Letter: Lack Of Economic Development Hurt Norwalk YMCA

  • Comments (4)

NORWALK, Conn. ‒ The Norwalk Daily Voice accepts signed, original letters to the editor. We reserve the right to edit submissions, but we respectfully ask that you keep your correspondence under 500 words. Please send letters to norwalk@dailyvoice.com.

A vital part of the Norwalk community will be lost when the YMCA on West Avenue closes its doors on Dec. 31.

Over the past 85 years, the YMCA has filled an essential role as a long-established anchor of the West Avenue district. Thousands of children and adults from Norwalk and beyond have participated in its programs, from swimming lessons and Calvin Murphy basketball to fitness classes and child care. The reasons given for the closing were declining membership and contributions.

To accept that explanation on its face, or to accept it as “a sign of the times,” as some have done, is to gloss over the severity of this loss and put our city at risk of similar losses going forward. In reality, the loss reflects the failure to take advantage of opportunities as they arose.

A few years ago I served on the Membership Committee of the YMCA. We were optimistic then that the revitalization being considered would help boost membership and guarantee sustainability. I believe that this institution would still be thriving if our city fathers had incorporated plans for a new Y facility during the initial planning stages of the West Ave. development project.

If Norwalk also had done a better job with economic development as a whole, there would have been a broader base of businesses to support the efforts of the Y and its programs on a corporate level, enabling the employees of those businesses and their families to become potential members. Neighboring YMCAs have proven the effectiveness of this model.

And perhaps, if our streets were safer, more people from within and outside Norwalk would have felt more comfortable joining and using the facility, which is ideally situated just off I-95.

Andy Garfunkel

  • 4
    Comments

Comments (4)

sononeknows:

In all honestly read into Norwalks news,tommorrow night we will read about the big deal Norwalk police had in the same area of the former Y tonight.

The amount of crime only added to the fact that area of the city where the Y was, hosted a gang who in the past have made its mark in Norwalk.

Grace Episcopal has been a part of Norwalk since 1890, and the congregation has gathered at its current location since 1964.

Over the past four years, the church has been fighting a losing battle as many of its parishioners have taken financial hits of their own and cannot afford to donate as much or as often, according to Keen. She has been the pastor at the church for more than six years.

Marie_Miller:

I am sure the author wishes he didn't write this now in light of the tragedy in Newtown, but that aside, this doesn't make a lot of sense.

If I understand what you are trying to say, if we had added jobs in Norwalk (in what was the largest financial crisis in a century) more people would have joined the seedy, run-down Y and it could have survived? Maybe if you were writing this in 1980, it would be true. In 2012, when you can join Crunch for $10/month, the Y is simply an anachronism. It is sad that it will be gone, but something better may take it's place.

Tim T:

WHAT
"I am sure the author wishes he didn't write this now in light of the tragedy in Newtown, but that aside"
Why would you make such a ridiculous statement .....STOP using a tragic event in a lame attempt to attempt to make you ridiculous point.

Norwalk Native:

Tim, it is absolutely astounding that you purport to uphold Democratic principles when you consistently attack others for expressing their personal opinions. By the way, I'd try editing your remarks before submitting to maximize the validity of your comments. The fine art of cynicism requires razor sharp wit on the tip of a seasoned writer's quill, not to mention proper spelling, mechanics, and language usage.

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