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After announcing Sunday that the Atlee Station Family YMCA will close in October because of financial struggles, the YMCA and the company that owns the building are working to offer residents other fitness options.
Daniel T. Schmitt, president of HHHunt Communities -- the company that developed the Rutland community in Mechanicsville and rents the building to the YMCA -- said Monday that he's disappointed by the closure.
But Schmitt said he's hopeful HHHunt will be able to find a new building operator dedicated to fitness, wellness and recreation.
"Obviously, from a community perspective, we're very disappointed in their decision to cease operations there," Schmitt said. "We are actively pursuing and talking with other operators that are interested in that space ... and we believe that there will be other interested parties that can step in and provide that fitness, wellness experience that the community really deserves."
The Atlee Station Y, which opened in November 2011 on Rutland Center Boulevard in Mechanicsville, has about 800 members, according to Blake Carleton, the vice president of membership for the YMCA of Greater Richmond.
Carleton said that while some YMCA branches have fewer members than the Atlee Station Y, that membership number is relatively low.
Carleton said the Atlee Station Y has basic amenities, such as fitness space for cardio, weightlifting and group classes, but lacks others such as a pool or basketball court, which could explain why the branch isn't flourishing.
"We're a nonprofit, and we do lots of good work in lots of tough areas of the city. And so we have to be good stewards of our resources and really make sure that we're able to do our mission," Carleton said.
The Y is offering members of the Atlee Station branch free membership at other local branches between Oct. 3 (when the Atlee Station facility is set to close) and Jan. 1.
Carleton said there are no immediate plans to build a replacement YMCA in the area.
Schmitt said HHHunt has partnered with the YMCA for about 25 years, contributing money and property to the YMCA to help HHHunt establish "exceptional communities." In the case of the Atlee Station Family YMCA, Schmidt said the building was built specifically for the YMCA, with HHHunt charging a below-market lease rate.
The proximity of a YMCA had been touted as an incentive for prospective buyers in the Rutland community.
Schmitt said some residents are upset that the YMCA is closing that branch, a move that he called "a surprise."
A town hall meeting has been scheduled for 6 p.m. on July 31 at the Atlee Station Y, where members can discuss concerns with YMCA leaders. For details, visit ymcarichmond.org/atleefaq.
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