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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