Church makes offer for YMCA building


The Severna Park YMCA might be out of business, but a local church hopes to buy the building and keep the swimming pool and recreation hall available to the community.

Officials at Woods Memorial Presbyterian Church say they would use the building for community programs and for some church activities.

"We don't need all that space on a continuous basis," said Richard Willis, who is on the church's YMCA committee. "We think there are some other needs in the community that the building could serve very, very well."

Mr. Willis said the congregation approved the proposal to buy the building last week during its annual business meeting. The church then offered the YMCA board of directors "between $300,000 and $400,000" for the building, he said.

The Severna Park YMCA closed unexpectedly last month, leaving only a note on the front door to inform visitors of financial problems. Patrons say the YMCA branch, which began with a swimming pool, had served area children and adults for more than a decade.

A spokesman from the regional YMCA office in Pennsylvania said the Severna Park branch had not been able to cover its expenses for several years. Len Wilson, a field executive for the national YMCA, said the Severna Park YMCA is $500,000 to $750,000 in debt.

"They just couldn't get away from the debt that they incurred over the last 10 years," Mr. Wilson said. "The community is responsive to the Y, but other factors weren't conducive to keeping it at the top of its game."

Board members will have to sell the building at Baltimore-Annapolis Boulevard and Cypress Creek Road to pay creditors, he said.

The Severna Park YMCA board has not responded to the church's offer. Board Chairman Gary Paul was not available yesterday.

Mr. Willis said he doesn't expect the YMCA's board to respond soon.

"They have a lot of problems that makes selling more difficult," he said. "They have a lot of creditors they have to satisfy. We're ready to do it tomorrow, but it's solely up to the Y right now as to what they can do."

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