YMCAs in Naperville, Des Plaines and Niles to close permanently
YMCA centers in Naperville, Des Plaines and Niles will close permanently effective Monday because of financial pressures wrought by the COVID-19 crisis, the YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago announced.
The Lattof YMCA in Des Plaines, the Kroehler Family YMCA in Naperville and the Leaning Tower YMCA in Niles will be shuttered.
"The overwhelming stress that the coronavirus pandemic has put on the global economy has also put an enormous strain on our organization," said Richard Malone, president and CEO of YMCA of Metropolitan Chicago. "We've reached the point where we are no longer able to sustain these centers during and after the pandemic."
The closures will leave the organization with 14 centers in the region.
Mount Prospect resident Dutch DeGroot said he has been a member of the Lattof YMCA for 25 to 30 years and regularly would go seven days a week.
"People there have been going for decades," DeGroot said of the Y, which opened in 1961 under the name Northwest Suburban YMCA. "It's just a social icon. It's very hard to take. I probably have 100 friends from there and I'm just texting everyone about it."
DeGroot said he feels for the employees, some of whom went to Lattof as children and worked on staff for years.
"They were so dedicated. From the cleaning people to the managers to the instructors and the people who took care of the kids, they were dedicated beyond belief," Lattof said.
The three centers have been operating at a loss for several years, YMCA officials said in a news release. The buildings require "sizable investments" for repairs and improvements, the group said.
All three facilities have experienced decreasing membership and program enrollment, too.
Residents at the Leaning Tower housing complex will not be affected by the closure of the adjacent membership center.
The nonprofit group closed all of its centers as well as camps and other facilities in March because of the COVID-19 crisis. The lack of activity will cost the group millions of dollars, according to the news release.
DeGroot said that while the employees at Lattof were great at their jobs, the people in management didn't invest properly in the location.
"The demographics in Mount Prospect have changed," DeGroot said. "There are so many more young couples, so much potential to recruit all these young people, but they didn't take advantage of it."
People who signed up for programs will receive refunds.
"The road ahead is unclear," Malone said. "Like all Americans, the Y will do our absolute best to recover."
Members of the Naperville, Des Plaines or Niles centers will be offered complimentary memberships to other YMCA centers once facilities reopen.
DeGroot said he wasn't sure he or many of the others who belonged to Lattof will go to another YMCA location because of all the other area options.
"I just feel bad, I don't know what I'll do with my time now," DeGroot said.