Categorized | Business, News

YWCA of to close pool Aug. 31


The YWCA of Hawaii Island (YWCA) will close the solar heated saltwater swimming pool at its Ululani campus on August 31. The pool has operated at a financial loss for several years.

The cost of pool operations and maintenance is approximately $18,000 a month. Over the last few years, monthly pool revenue has been less than two-thirds of the $18,000 monthly costs. To make up the shortfall, the YWCA tapped its reserve fund.

The board decided to close the pool rather than threaten the overall financial stability of the YWCA by draining the reserve funds.

“The pool has been part of the YWCA ohana and community for almost four generations, playing an integral role in defining the YWCA’s uniqueness,” Karen Hayashida, YWCA of Hawaii Island Board President, said.

“It’s difficult to have to see the pool close after so many years of memories being made here. This is definitely a loss for the Hilo community,” she said.

In 2012, the YWCA formed an ad hoc committee of swimmers, board members and staff to evaluate ways to make the aquatics program more sustainable and raise additional funds.

Through hard work and generous community donations, $49,000 was raised in December 2012, allowing the pool to stay open until June 2013 and giving the ad hoc committee and the YWCA additional time to test ideas to make the aquatics program viable.

“Despite this intensive outreach, we were not able to bridge the widening gap between expenses and income,” Kathleen McGilvray, CEO of the YWCA of Hawaii Island, said. “We are deeply saddened to close this beloved community pool and lose the pool members of our YWCA family.”

The YWCA’s pool opened in 1973 and at the time, was one of three pools in Hilo. Since its creation, the pool has offered aquatic programs for children 6-months and older and has been a staple in the Hilo community for swimming activities and water exercise.

The YWCA is currently assessing what to do with the space once the pool closes. Two full-time and five part-time employees will be laid off as a result of the pool’s closure.

During the month of August, the pool will be open to the public for free swim every Saturday from 12:30 to 2:30 p.m. to celebrate the many memories it created for families, friends, neighbors and community.

The YWCA is the voice for every woman. For over a century, the YWCA has spoken out and taken action on behalf of women and girls. Over 2 million people participate each year in YWCA programs at more than 1,300 locations across the U.S. and worldwide, the YWCA serves more than 25 million women and girls in 125 countries.

YWCA Hawaii Island is a not-for-profit membership organization and a United Way Agency Partner, providing services to meet community needs. YWCA Hawaii Island is dedicated to eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom, and dignity for all.

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