UPDATE: Mankato Family YMCA will not move forward with second location

Oct. 27—MANKATO — Following a board of directors vote, the Mankato Family YMCA will not move forward with its east-side expansion.

The decision was made after financial statements showed that a second location would not be a financially responsible move at this time, according to a news release from the YMCA.

This isn't the first time the YMCA has tried to expand.

In 2017, the organization had started efforts to open a new location at the corner of Highway 14 and Victory Drive, said YMCA Executive Director John Kind.

"We had raised a lot of money and pledges and were just about ready to go public with the campaign and then COVID-19 hit," he said.

In early 2021, they started their effort to expand into the former Shopko building on Madison Avenue.

"I guess I will say that with all that work behind us, the result being that we're not moving forward, obviously that's a little disappointing," Kind said. "But I would say (the board's) decision absolutely is the correct decision."

Membership has dropped since the pandemic began, something that played a role in finances.

A survey conducted before the pandemic indicated membership could grow by about 5,000 members with a second location. Much has changed since then. The YMCA had just under 10,000 members before the pandemic, dipped to 4,200 in February 2021, then rebounded to 7,300 in early 2022, The Free Press reported in June.

Right now, membership is about 7,200 to 7,300 people. Kind said the sweet spot would be right around 10,000.

The YMCA will continue to search for ways to meet the needs of the community.

Board President Matt DuRose said a lot of work has gone into deciding what the plan could be.

While a second location is not in the works, DuRose said information previously collected from a community needs assessment could be used to help determine other possibilities.

"We have a great deal of information that the community has provided to us as far as what the community feels are services and programs that are needed. So we could take all that information, and we could apply it to a new brick-and- mortar facility, but we can also apply that to our existing location," he said.

"We can apply that community needs assessment to increasing programs or determining ways to increase membership. It's not just specific to that building," DuRose said. "That's how we wanted to utilize it primarily, but it does have some application to us outside of that building as well."

While the scope of this project isn't viable, DuRose said anything is possible in the future.

"Now it's a matter of discussion. Is a smaller scope project potential? Is a remodel of the existing location a possibility? You know there's just a lot of general discussion and brainstorming that will take place over the next several months just to determine what's best," he said.