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Flagler Palm Coast YMCA Closing After 9 Years At Florida Hospital; Stand-Alone Y a Goal

| March 31, 2011

palm coast flagler county ymca at florida hospital flagler closing may 31

The YMCA will go dark on May 31. (© FlaglerLive)

Palm Coast’s YMCA, located at Florida Hospital Flagler since October 2002, is closing on May 31. While some YMCA-sponsored youth programs that don’t depend on the facility will continue, the closure will affect some 900 memberships and approximately 1,200 people, as some of those memberships were for couples or families.

The Y was employing 30 people, though just one full-time.

Members are being encouraged to shift their memberships to one of six YMCA’s in Volusia County, while the board of the Y is itself shifting its focus to a longer-range plan to open a stand-alone YMCA in Flagler, perhaps in partnership with local government. A group of 30 people formed under the banner of a Flagler Solutions Team is meeting in April to discuss those plans. The group includes John Meneough, president of Palm Coast Data and a past member of the Y’s board, Bob Nocella, the director of the school district’s adult education programs, and Luanne Santangelo, Palm Coast’s parks and recreation director.

On Tuesday, the Palm Coast City Council briefly addressed the Y’s future potential as a partner with the city. That took place in the context of a discussion about community centers. Council members were not aware that the Y was closing. Members were told on Tuesday, following a meeting of the Y board on Monday (March 28).

A stand-alone facility with a full gym and a swimming pool (or “aquatic center,” as they’re referred to these days) would cost about $6.5 million, according to Teresa Rogers, president and CEO of the Volusia Flagler Family YMCA.

While the number of members the local Y was serving seems high, it was not enough to sustain the operation, Rogers said. The Y is losing about $50,000 a year—it’s lost that much each of the last three years—on a budget of about $200,000. “We’ve tried,” Rogers said of various attempts to stay open. “We’ve been losing significant dollars for the last three years, which no one in this economy can sustain long term.”

The location was constraining, too. The 6,500 square feet of space at the hospital lent themselves only to one fitness room, two smaller exercise rooms and locker facilities for about 45 people at a time in either the women’s or men’s locker room. The spinning room, for example, could accommodate eight to 12 people—less than half the number in normal-size classes of the sort. The fitness room has about 22 strength-related exercise machines, 20 cardiovascular exercise machines, and a few free-weight stations.

“It’s also a matter of that facility being conducive mostly to individual membership, as opposed to family membership,” Rogers said. To be more self-sustaining, the Y needed an additional 150 to 160 new members, though the sheer physical size of the Y at the hospital would have made that difficult. Being a non-profit, the Y also needed to have a balance between its various kinds of memberships—single, family oriented, elderly and also those who are on financial assistance: the Y provides for those unable to pay the full fare.

The Y has been meeting with local fitness and wellness centers to facilitate transitions for members, though prices at for-profit centers are typically steeper than those of the Y, which was charging $480 for an annual membership for a single person, and $660 for a family.

Several Y programs will continue. Youth basketball will continue through May, and the Y’s usual soccer and summer camps will take place. The Y is taking registrations for both. The Y’s annual, free water safety program will be held at Belle Terre Swim and Racquet Club April 18-22, and at Frieda Zamba pool April 25-29. Members can also transfer memberships to Volusia County locations—the closest one is in Ormond Beach, at 500 Sterthaus Drive—and can benefit from free membership in June and July.

The Y’s equipment, jointly owned by the hospital and the Y, will not be sold to members or other individuals. Most likely, it will be dispersed among other existing Y facilities in Volusia. “Florida Hospital was pleased to have the Y as part of our facility in Flagler for many years,” David Ottati, president and CEO of Florida Hospital Flagler, said in a release from the Y. “As community partners whose missions are closely aligned, we will miss the Y on the Florida Hospital Flagler campus and we will continue to support the Y’s services in this community.”

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10 Responses for “Flagler Palm Coast YMCA Closing After 9 Years At Florida Hospital; Stand-Alone Y a Goal”

  1. PalmCoastPioneers says:

    ( We thought some may enjoy reading about Palm Coasts / Flagler Countys’ first Y and Palm Coast rich Heritage and History )

    ….This marks the first time in the YMCA’s more than 130 years of operation that it has opened a YMCA in a developing comunity….according to Dr. Robert Harlan, Executive Director of the National Board of the YMCA, …it is customary to open a Y in an already developed community of about 50,000…’


    For the Palm Coast YMCA, there aren’t enough days in the month, nor hours in the day to provide time for all its activities. The YMCA has a variety of programs for the area residents from oil painting to weight lifting.
    A typical Monday morning at the YMCA begins at nine when the three and four year olds arrive for preschool classes. In another section of the YMCA building Jarly Jackson, a 70 year old former acrobat, is teaching exercise class. After a lunch break, it is “children’s fun time.” During this time there are also weight lifting classes in the next room taught by Tim Shanahan.
    From 4-5 p.m. there is after school play hour for the school age children.
    After dinner activities begin again with square dancing at 6:30. The evening ends with a youth rap session from 7:30 until 9 for the teenagers, and German lessons taught in the next room by Anne Russell.
    All day people are in and out of the YMCA building, coming also to watch television, play billiards or ping pong. Also, many organizations hold their meetings in the large multi-purpose room of the Y. In other words, the YMCA has been going non-stop since its doors opened on December 11th.
    The YMCA has various special events planned for the furure. One event will be a disco dance for teenagers. Plans are also underway for a spring softball team.
    There are currently 352 YMCA members and the number is growing. Family memberships are $50. a year, husband and wife memberships $40 a year, single adult memberships are $25. yearly, and youth memberships are $10. Membership at the Y entitles the member the use of the facilities as well as free participation in the many classes and activities held there. Non-member must pay a fee.
    This marks the first time in the Y::MCA’s more than 130 years of operation that it has opened a YMCA in a developing community. According to Dr. Robert Harlan, Executive Director of the National Board of the YMCA, it is customary to open a Y in an already developed community of about 50,000 but “so far the experiment appears to be a big success.”

    The beautiful YMCA building and the grounds on Palm Coast Parkway were donated by the ITT Community Development Corporation, which is also underwriting the expenses of the Y: for the next several years.

    So if you’re loking for something to do, stop by the YMCA and discover the many interesting programs it has to offer. You can see for yourself why it’s a big success.

    Excerpt from: ‘The Palm Coaster’, published by the Corporate Communications Department of ITT Community Development Corporation for Palm Coast property owners, purchasers and homeowners, as well as their families and friends. Vol 7, Number 2, Summer 1978, p. 8.

  2. PalmCoastPioneers says:

    Palm Coast Community Center B
    ( For those interested in how Palm Coasts’ first Y – Community Activities Building came into being )

    Because you have made a commitment in Palm Coast by establishing your home here, we believe you should be aware of an agreement that we recently reached with the Federal Trade Commission.
    ITT Community Development Corporation ( ICDC) has signed a Consent Agreement with the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) concerning the furture development of Palm Coast. Signing the agreement does not constitute an admission that any law has been violated, as the agreement itself states. We feel the agreement is important in order to attain our primary goal — the development of Palm Coast as a balanced, well-rounded community.
    An important part of the Consent Agreement calls for the execution of plans, within six years, which we believe, in the long run, will be good for Palm Coast. In brief, among other things , we have agreed to the following:
    1. A shopping center with at least 400,000 square feet of floor space will be provided.We are already in contact with prospective developers of individual stores, including a supermarket.
    2. With appropriate governmental agreement, a traffic interchange on Interstate Highway 95 will be constructed to serve Palm Coast according to plans we submitted to the Florida Department of Transportation in August 1972. ICDC will pay for the interchange as originally designed.
    3. An office and research park area will be developed with appropriate roads and utilities to serve it and landscaping to make it an attractive part of Palm Coast. Planning for this already is under way.

    4. A multi-purpose office building, with at least 5,000 square feet of floor space, will be constructed for tenants in the office and research park. This structure, also, is under planning.

    5. We will move the headquarters of ICDC to Palm Coast. We plan to be substantial employer contributing much to the economy of Palm Coast and Flagler County.
    The agreement also provides for us to restrict our developoment efforts to 42,000 acres for a period of 15 years ( with possible extension for another five years). This will allow appropriate construction in areas set aside for commercial establishments, light industry, recreation, preservation and conservation and other residential uses. Moreover, during this 15- or 20-year period, sales will be limited to 48,000 registered lots of which over 36,000 already have been sold.
    The aforementioned are some of the most important points contained in the Consent Agreement as it affect you and the balanced development of Palm Coast. You will also be interested in knonwing of additional projects that we believe further enhance the community.. Here are some examples:

    We have donated two acres of land, adjoining the furture Emergency Services Building site, to the Palm Coast branch of the YMCA to be used as the location of a Community Activities Center. We will bear the cost of constructing this facility for all community residents and for sharing in operational expenses during its first three years — a gift totalling more than $400,000.

    We have provided as a gift a site of 57 acres to the Flagler County School Board for a junior-senior high school. The first class of proud seniors was graduated from Flagler-Palm Coast High School last spring.

    We have designated a number of sites for recreation parks, preservation and conservation, and other public areas.

    One site, in Section 1-A, now is being developed and a paved bicycle path has been constructed. Another bike path, starting near the Yacht Club, is in use.
    We are working with the Palm Coast Civic Association so that Palm Coast residents can form a legal entity to which we can donate oa one-acre site and an Emergency Services Building to house fire and security forces, an ambulance, and facilities for community activities. A preliminary blueprint fo the structure has been approved by a committeee from the Community.
    As you know, we donated a $36,000 pumper fire truck to the Palm Coast Volunteer Fire Department , which will be stationed in the Emergency Services Building..
    Palm Coast’s first church building, St. Mark by the Sea Lutheran Church, ws dedicated on the morning of July 4. Catholic and Baptist church organizations have purchased sites for their proposed churches. And Temple Beth Shalom is considering building a Synagogue. We at ICDC are very pleased, as we know citizens of Palm Coast are, to witness this growth and progress in the vitally important religioius life of our community.
    Palm Coast’s first financial institution, a branch of the Security First Federal Savings and Loan Association, recently opened for business. We believe others will follow with the growth of the community.
    These and many other facilitites will be needed to serve Palm Coast’s growing population. And it is growing. During the last nine months, construction of over 200 homes began. We now have over 1,000 people living and enjoying the good life at Palm Coast.

    In closing, let me assure you that the ITT Community Development Corporation believes very strongly in the future of Palm Coast and that we are determined that it will grow and progress in a balanced and healthy manner.
    Sincerely yours,
    Alan Smolen

  3. PalmCoastPioneers says:

    Reply to Dr. Guines earlier posting. We noted you spoke for Palm Coast Youth; below is one of the first examples of many on how we few Palm Coast Pioneers *pulled* together to provide for the youth when Palm Coast was only a few years old. Most of us always felt the youth were important here; the Culture and Arts important, that is why there was heavy emphasis on it and why we supported ‘Education’ here big time from our earliest beginnings – starting with Palm Coast hosting the ‘Sanibel Island Symposia’ from day one –


    Dear Palm Coaster:
    If a history book were published about Palm Coast and its people, an exciting and fulfilling chapter would be written about the year 1978.
    Firm roots were planted by ITT Community Development Corporation ( ICDC) as the headquarters building opened, fulfilling a commitment to consolildate offices from New York, Miami and Palm Coast. The facility and personnel presence in Palm Coast highlight the p0int that ICDC continued taking direct involvement in Palm Coast in developing a planned and controlled community where families can live, work and play.
    Now in the final stages is another key development. The Palm Coast Shopping Center with Publix and Eckerds will offer one stop shppping facilities in fashionable and attractive surroundings.
    We are happy that golf sensation Nancy Lopez has chosen Palm Coast as here official place of residence, and is the touring pro for Palm Coast Golf Club. As we approach the 3,000 population mark in this water-oriented community, we have become the “home-Port” for Nancy’s Navy.
    Arnie’s Army likewise had an enthusiastic showing here as Arnold Palmer played our golf course after signing a contract to design Palm Coast’s second golf course which will be completed by December 32, 1980.
    A further expansion was made in our tennis activities with the opening of six lighted cushionized tennis courts.

    The Palm Coast Community YMCA has soared with interest and participation. Memberships and individual donations have assisted the programs and activities conducted for youngsters and adults living throughout the county.

    Houses of worship likewise have made significant and lasting strides in the community. Services are being held in the St. Mark by the Sea Lutheran Chuirch and the First Baptist Church of Palm Coast. Clergy and parishioners of Mother Seton Catholic Church broke ground in September for a church on the newly opened Belle Terre Parkway. The new church will be completed in April or early May.
    In providing support services to the growing community, expansions are being made on the wastewater treatment plant which will be completed in February and the water treatment plant to be completed this spring.
    Palm Coast Utility Corporation has relocated from a model home near the Welcome Center into new offices off of Old King’s Road. New rates, fees and charges were placed in effect on January 1, 1979. These adjustments represent the first overall revision of rates by the Utility since 1971. Due to inflation and increased construction costs, the contribution-in-aid -construction for water has been established in the amount of $640. or $810 depending on Section. The water tap, meter installation and connection fees will range between $255. and $320. For new homesite purchasers who do not connect to the system, there will be an assessed availability fee of $4.00 per month for both water and sewer service.
    In the area of residential lot improvement, all improvements including central sewer failities scheduled to be completed by the end of the year, were completed on time.
    A second fire truck was loaned by ICDC to the Palm Coast Fire District and the volunteer Fire Department.
    Our own Palm Coast Construction Company has entered the residential market and is adding final touches to prototype models.
    The Sheraton Palm Coast Resort Inn received awards of excellence at the Sheraton World Conference held in Boston in September.
    Headlining the Spring Festival was Archie Campbell, of television’s Hee Haw fame. This six-day celebration was highlighted with and international bathtub boat race, the Italian American Festa, a four-mile foot race, band concerts, fireworks, tennis and golf tournaments.
    The year was not all fun and games. Research and hours of hard work were poured into a four-year effort as the Comprehensive Land Use Plan (CLUP) was completed. Working directly with state planning agencies and receiving valuable input from outside consultants, the ICDD planning staff has readied a plan which provides a working framework describing the locations of future residential units, parts, roads, recreational areas, industrial property and commercial stores.
    This year as Palm Coast continues to grow and develop, we at ICDD look forward to the many new and exciting events which will take place. Personally, I am very enthused about the future and hope our residents and future residents share this enthusiasm about our community. Sincerely, Alan Smolen
    Alan Smolen President AS/agk

    The above from: ITT Community Development Corporation, Exective Offices, Palm Coast, Florida 32051 Telephone (904)445-2628.

  4. eileen says:

    I think a big problem for this YMCA is that it is CLOSED on Saturdays. Saturday seems to be a big “recreational type day of the week ” for most people, especially families.

  5. PC MAN says:

    I can’t believe this POS stayed open for all those years. It was too expensive, too small, it basically was a rehab place for the hospital. And with all those jesus pictures it was like trying to work out in a church.

  6. Anon says:

    PC Man is one ugly person.


    why on earth would you want John Meneough from Palm Coast Data on the team…he’s good at downsizing and closing places down…not creating new ones!

  8. palmcoaster says:

    These hard financial times are not the best ones for our city of Palm Coast to get involved in a millionaire cost for a stand alone YMCA in Palm Coast. We have enough fitness centers and sport programs currently for this failing economy to get by and without need of further digging into taxpayers funds. The latest approach of the City of Palm Coast supporting revenue creating events and hopefully not costly to public funds, as the latest organized sports events, Half K Marathon Race and the newly advertised, Rock and Ribs, Spring Art Festival and Picnic and Pop’s. I hope some events will be organized and held also at the Palm Harbor Shopping and the European Village as well, as many of us leave just walking distance from those shopping malls. I am sure that the new two corporate giants, ABC and CVS in the two corners will be glad to be sponsors of any City patronized event in Palm Harbor in exchange for exposure.

  9. D.Dean says:

    900 memberships at 480.00 per member and a 200,000 budget and losing 50,000 per year. The numbers don’t add up.

    • Devrie says:

      D.Dean, they said they had 30 staff members. If they were each making over $15,000 a year, then it seems rather under budget. Not only do they have salaries, but other employee expenses too.

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