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Milwaukee Journal Sentinel (Wisconsin)

    

The YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee, which has filed for bankruptcy protection because of its heavy debt, said Friday it had received formal offers to purchase four of its suburban Y's for a proposed total of more than $9 million.

The Y also said it had received a letter of intent from Risen Savior Lutheran School to rent and operate part of its school at the nearby John C. Cudahy YMCA, which now runs summer adaptive programs, including the Miracle League of Milwaukee.

In documents submitted to the federal bankruptcy court, the YMCA seeks to sell the Southwest Y in Greenfield, the Tri-County Y in Menomonee Falls and the West Suburban Y in Wauwatosa to the YMCA of Central Waukesha County for $7 million in cash at closing, plus a possible $1 million more based on earnings in the next two years.

"It's important for us to acquire these three Y's to keep them as Y's and take them to a higher level of service for the community," said Chris Becker, CEO of the Central Waukesha County Y.

To assist the Y in making the purchase, Agustin "Gus" Ramirez, chairman of HUSCO Inc. and the longtime president of the Waukesha County YMCA Foundation, said he had made a "sizable contribution" to help finance the purchase of the three facilities, according to a news release.

The money will come from the Ramirez Family Foundation. The exact amount of the contribution was not disclosed.

The Kettle Moraine YMCA has submitted a formal offer to purchase the Feith Family Ozaukee YMCA for $2 million cash at closing.

The Kettle Moraine Y board of directors will seek long-term financing to help pay for the purchase. In addition, a capital campaign is underway to help with the purchase and building improvements, Rob Johnson, executive director of the Kettle Moraine Y, said in a news release.

Several donors and volunteers will be out in the community over the next 60 days to ensure the necessary money is raised so the Y in Ozaukee County will remain available to members of the community, said Carey Cameron, chief volunteer officer of the Kettle Moraine Y board of directors.

The John C. Cudahy YMCA, which was built on 55 wooded acres donated by philanthropist Michael Cudahy at 9050 N. Swan Road, was scheduled to be closed during winter under the bankruptcy reorganization plan.

Unlike other Y buildings, it does not offer exercise and fitness facilities and programs. It was built as an arts Y, but programming has lagged.

Clarence Jenkins, development director of Risen Savior, which is about a mile from the Cudahy Y, said the church's K-8 school had been growing and looking for room to expand. The school now has 240 students and a growing waiting list, he said.

When he read the Y was going to shut down the Cudahy facility in the winter, he said he called Y officials to see if something could be worked out.

"We met and it looked as though it would be very compatible and help the kids in the community," he said.

The church and the Y are considering a long-term lease - probably 10 years, he said. The K-4 and K-5 classes would probably be moved into the building, which had run preschool programs in the past. And there's a beautiful playground on the site, he said.

The school would use the building in the winter, and the Y could use it in the summer for its adaptive programs, he said.

The Y said it still was working to transition the South Shore YMCA and Camp Matawa to new operators, and that discussions were underway.

The Y also is beginning to evaluate alternative locations for the Downtown YMCA, although it's expected to take a year to sell its downtown facility, officials said.

The update on the agency's restructuring plan was provided Friday by Julie Tolan, president and CEO of the YMCA.

The YMCA announced in June that it was filing for bankruptcy protection because of debt, which totaled $29 million.

Under the restructuring plan, the Y plans to sell the majority of its real estate assets to pay down its debt and restructure the organization into an urban Milwaukee Y, more focused on health and wellness programs aimed at those in the Central City.

   

 

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