjoy greatly when home from school breaks.
I attended the meeting at the church a couple of weeks ago.
It seemed quite apparent that the local YMCA leadership did not expect the strength of the reaction by Page Mill members. Rightly so.
If the leadership didn't query members before their decision, how would they have known the outcome? The fact that the communication between leadership and membership has been awful is sad. While sitting in the audience, it occurred to me that no growth in membership may be directly connected to the communication talent of the particular leadership responsible for building membership.
Last night while at the Page Mill gym, I did a walk around below by the courts. It was difficult to understand how the gym might have over $ 3 Million in capital expenses ahead.
While the local YMCA leadership naturally holds the fate of the facility in their control, I hope the outpouring of reasonable debate enables the leadership to allow a minimum of one additional year at PM under its management.
We won't be going to the Ross Rd location; not due to defiance, but it offers a different experience in a different part of town that we have tried before, and Page Mill we much preferred.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sea=Seelam
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 21, 2014 at 1:28 pm

Sea=Seelam is a registered user.

Posted by Sea=Seelam, a resident of College Terrace
0 minutes ago
Sea=Seelam is a registered user.

I hear through news article written by BKerr that the business center wants to keep the space as a gym.

What a wonderful news for Palo Alto and all the people that use the gym.

We divorce YMCA and marry a gym that is progressive and uplifting to our community and our neighbors that come here for exercise and more like for friendship.

Who will the new gym operator be?


Respectfully


Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.

Email:


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Sneak peek: Bradley's Fine Diner in Menlo Park
By Elena Kadvany | 5 comments | 3,489 views

Marriage Underachievers
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,712 views

Politics: Empty appeals to "innovation"
By Douglas Moran | 13 comments | 1,632 views

Best High Dives to Watch the Game
By Laura Stec | 5 comments | 1,424 views

It's Dog-O-Ween this Saturday!
By Cathy Kirkman | 2 comments | 887 views