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The Voice of the Black Community

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McCrory YMCA to reopen for outdoor health programming June 8
Was omitted from original facilities list
Published Saturday, May 30, 2020 1:28 pm
by Herbert L. White | The Charlotte Post

The McCrory YMCA on Beatties Ford Road will reopen on June 8 with outdoor health and wellness programming. The facility was originally one of three branches in mostly-black communities omitted from the list of YMCA facilities to reopen with the lifting of North Carolina's stay at home order.

After leaving branches in mostly black neighborhoods closed in its initial Phase 2 reopening plan, the YMCA has changed course.

The YMCA of Greater Charlotte announced it will open the McCrorey YMCA on June 8 for outdoor health and wellness programming after The Post inquired as to why branches in urban core communities weren’t included on the initial roster of facilities to be reopened starting June 1. The entire YMCA system was shuttered in March by North Carolina’s shelter in place order.

“We are committed to ALL the communities and neighborhoods we serve,” the YMCA said in a statement. “We know that the Y will look different on the other side of this pandemic and we recognize the responsibility we have to our community, our members, our donors and our volunteers to balance the equity of our programs, facilities and initiatives with the reality of what’s operationally feasible.”

The Stratford Richardson YMCA located in a mostly black neighborhood on West Boulevard will remain closed. The Johnston Y in the gentrified NoDa neighborhood, isn’t on the schedule of early reopening sites. It has 4,000 members, according to the YMCA’s website.

“Given #COVID19 and this #pandemic has shown a bright light on how the underlying health disparities in the Black community are leading to unprecedented deaths of African Americans, can someone please tell me why the white YMCAs are being opened in upcoming weeks for outdoor exercise BUT the African American branches, like McCrorey and Stratford Richardson have no such plans being publicly shared as their white counterparts,” community activist Colette Forest wrote in an email. “African Americans want to stay healthy.”

The McCrory branch, which was built in 1936 and relocated to Beatties Ford Road in 1969 as part of Charlotte’s urban renewal program, is one of the South’s first YMCA branches built in a black community. It was originally called the Second Street YMCA and located in the Brooklyn neighborhood before the entire community was razed and replaced by office buildings.

The YMCA originally planned to launch outdoor fitness classes at six branches – Brace Family, Dowd, Harris, Keith Family, Lowe’s and Morrison Family – on June 1. The June 8 schedule called for opening outdoor pools at Brace, Harris, Hemby Program Center, Keith, Morrison and Simmons as well as indoor pools at Dowd and Lowe’s. The agency expects most of its branches and its two overnight camps, Camp Thunderbird and Camp Harrison to open in June.

“We have planned for a staggered opening in June and expect 13 of our 19 branches to open by the end of the month, and to provide a blend of adjusted services and programs specific to each branch and each community,” the YMCA statement said. “Many factors went into our decision to offer various programs at various branches.”


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