KCK agrees to pay $12,500 a month to keep YMCA open -- for now

KANSAS CITY, Kan. - One week before its permanent shutdown, a metro YMCA got a second chance to stay open.

The Unified Government of Wyandotte County and Kansas City, Kan., voted unanimously Thursday night on a $100,000 agreement with the YMCA of Greater Kansas City to fund the 8th Street YMCA for the remainder of 2013. Under the agreement, the Unified Government will pay $12,500 per month to retain current YMCA staffing and services.

The Unified Government will consider its 2014 budget contribution to the facility in August. Until then, commissioners and YMCA officials will be working together to find a permanent solution.

The YMCA announced its restructuring plan on March 12, with a targeted closing date of April 12.

"We thought there hadn't been enough time between the time they made the announcement and the deadline for closing this particular YMCA to have a thoughtful discussion and to really look for solutions," Unified Government Commissioner Brian McKiernan said.

While the YMCA was targeted because of declining enrollment and a century-old building, McKiernan said keeping it open is a priority for his district.

"If we want people to come back and live in downtown, then we have to have reasons for them to do it," McKiernan said.

The $100,000 would come out of Hollywood Casino revenue earmarked for improving health in Wyandotte County, McKiernan said.

The YMCA's restructuring plan includes closing two other locations in Independence and Raytown, renovating two other facilities and the addition of a new full service YMCA in downtown Kansas City, Mo.

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