Prayer vigil scheduled in Penn Hills to keep YMCA open
The Penn Hills NAACP chapter will hold a prayer vigil to keep its YMCA open and is calling on government, community and religious leaders to attend.
The vigil is scheduled to start at 5 p.m., Aug. 20 at the YMCA’s Penn Hills branch location on Frankstown Road.
“I hope the event at least gets them to keep it open until there are plans in place to replace these programs,” said Joyce Davis, Penn Hills NAAPC Unit 2278 President.
She said comments from YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh’s CEO made at a July meeting were “hard to hear.” The YMCA is slated to close Aug. 31.
“Let us just be honest -- the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh is closing the Penn Hills branch so that the property can be sold off because it will bring a lot of money -- it is a property value issue,” Joyce wrote in a NAACP newsletter published Aug. 10.
Kevin Bolding, the president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater Pittsburgh, said at a meeting held at a church July 26 that the Penn Hills YMCA is losing $200,000 a year in revenue. He also said the property’s value has been appraised at a seven figure number and that the organization plans to sell it. The 5.2-acre property was last assessed at $1.3 million, according to Allegheny County property records.
Davis said she and community members cannot remain silent.
“Call them. Ask them to stop the process and to be fair to Penn Hills,” Davis said. “If we’re silent, they think it must be O.K. with the community. And it’s not.”