South-side YMCA closing Saturday as Pima County takes control

South-side YMCA closing Saturday as Pima County takes control

TUCSON, AZ (Tucson News Now) - Starting Sunday, July 1, Pima County will take over control of a south side Tucson YMCA, leaving members wondering what's next?

In May, county officials announced the Mulcahy Kino Community Center, at 2805 E. Ajo Way, will revert to County control with the support of Kino Sports Complex.

On Wednesday night, Tucson News Now learned that the YMCA of Southern Arizona will no longer operate out of the facility, except for a few programs. Several employees will be forced to find new jobs, too.

According to Duncan Moon, Associate Director of Marketing and Communications for the YMCA of Southern Arizona, the YMCA will still utilize the pool for swim lessons and other programs, and youth basketball leagues will continue inside the indoor gym for the time-being, but the workout facility will be closed and turned over to county control.

Signs posted on the doors and at the front desk have been notifying members of the change, encouraging them to contact membership officials about their options.

Those with gym memberships visiting the Mulcahy YMCA on Wednesday, like Monique Haro, are left looking elsewhere.

"It's kind of a shame. I'm really sad to see it go because it's one of the only places the south side has to offer with a pool for the kids, to have everything available for other people to work out, with a gym that's actually affordable. It's kind of sad to see it go," Haro said, talking about the convenience.

Moon was clear that those memberships are still active at any of the other YMCA branches in the Tucson area.

Pima County built the 32,000 square-foot center in 1995 and had leased it to the YMCA of Southern Arizona since 2011, officials said in a news release. The facility includes an indoor sports center, an aquatics center, community and meeting rooms, weightlifting and exercise areas, locker rooms and children's playground.

According to Kino Sports Complex director Reenie Ochoa, the facility will be re-purposed for other events, giving them more money-making opportunities for the site.

Ochoa explained to Tucson News Now that the basketball court can be utilized for various banquets, capable of holding about 500 people. She also stated that it will give more space for MLS teams, who visit Tucson for preseason training, to utilize the locker rooms, weight room, and meeting rooms.

The MLS teams play preseason games and hold preseason practices at the Kino North facility, sharing a parking lot with the adjacent Mulcahy YMCA.

"Adding the recreation center to our amenities will help us be a more versatile venue and expand the types of groups and event sponsors we market the complex to," Ochoa said in a news release. "But it's also really important that we're able to continue to support the neighborhood through continuing some of the YMCA's programs. Combined with the adjacent Sam Lena Park, we will remain a recreation resource for the communities along East Ajo Way."

As for the current employees, Moon said that not all positions are going to be held over when Pima County retains ownership of the facility.

"Of our 58 Y employee positions at the facility, 33 positions will continue to serve in South Tucson community. The other 25 employees have been encouraged to apply to open positions at our four other YMCA branches or with the County," Moon said in a text message.

The transfer of control is scheduled to take place July 1, 2018.

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