Southwest Family YMCA Doors Shut, in Limbo

The facility shut its doors July 1 but the city of Temecula, which had agreed to buy it, is still closing escrow on the property and has been for at least a month.

Last year at this time, the Southwest Family YMCA, on Margarita Road, was full of children and parents playing and swimming in the pool, taking classes and using the gym.

On Thursday, the debt-ridden facility was shut down, its pool drained and a sign up from the county Department of Public Health announcing the pool's closure for health and safety reasons.

Local swimmers saw problems coming when several times during the spring and early summer, the pool water turned an ugly, murky green color, scaring some bathers away.

And through the year, lifeguards and other employees had complained to Patch about being turned away at their banks, told there was no money in the YMCA coffers to pay them.

The YMCA of Riverside City and County, which owns and until the end of June ran the Temecula facility at ‪29119 Margarita Road‬, had planned to close the Y July 1 because the city in May agreed to buy it.

But the city for more than a month has been working on its "due diligence" and has not yet closed escrow, said Grant Yates, city director of community relations.

As part of its research, city staff is preparing financial and inspection reports but those have not been submitted to the city council for approval of the purchase at this time, Yates told Patch.

The city had planned to finalize the $1.4 million sale in June, on a building that cost abiout $2.3 million to construct.

This is a good deal for the city, Councilman Jeff Comerchero said in May.

"The price is right," he said. "Today, with this economic circumstance … you can buy buildings for far less than it would cost to build."

The city plans to pay for the facilty using unallocated, extra money in its General Fund, according to Community Services Director Aaron Adams.

"This is money we've identified as left-over," he said.

Fees paid by developers to finance community services will replace the funds within a few years, Adams said.

Before it shut down, the facility had been plagued for close to a year with money problems.

YMCA employees' pay checks bounced for months and some employees went a number of pay cycles with no salary, according to several YMCA workers.

According to employees, this happened through the winter and spring. Toward the beginning of summer, a number of the lifeguards quit.

"The first pay day of August (2011) the pay checks started to bounce," said Taylor Cahill, a former aquatic supervisor at the Temecula facility, via an email. "When September came, pay checks were still bouncing, and staff members were starting to get kicked out of their (apartments), homes and condos because they couldn't pay rent."

Last winter, Jackie Fielder, CEO of the YMCA of Riverside City and County, conceded to Patch that the checks did bounce but claimed it was not because of mismanagement.

The checks were bouncing because building the Temecula facility drained the nonprofit's coffers, she told Patch.

"It strapped the organization. It just strapped it," she said.

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Mark July 06, 2012 at 12:24 PM
Sorry to see this place closed. I knew the doors weren't staying open much longer.
Brenda July 06, 2012 at 07:11 PM
Very sad to see it close and I have never heard of one, and newly open, turn around and close with such problems. 1.4 million is a heck of a deal and I would say if the City doesnt get escrow closed and get it reopened let someone else buy it. I would bet there are many an investor would would love that site and building even to keep it as a spin off of a YMCA. Don't have to make much to make the payment on 1.4 million with todays rates. City get on the ball or let someone else get their hands on that great deal. Doesnt make sense they didnt have the money to pay checks and the list they give in this article. They had alot of memberships when they opened and it just doesnt ring true the whole story. Does the Ymca have to answer to anyone? The customers wjho paid for memberships and do not get to go?
Jessica July 06, 2012 at 07:58 PM
In an earlier Patch story..... Putting up the Temecula facility was not a good idea in hindsight, Fielder said. The Y paid to put up the building, but the City of Temecula owns the land. This presents a unique problem, Fielder said. Selling the facility is almost impossible, because nobody would buy a multi-million dollar building on somebody else's land. "The only people who could buy it are another YMCA (chartered organization), or the city," Fielder said.
Only my thought July 06, 2012 at 09:40 PM
I'm surprised they stayed open this long, my brother use to work for them and every pay check bounced and the bank charged him.... The Y was broke before they open the doors
Brenda July 06, 2012 at 11:28 PM
Thank you Jessica and that makes some sense now. Wondering why Ymca would go for that, having to pay "rent" on the land? Its very true that the City WOULD be the only one who would want that building. Sounds like owning a home in Mexico, they always own the land, always, and can take it away at any time. All sounds a bit crooked to me.
5150 July 07, 2012 at 01:13 PM
The Taj Mahal in old town exasperated Temeculas funds.
DMA July 15, 2012 at 01:33 AM
I didn't realize funds could be exasperated. How frustrating. ;-)
James Grover July 19, 2012 at 03:01 AM
The building has water damage due flooding repeatedly and not being properly taken care of. I would imagine inside the walls and under the carpet/flooring is not only unsightly, unsafe. Of course, it is the fault of everyone but the YMCA and their administration, or so they would want us to believe. It's not as if ms. Fielder has been implicated in court by a convicted thief, overseen a branch (Moreno valley) that had to close it office and had numerous leadership issues under her personally appointed director (including families not paying for months at a time simply because management did not bother to do their job), oversaw a youth opportunity center that had to close not long after moving into a new city building (laying off all of those employees), had her previous after school program be shut down because she says it's all the school districts fault, nor did he just give away a entire branch in jurupa that was in fact earning the money it needed to survive while ms. Fielder and her management staff leeched out the funds. Nope, none of that has happened.... Except that it has. And the issue that seems to be holding up temeculas purchase, at least in part, sub standard maintenance- its an issue elsewhere. Unless of course corona norco YMCA, who took over the jurupa YMCA facility has just closed classrooms and begun renovations because it's funn
Shi Ruiz January 18, 2013 at 08:16 PM
I was an active member paying my dues. Also my 3 children in basket ball wich i just paid 2 weeks ago for the winter season. My kids are so mad. Will i get my money back?


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