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Members get to decide if three YMCA organizations should merge

Members of the South Boston-Halifax YMCA will have an opportunity to cast their votes on the merger of the Hamilton Boulevard YMCA with the two in Mecklenburg County at 6 p.m. Thursday.

According to CEO Marcus Hargrave, the annual meeting will be held next Thursday updating memberships and setting forth the vote to consolidate the three YMCAs, including the ones located in South Boston-Halifax, Chase City and Clarksville.

Earlier this summer, members had an opportunity to voice input concerning the merger at a town hall meeting held at the South Boston Y.

For over nine months, the board members of the YMCAs in South Boston, Chase City and Clarksville have “looked at ways to strengthen the program that they already have,” according to Hargrave. 

After a unanimous vote of 29 board members, the three YMCAs decided to merge. The facilities will remain at their current locations, he explained. 

However, opposition to the proposal in Mecklenburg County has caused the Y membership there to postpone its vote.

Hargrave said after postponing the Clarksville vote that had originally been scheduled for Thursday, July 19, a meeting was held with “a small group of members who voiced concerns.”

In adherence with wishes of the Mecklenburg community, Hargrave said that meeting was held to answer questions from members.

A date has not been set for the new membership vote in Mecklenburg County.

After the vote takes place next Thursday in South Boston, Hargrave said he expects the board to approve the merger with no objections from members.

“We’ve had overwhelming support for this,” he added.

The first step after the approval, according to the executive director, will be for all to come together and form a strategic plan for the newly consolidated YMCA that will strengthen the programs and better the community.

Hargrave said, “The YMCA is dedicated to impacting youth, social response and proud to open its doors to anybody and plans to sustain for years to come.”

The YMCA focuses on increasing youth development and practices a family wellness initiative. 

 “We are working together to coordinate efforts and share resources to expand on our staff’s existing roles in order to provide the community with more opportunities,” Hargrave said. 

Currently, members of the YMCA have the option of purchasing a dual membership; which allows them to use all three locations. The board members are looking into doing away with this dual membership. 

The general membership fee will allow the same benefits as a dual membership.

The membership price is scheduled to remain the same, according to Hargrave. 

In South Boston, a family membership costs $46 a month, and an adult membership costs $31 a month. Family membership costs $35 per month, and adult membership costs $25 in Clarksville. 

The YMCAs are looking into the needs of the community to decide which programs each facility needs. 

Aerobics, Zumba and Tae Kwon Do classes already have begun in Clarksville, and plans are to hold these classes at the Chase City YMCA also.

The Chase City YMCA is looking into ways to provide Summer Day Camp and After School Child Care similar to that provided at the South Boston Y.

The YMCAs plan to use their larger staff to provide new programs for the communities while still providing their existing programs, he added. 

 “I think it is a good move. It will have numerous benefits (for the community),” added Hargrave.

“It makes sense to do this,” he added.