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YMCA refuses to budge on Page Mill gym closure

Original post made on Jul 30, 2014

A special meeting between leaders of the YMCA of Silicon Valley and members of the Page Mill YMCA branch to discuss staving off the closure of the 35-year-old gym ended on a familiar note, with the organization again refusing to reverse its decision.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Wednesday, July 30, 2014, 9:54 AM

Comments (49)

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Posted by Henry Breitrose
a resident of Stanford
on Jul 30, 2014 at 11:09 am

The United States YMCA defines its core values:

"YMCA of the USA's four core values unite us as a movement with a common cause. They are the shared beliefs and essential principles that guide our behaviors, interactions with each other and decision making.
"Caring: to show a sincere concern for others, for their needs and well-being.
"Honesty: to be truthful in what you say and do.
"Respect: to follow the golden rule.
"Responsibility: to do what is right, be accountable for your promises and actions.

Compare and contrast with the behavior of the Silicon Valley YMCA management regarding the Page Mill YMCA branch.

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Posted by Sea-Seelam Reddy
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 30, 2014 at 12:30 pm

"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."

So, it is about $200k/year short to break even; $50k per quarter.

This YMCA has been good to our most elderly and seniors. We can target to raise funds to pay for this with our great citizen of Palo Alto and neighbors.

"they did acknowledge they handled this entire process extremely poorly".

SO learn from it; correct it; earn community's respect so you can turn YMCA image around.

So YMCA management: FIX it. DELAY the CLOSURE by one year. The community can work with you on exact closure dates.

Please work with 'owners' of the building to keep this YMCA running for next 12 months as a short term lease. If they need additional rent; let us find out.

Bottom line; it makes a lot of sense to DELAY this closure till September 2015.

If you need some more flexibility on the 2015 closure dates, I am sure the community will be willing to listen.


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Posted by ChrisC
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 30, 2014 at 12:55 pm

ChrisC is a registered user.

It's great to have gathered data, but all time spent meeting with SVYMCA was/ is abig waste of time. It was clear from the beginning they would nit change there mind. Any chance of saving the community would have to be pleaded at the national level. I would like a statement that in this era of millions of baby boomers, our demographic is of low priority.

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Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Jul 30, 2014 at 1:05 pm

Non-profits should be allowed to make the hard responsible financial decisions that they must make.

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Posted by PageMillTown
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 30, 2014 at 1:44 pm

PageMillTown is a registered user.

Membership numbers became a main (or THE main?) factor in the decision not to reverse closure.

This was such an important measurement. Yet basic counting and the variables affecting that measurement WAS NOT CONSIDERED, and NOT RESEARCHED.

For members, local YMCA members, guests, non-members, etc. to be counted, they have to scan in WITH A CARD. Yet, the card printer has not been working at Page Mill. The scanner has to work - and work well. The correct application has to be taking in that data. The computer has to have certain settings. The network has to be working with adequate speed. Constant attention has to be paid to that process.

There are at least 20 conditions that have to be met in order for the "hard data" (membership numbers) to be clear. NONE OF THOSE CONDITIONS are consistently met.

To base closing Page Mill on membership numbers is wrong. This is because the membership numbers and Page Mill's usage data is also wrong.

If a gym or non-profit is to continue at the same Page Mill location, the community leadership (and that is anyone who is organizing or contributing information and ideas) has a short time to raise funds in order to secure the next lease. This must be set in place before a 3rd party secures the next lease.

If any community can accomplish this, it's the Palo Alto community.

Keep up the good work!

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Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Jul 30, 2014 at 1:54 pm

It's about money. Non-profits can't operate as a loss, and can't underwrite a loss to subsidize expenses at Page Mill. There are 2 other Y's in Palo Alto, and many within a few miles.

However, a new private corporation might be able to work a deal with the landlord and with a local bank to keep the facility open as a new business.

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Posted by ryan317
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 30, 2014 at 2:45 pm

ryan317 is a registered user.

Basing this article almost entirely on member-to-member e-mail is pretty shaky sourcing. To be sure, the YMCA's handling of the Page Mill closure has been deplorably unprofessional. However, the Y's performance pales when measured against the volume of misinformation, misstatement and paranoid fabrication by Page Mill members and others in the comments section of this newspaper. At the least, that should serve as a warning to the reporters covering the story.

Yesterday, several people in our Page Mill exercise class announced with absolute certainty (to the teacher, among others) that the YMCA of Silicon Valley had agreed to extend the closing until Dec. 1. We asked about this at the front desk as we were leaving, and the staff members on duty said they'd heard nothing about it.

We rely on the newspaper to cut through the baloney and explain what's going on. Today's story has the ring of truth to it, but if I were the editor, I'd need a more authoritative source than "an email sent from Page Mill YMCA members to others after the meeting."

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Posted by Palo Altan
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 30, 2014 at 4:07 pm

I grew up here since 1975 and had no idea this location existed. And from going to the Ross Road Y many times as a visitor, I don't understand why everyone is appalled about the mishandling of the organization. It's like complaining about Motel 6 being unprofessional. Has the Y ever felt like the level of management of a Ritz-Carlton or Four Seasons? It's no wonder Y membership declined - they aren't competitive. No one expects the best facilities or sports teams from the Y. My young son was on a basketball team practicing at the Ross Road Y and there was an aerobics class sharing the gym with music blasting so loud that they could never hear the coaches teaching (if you're lucky enough to get a coach that is not a cardboard stand-up). I complained, but nothing changed.

I tried Equinox a few years ago but members were rude and selfish, and it's like being in a fishbowl. And I always felt I needed to be in full makeup to go there because it's a "scene".

Now, I am at the JCC, which has superior facilities, nice members, and good management.

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Posted by Ex-Board Member
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jul 30, 2014 at 4:11 pm

Hi Neighbor—

You are correct, no business can operate at a loss.

Just a little history….

The Page Mill Y is one of 11branches of the YMCA of the Silicon Valley.
You can understand, from time to time some branches may experience some financial problems. Historically, for the first 30 years of its existence, the Page Mill has supported the Sequoia Branch as well as Ross Road and East Palo Branches. Over the years, the Page Mill members raised approx. $1M for EPA operating costs and $450K for their building fund.

That is how the Y works all over the USA. And that is why most branches stay open.

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Posted by sea-Seelam Reddy
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 30, 2014 at 4:20 pm

Even non-profits have social responsibility to plan transitions right way.

This is not an excuse. It is a cop out.

October 1 for many is a busy time and holidays. Jewish holidays, Hindu Holidays, Christian Holidays, Muslim Holidays all occur during September to early January.

This demonstrates lack of sensitivity; stubbornness, ill-trained management to plan and execute this transition.

Consider some of our senior members have to travel to other locations; or have choice of not working out or socializing.

It impacts our community. I am not for it. The planning gets an F. The execution gets an F in my opinion.

I wish they (YMCA management) learned from it.


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Posted by boscoli
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 30, 2014 at 4:29 pm

The financial data the board has provided is meaningless and skewed. I know so many people who work out daily at PM but have signed up originally at other locations, therefore they are not considered PM members, but should be. Those people never use the other locations because PM is nicer, quieter, you never have to wait for a machine, parking is easy, etc. In real terms, PM has many more members than the board claims. Originally the board came up with claims that PM needs very expensive upgrades, claims that we now know have been wrong and misleading. If the board bothered to analyze the scanning data, we would have found out that PM has plenty of members and is profitable. They never even tired to claim that EPA was profitable, and we all know that EPA has been subsidized by PM, and other facilities, for years.

Trying to deal with SC Y was always a waste of time. The members should have always dealt with the national board. I am not a lawyer, but I wonder if providing misleading information and manipulating membership, i;e financial data can jeopardize the SV Y's tax exempt status, as I believe it should. a

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Posted by PageMillTown
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 30, 2014 at 6:39 pm

PageMillTown is a registered user.

Does anyone have fundraising ideas? If we get together enough money, we can secure the lease before someone else gets it. Then, we'll proceed to run a community gym! ?

If we put together the best of what YMCASV did, and the best of our ideas and intentions, we could have an awesome gym!

Boscoli, I'm so curious who you are!

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Posted by jcc member
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jul 30, 2014 at 6:50 pm

” Boscoli, I'm so curious who you are!”

Look in the mirror.

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Posted by Brian
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jul 30, 2014 at 6:51 pm

Money for the lease is just one part of it. Have you thought about where you can get the equipment? Will SV YMCA sell you the stuff that's there?
Then there is some staff and utilities. I'm not a business person, but I'm sure there's lots more, i.e., several types of insurance. If you're thinking of trying to run a "community gym", it's still a business, and who's going to fund it and operate it? Someone with more money than me. :)
But my family is in if it comes about.

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Posted by Rupert of hemzau
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 30, 2014 at 7:26 pm

Boscoli- perhaps you missed or chose to ignore this comment in the story that came from an e. Mail sent by members that were at the meeting:
""The SV YMCA directors and executive we met were forthcoming with information. They provided all the financial information we requested and answered our questions. No issues there."

So what issues do you have?
Ryan317 makes some good points, IMHO

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Posted by PageMillTown
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 30, 2014 at 7:36 pm

PageMillTown is a registered user.

jcc member,

Are you saying I'm boscoli? Or you're wondering who I am? Actually, a lot of people know who I am.

Brian, you bring up good points. It's great motivation to know your family would try the "new Page Mill."

Overall, I felt relieved and even happy that YMCASV "wouldn't budge." I really, really wanted them to continue PM. I believed they would.

But I think it would have been worse if the Executives were like, "Ok, so you read in the paper we need $300,000 for three months. And we got a good deal for you: if you buy 6 months at $600,000, we'll throw in the 7th month free. How about that?"

I can just see all the negative comments that would follow, and some members scrambling around actually trying to raise that money.

No, ymcasv drew the line really thick. Page Mill YMCA will be no more on Oct 1. I'm just glad I got to enjoy "the best gym in the country" (taking from the words of one woman that spoke at the church meeting).

Going back to Brian, I think a really good (but difficult to achieve) option is to get major funding from one of the huge businesses or multi-billionaires in the area.

"Who's going to operate it?"

People that are hard working, compassionate, friendly, and fun...

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Posted by boscoli
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 30, 2014 at 7:45 pm

trying to deal with the SV board doomed this gym. They are the face of the Silicon Valley-lacking any humanity and decency. There were only two options-going over their heads to the YMCA national board, the preferred option, or legal action, due to the fact that the SV Y conducts its business like a for profit corporations but enjoys tax exemption status, and the fact that it initially, and afterward, deceived the members vis-a-vis the reasons for the closure. The financial data it provided is also inaccurate, as the PM facility has de-facto many more members, due to the fact that other facilities are credited with the dues of members who don't use those facilities, but use the PM YMCA.

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Posted by Rupert of henzau
a resident of Midtown
on Jul 30, 2014 at 7:53 pm

Boscoli- go,for it. Go over their heads or file legal action. Your claims that they lack humanity and decency just proves ryan317s comments. Please provide us with the correct financial information, since you claim what was provided was wrong and goes against what was reported by people at the meeting. I have yet to see any real facts in any of your postings-- just suppositions and accusations.

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Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Jul 30, 2014 at 9:04 pm

If only (at least some) of this energy could go towards a selfless act .. instead of insisting on getting one' way, just because. Life is unfair, but perhaps there are larger issues in this world???

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Posted by pete
a resident of Southgate
on Jul 30, 2014 at 9:42 pm

The SV Executives failed to manage and have not lived up to the Y principles in serving the community. Look beyond their figures and to the folks they have with insoucience abandoned. A lifelong Y member and past board member, I have lost my appetite.

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Posted by Sam
a resident of South of Midtown
on Jul 30, 2014 at 11:30 pm

I echo the poster above, try the JCC, it's awesome!

Great staff, facilities, etc.

Absolutely a cut above the Y.

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Posted by Also
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 31, 2014 at 8:07 am

Also try the 24-Hour Fitness Club. There are several, including two in the San Antonio Shopping Center. Either one is less expensive than the Y. Both have more equipment and huge parking lots. Plus, they really are open 24 hours a day.

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Posted by BBBKKK
a resident of Portola Valley
on Jul 31, 2014 at 3:59 pm

Henry Breitrose - thanks for the reminder of the Y's stated values. The SV Bord is acting completely in opposition.

STill not clear why the SV Board wants to close the Page Mill Y -
- membership numbers seem really skewed by the "Bay Area" memberships. If someone uses his "home Y" once a week, and the Page Mill Y 4 times a week, his membership and all of his dues and donations are credited to the "home Y", not to Page Mill. Surely someone can do an accurate break-down from the card scan information and pro rate the membership, fees, and donations. If you don't have the data, you can't make good decisions.
- In its 7/24 power-point presentation, the SV Board asserted that membership at Page Mill had declined by about 10% over 5 years (but that it had increased over the most recent fiscal year). If Bay Area memberships had been considered, the decline might not exist? might be 5%? Is 10% over 5 years a big deal? If so, why weren't we ever told about it? Why was there not a targeted campaign to attract new members? Page Mill very committed to that Y and would be more than glad to help solve whatever problems we have.
- Also per the SV Board, Page Mill was in the red by ~ $215,000 this recent fiscal year. I have a single membership for unrestricted hours. I was paying $65/ month for years. When I hit a certain pivotal birthday in 2005, my dues were reduced to $56/ month. So, it has now been 9 years at $56/ month. The SV Board is running a non-profit, but it is also running a business. To not increase dues at least enough to keep up with inflation is gross mismanagement. If dues had been increased commensurate with inflation, we would not now have a shortfall.
- Many members have said they would be willing to increase dues. If the increase were only $15 per "member unit" per month, we would cover the shortfall (1,400 member units x $180/ year = $252,000) and be able to give financial assistance to those who need it.
- There is huge disagreement about what deferred maintenance/ improvements are required. To many members, the Board's list is grossly exaggerated. Let's prioritize and do a capital campaign. Many members would be on board for that. As precedent, a huge capital campaign was done to build the EPA Y (with very strong support from Page Mill members) and a large one to expand the Ross Road Y from 19,000 to 25,000 sq. ft.

I am a business and finance person - definitely not prone to "pie-in-the-sky". These are all solvable issues. So, why is the SV Board so resistant to re-assessing their decision? Why so intent on closing Page Mill?

Saw a great t-shirt at the Y this morning - "YMCA Partners - Together We Make The Difference".
We have very loyal, smart, experienced, skilled, committed members. Why is the SV Board so unwilling to use these resources???

We are still asking the SV Board to arrange a short-term lease extension (12 months) so we can find get the Page Mill Y back on solid financial footing.

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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 31, 2014 at 5:18 pm

What seems to be ignored in all this is that the people who at present walk to a neighborhood gym are likely not to exercise as often if they have to drive for 20 minutes to a gym outside their neighborhood. The ideal way to exercise is to be able to spend more time exercising than driving to get to the exercise. If there is no gym in their neighborhood, it is quite likely that these seniors who are able to walk to their gym will end up not getting the exercise they need to keep them healthy.

The other part of this aspect is it will put more traffic on our streets as those who drive will have to drive further.

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Posted by howlong
a resident of College Terrace
on Jul 31, 2014 at 5:59 pm

how long before this thread is closed to all but registered users.
do not support pa online censorship
this is not a game

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Posted by Voter
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jul 31, 2014 at 7:44 pm

Nice of newcomer Seelam Reddy to look to Y members for votes.

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Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Jul 31, 2014 at 8:09 pm

The Y has the right to close this 3rd Palo Alto location.

Join the JCC or 24-hr. Fitness --- or one of the 5 PAGES of gyms listed for Palo Alto on Yelp, where you can see how other folks like/dislike them.

Many of these gyms are within 2 miles of Page Mill.

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Posted by Boscoli
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jul 31, 2014 at 8:14 pm

I personally know a couple who had signed up for the Ross Rd Y back in 1988, but haven't even set foot in there since 1989, because they hated it and love PM. They have been using only Page Mill for 25 years. All their dues and contributions have been going to the Ross Y for a quarter of a century. I know many more members whose dues go to other Y facilities although they work out solely at the PM facility. The financial data the board provided is meaningless, because they deliberately didn't analyze the scanners. The real life membership of Page Mill is much larger than the SV claims and the facility is comfortably profitable and has helped subsidize other branches for years.

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Posted by BBBKKK
a resident of Portola Valley
on Jul 31, 2014 at 8:29 pm

Neighbor -

that sounds like a nice easy solution, but it doesn't work for a lot of people -

- those of us who can now walk or bike to the Y
- those of us who live west of Foothill Expressway
- those of us who want to go to the gym for an hour just before, after, or during work hours
- those of us who want a calm, mature exercise environment with great classes

The alternative YMCAs may be only 2 miles away, but it is an 'across-town' 2 miles. Ross Road is the closest to Page Mill, and it already has significant parking problems, waits for machines and showers, etc. The JCC is a terrific resource, but it's a long commute for many of us, is a very slow commute during some hours because of business and school traffic, and has serious parking issues. Equinox and 24 Hour fitness have a totally different culture, which is not comfortable for many of us.

The 4 alternate Ys (El Camino, Sequoia, Ross Road, and EPA) as well as the JCC and 24 hr. fitness are all 35 - 40 minutes EACH WAY from my house. That is not a reasonable driving distance.

Yes - the SV Board has the right to close the Page Mill Y. But the reasons we're being given are specious. I don't know or pretend to understand their real reasoning. The Page Mill Y has given significant support ($$$) to the other Ys in the past. If the board had let us know (with maybe 12 months' leeway) that we had a financial shortfall and membership had decreased by 10% over 5 years, we would have done something about it! We still can now!

So, we are still asking for the SV Board to try to negotiate a 12 month lease extension for the facility to give us time to make the Page Mill facility financially strong. They are refusing, for who knows what reason, so we have to find another path.

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Posted by Margaret Fruth
a resident of Ventura
on Jul 31, 2014 at 9:26 pm

Margaret Fruth is a registered user.

I am amazed at the reaction to the plan to close the YMCA on Page Mill in Palo Alto. There is enough business and legal talent working in Palo Alto Square to form their own health club, negotiate with the landlord to take over the existing basement space and to repair it, upgrade, it and improve it. It might be able to exclude children, if the members vote to do so. The YMCA might help facilitate this process, but this is not likely if the threats to sue are carried out. This appears to a better use of your time, money, and energy than suing a long term nonprofit organization which has benefited many, including all of you.

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Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Jul 31, 2014 at 9:40 pm

As stated previously, there are 5 pages of gym listings on Yelp. They are ALL OVER TOWN.

There are 5 gyms within three blocks of Page Mill/El Camino. There are 5 more in downtown Palo Alto. You can walk or bike to many. Choose one, or start your own gym business.

-- If you can drive to Page Mill and El Camino, you can drive to the 10 gyms that are less than a mile away. (Not to mention any of the other gyms in Palo Alto). I'm elderly and disabled and not rich, but I drive to my gym.

-- If there isn't any gym next to where you live west of the Foothill Expressway, it's because that would be against the residential zoning there. Not much commercial stuff west of the Foothill Expressway.

The Y made a business decision to close 1 of their 3 Palo Alto facilities and that decision is totally within their rights and fiduciary responsibilities as a non-profit.

The initial community sadness at the closure has now turned into a power struggle -- and it is unseemly in a community that is so full of resources, both physical and fiscal.

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Posted by Huh?
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jul 31, 2014 at 10:20 pm

A Portola Valley resident is complaining about being far from everything? Interesting.

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Posted by Sea-Seelam Reddy
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 1, 2014 at 8:42 am

YMCA management -

This is hardship for people that are elderly. Bad timing.

So, listen, you messed up by not communicating early. Fix it by keeping it open till Jan 15 or 31st. Do not waste our energy.

October 1 for many is a busy time and holidays. Jewish holidays, Hindu Holidays, Christian Holidays, Muslim Holidays all occur during September to early January 2015.


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Posted by palo alto
a resident of Palo Verde
on Aug 1, 2014 at 10:56 am

It's sad to see that YMCA is going to be closed

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Posted by Ken Horowitz
a resident of University South
on Aug 1, 2014 at 1:59 pm

The YMCA will leave, but the recreational facility does not need to close.
Please come to the Palo Alto City Council meeting on Monday evening 8/4 at 7:00 and ask your City Council to support the many city residents who believe that this unique facility is vital to their social and physical health and that the City Council encourage its many friends and non-profit organizations to keep it open.

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Posted by Tony
a resident of Downtown North
on Aug 1, 2014 at 5:15 pm

I spent 40 minutes on the phone with Elizabeth Jordan today regarding the problems necessitating the closing of the PMY.

After I provided her with solutions that would make up the $215,000 deficit she stated that was not the problem, that the YMCA of SV, (SVY), was willing to continue to operate the PM gym at a loss for the foreseeable future.

The only reason according to Jordan as to why the SVY is closing the PMY is because the SVY claims that it requires $3.5 million in structural upgrades which SVY is not willing to invest in while also locking themselves into a ten year lease.

Here in lies the dispute. I have been told by other board members that the “Y” is only on the hook for $800,000.

Someone needs to verify with the property manager exactly how much the “Y” will be responsible for, for if this amount can be generated by fundraising or some other source then there will be no reason to close the “Y.”

Unless of course these are not the true reasons why SVY does not want to maintain the gym any longer.

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Posted by boscoli
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 1, 2014 at 6:35 pm

Even at this late stage the SV board can't get their story straight. We already know that the facility needs only a small fraction of the imaginary 3.5 million dollars E. Jordan claims it needs. We already know that the Jacuzzi needs only about 5,000 dollars in upgrades and not the ridiculous 150,00 Jordan initially claimed. The spinner room needs only a few fans, and not the hundreds of thousands she initially claimed. There is no need for ridiculous 1.5 million dollar "tunnels" to provide natural light. The facility is all up to code. The SV rational is all bogus. They will obviously close down the facility, but the fact that a non profit corporation got its way through providing such misleading and contradictory information to its members and the public and got away with it, is what is wrong in this fiasco. The SV Y should have lost their tax exempt status, but obviously they will keep it, undeservedly. Personally I have already cancelled my membership and signed up for a non YMCA fitness center. The YMCA will never get one penny from me. I wonder how many PM members will do the same.

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Posted by baysider
a resident of Menlo Park
on Aug 1, 2014 at 7:23 pm

baysider is a registered user.


You stated,

“The Y has the right to close this 3rd Palo Alto location.”

and in a subsequent post,

“The Y made a business decision to close 1 of their 3 Palo Alto facilities.”

No, there are only two Palo Alto facilities. One is at Page Mill and El Camino, and the other is on Ross Road.

You might be thinking of East Palo Alto as the third. This is not in Palo Alto. It is across 101 with awful commute traffic, including that associated with the Dumbarton Bridge, in both directions. It is far from most of the Page Mill members, whose work and/or homes are closer to the Page Mill Y in driving distance or driving time.

Getting to and from the East Palo Alto Y through traffic for morning, noon, or later afternoon/early evening workouts would be untenable for many, of not most, of the members.

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Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Aug 1, 2014 at 7:56 pm

Thanks for the info,

However, you certainly don't have to go to East Palo Alto to find another gym. As I pointed out there are LOTS of gyms in Palo Alto proper.

You can use the JCC or 24-hr. Fitness --- or one of the 5 PAGES of gyms listed for Palo Alto on Yelp. And Yelp gives info on how other folks like/dislike them.

Many of these Palo Alto gyms are within 2 miles of Page Mill.

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Posted by Sea-Seelam Reddy
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 2, 2014 at 3:16 am

Good Morning

As we begin to explore 'the same location (Page Mill-Palo Alto)for having a gym' are there any current businesses that want to expand?

It would be nice for them to quickly explore. In my mind; Bay Club, Equinox, etc., could expand their businesses here in Palo Alto as you have very stable customers with a great profile.

Companies that are already in fitness business are more likely take over faster and the customers will have minimal interruption (?).

Food for thought! We don't need YMCA if they don't want to be here. We are not married to them.

Our customers just like this location and have to have a gym at reasonable monthly charges

The new owners could create a new brand of gymnasium/s for a little mature crowd and charge at about what YMCA was charging and still remain profitable?


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Posted by Annie
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Aug 2, 2014 at 9:55 am

I hope that another organization or business takes over. Page Mill already has a built in super loyal membership that will help this gym succeed and thrive no matter who runs it. As far as I can see, the SVYMCA has put very little effort into marketing this location. I live a 10 minute walk away and lived here part time for 10 years and full time for 2 years before I even knew Page Mill YMCA existed! Although it is in a hidden location, there are ways to let the community know! Even with their inferior marketing skills, the Page Mill Y is a well attended gym, but there is room for more members and therefore more money to be made.

Page Mill has naturally evolved into a fantastic community that serves not only young adults who want to be fit, but seniors and people with disabilities who want to exercise in a safe and supportive environment. I think there are a lot more people out there who don't know about Page Mill who would be attracted to this unique environment.

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Posted by tired of greed
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Aug 2, 2014 at 10:39 am

There is a lot going on undisclosed, I am sure. Amazing is how "neighbor" and similar minded writers are insisting on "five pages of other gyms" in Palo Alto.

When they close a yoga gym on California Avenue and set up a bank branch nobody pointed out "five pages of other banks" in Palo Alto. There is probably more. There are multiple other examples of money pushing out community/health/culture institutions.

Why is that the money take-over is never questioned? "Business decisions" are screwing this community. Just look at the housing developments all over the city... don't get me started.

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Posted by Anon
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Aug 2, 2014 at 10:41 am

We are still looking at gym options and have not found what we want. Page Mill was perfect. I just wish I had changed my "home" to Page Mill. I'll be cancelling the Ross Road membership this month.

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Posted by boscoli
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Aug 2, 2014 at 1:29 pm

I'm thinking of all the numerous people like 'Anon' above who used Page Mill but were considered Ross Road and other YMCA facilities members, but never bothered to change their home gym to Page Mill. Because of that, other facilities were credited financially. Page Mill was not getting any of their dues and contributions while they were partially responsible for the deterioration-through-use of the facility:jacuzzi, exercise machines getting worn down and needing to be fixed or replaced, carpets, higher utility bills, etc. Page Mill had de-facto many more members than the board was willing to admit due to that phenomenon of members who nominally belonged of other Y gyms but used PM.

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Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Aug 2, 2014 at 1:56 pm

Dear "tired of greed"
Are we seeing greed, or normal capitalist real estate markets taking advantage of rising values? They're not unrelated, but heck, it's our system.

The yoga place that was replaced on Calif. Ave. also couldn't pay the rent...and that scenario is obviously happening all over town. Palo Alto's prosperity is making a lot of things unaffordable in town.

Another example is University Art. No matter how much everyone loved it (I certainly did), it couldn't afford to stay and moved to RWC. A new business will replace it in Palo Alto -- even though many are sad and not on board with that.

Opportunities for some, loss for others. This local land rush is a lot like the state gold rush 150 years ago -- which changed everything.

The booming real estate market is also the "deal with the devil" that PA has made consciously or unconsciously. All land values and rent zoomed upwards fast. The sudden prosperity made many rich, but forced others to re-evaluate their expenses and decide whether they had to close or move.

To repeat an earlier post, businesses cannot operate at a loss...EVEN AND ESPECIALLY non-profits. The Y has fixed costs (equipment and rent), operations to run (programs and payroll to meet), and it has to balance the budgets of multiple locations. Also, the Page Mill site, like so many buildings from the 50s-60s, needs major attention and code updates.

The residential side of the picture in PA is similar to the commercial one.

Your HOME is also now ridiculously overvalued and you/your heirs will get those profits when it is sold. Even my home -- a modest house with exact replicas built by the same builder at the same time in almost every Peninsula town -- is ridiculously overvalued, but it still commands prices that are only HALF OR LESS than the identical house in Palo Alto.

To re-state the obvious, Palo Alto is hot and one of the most expensive towns in the U.S.

To keep a gym in that location, get some investors together and try to buy it or try to convince a larger gym to operate a satellite site at the location.

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Posted by tired of greed
a resident of Charleston Meadows
on Aug 2, 2014 at 2:16 pm

this discussion is useless, as it seems.

YMCA is painful but it is only a tip of the iceberg.

Just keep on inflating the bubble. Because all that you colorfully described is a bubble. Fill it up with birdhouses and banks and hope that next and will not burst. But they will and you know that.

Unrelated but indicative. Now Walgreen's is moving assets to Switzerland. Add that to Apple, etc. They are screwing us not just out of real estate and money but now out of taxes, too. Meanwhile continuing to base one third of their revenue on our tax funded Medicare and Medicaid.

You call it capitalism which it probably is. I call it insanity. It has to be regulated before it is too late. But it already is and you know that. We are being turned into a third world country where nobody gives a rats behind about people and just need their labor and their money. YMCA is only a painful tip of the iceberg. Think.

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Posted by neighbor
a resident of another community
on Aug 2, 2014 at 5:05 pm

Dear "Tired of Greed" et al -- I never disagreed that the YMCA, or the PA, changes are sad. They are very sad indeed.

I simply disagreed with folks who made the Y into some sort of villain in this situation. Like University Art, they are a victim of PA change, not a cause. And, as a non-profit in this crazy boomtown environment, the Y's fiduciary responsibilities are esp. tough.

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Posted by SJ NPR to air perspective on Page Mill closing
a resident of Menlo Park
on Aug 4, 2014 at 4:34 pm

Tune in tomorrow to 88.5 KQED to hear PM member, Debbie Duncan and her perspective on the closing of Page Mill Y .

Time 6:07 AM and 7:37 AM.

The audience is estimated to be about 3.5 million people.

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Posted by Sea=Seelam
a resident of College Terrace
on Aug 21, 2014 at 1:27 pm

Sea=Seelam is a registered user.

Posted by Sea=Seelam REDDY, a resident of College Terrace
0 minutes ago
Sea=Seelam REDDY 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?


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

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