We need this like we need a hole in the ground

Just as the town seems to be getting around to filling the cavern on West Putnam Avenue where the BMW dealership never went, we have the YMCA, draped in FEMA blue tarps and scaffolding, sitting idle for what looks like will be years. These guys had quite the business plan: alienate your older members, push out the men and turn the whole operation into some kind of feel-good, New Age “Family Center”, with colored sheets, soft guitars and meditation music. Hard to believe it didn’t work. Harder still to believe that the Y brought this on itself by hiring a director whose sole previous accomplishment had been to bankrupt a Y in California. Now he’s two for two and gone, and we’re left looking like St. Croix after Hurricane Hugo. Nice job, gentlemen (and ladies).

11 Comments

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11 responses to “We need this like we need a hole in the ground

  1. Pete

    Also got rid of Calves Island in the process, a beautiful 25.93 acre island and an ideal camp site for young Y members. Irreplaceable. Sold for $6,000,000 in 2003 to help finance the blue tarps and scaffolding .

  2. Cobra

    The Y was never the same after they eliminated the basement rifle range about 50 years ago.

    Imagine our town’s reaction today if pre-teens were observed carrying their .22’s, in cases, and ammo along the nearby sidewalks, as my brother and I did fairly regularly on Saturday mornings.

    Soon after, the outdoor Cos Cob Revolver & Rifle Club, then off Bible Street as I recall, was eliminated for housing development.

    Both closures definitely diminished our in-town ability to pursue our hobby.

    • christopherfountain

      And the Y had a rifle range on Calves island too, Cobra, although I’m sure that was gone before they sold off the place – can’t be to careful, don’t you know.

  3. Anonymous

    $6 million for an Island? Who bought it, surely not a Realtor with some spare commissions. Or maybe it was the director’s friend who just happened to notice it in the window.
    Now what were we saying about that piece of pier at the end of Steamboat? Maybe Chris knows somone who will take it off your hands!

    • christopherfountain

      Franklin Bloomer and his pals sold it to you, actually, but the federal government now owns it as a bird refuge and you the taxpayer aren’t allowed on it. So we lost public access to a beautiful island and the Y poured the proceeds down a rat hole. Not one of Franklin’s more astute projects but then, when has he ever had one?

  4. Enzo

    I’ve been a member of the Y for 10yrs+ and am not as familiar as you with the history or politics of the place. The only thing I can say is that the facility was in great need of an upgrade. Quite honestly the place was a dump. You might disagree with the scope of the upgrade but I think they tried to do what was necessary and in time the entire community will be satisfied.

    • christopherfountain

      It was a dump, Enzo, you’re quite right. My objection, and the objection of many, was the scope of the renovation undertaken when they were so short of the necessary funding. Sort like those savings in Obama Care that are going to come along later.

  5. PoeticJustic

    It is a sin. Everybody involved should be driven out of town. To lose the island which was a treasure was a crime. The only thing they did right was to not change the motto to something absurd like the YWCA which went from some “we love families” type theme to some weird feminist/late 60’s black activist motto of “Eliminating Racism/Empowering Women”. Whats that all about? Are they stuck in some kind of hippie time warp? What wrong with “we love women, men and children”? Perhaps if the Board wasnt 100% women who need to get a life it would be more normal. Well at least those women know how to make a budget and stick to it. Maybe the YMCA should change its motto to “Eliminating Overruns/Empowering Fundraising”. Who knows.

  6. Twisted Brit

    Still a dump! And as for Family Friendly. You seen where they put those ‘family’ locker rooms? Well I tell ya…you get all sorts in there. Teenage gangs, leery old men exposing themselves and mixed sex camp groups with mixed sex teenage camp counsellors. No wonder, they have a ‘inappropriate conduct’ case on their hands. Sure as hell they do! You think I’m kidding? Not a bit…I’m there more often than I’d like!

    I don’t know what qualifications you need to run that place, but Mucci was an ineffectual wish wash, and I do wonder about Fretty. I honestly think I could do a better job. For sure, at least I’d kick some ass!

  7. Twisted Brit

    You know, the rifle club off Bible is still there. I wonder if that’s why house prices aren’t going up so much in Cos Cob!!

  8. anon 1

    It’s “Calf Island” and it’s still open to the public:

    http://www.calfisland.org/events.htm