East Hawaii News

Funding Problems to Close YWCA Pool Aug. 31

July 26, 2013, 4:02 PM HST
* Updated July 27, 8:54 AM
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Citing budgetary issues, the YWCA of Hawaii Island has announced it will be closing its heated saltwater swimming pool in Hilo.

The pool at the YWCA’s Ululani campus will close on Aug. 31, the organization said in a press release issued today.

It is no longer financially feasible to keep the pool open, the YWCA said.

Maintenance and operation of the pool costs roughly $18,000 per month, and revenues have been covering less than two-thirds of that, the organization said. That has forced it to dip into a reserve fund to make up the shortfall.

The YWCA’s board has decided it would be better to close the pool than to threaten the overall financial stability of the YWCA, the statement said.

“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,” said Karen Hayashida, president of the YWCA’s board of directors.

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

The YWCA last year put together an ad hoc committee of swimmers, board members and staff to try to find a way to make the aquatics program sustainable.

Community donations brought in $49,000 which bought additional time to consider additional options, but none have proved viable.

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

The YWCA’s pool has been providing aquatic programs for children aged six months and older since 1973, serving as a staple in the Hilo community for swimming activities and water exercise.

The pool’s closure will result in loss of jobs for two full-time and five part-time employees, the statement said.

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 non-profit YWCA organization provides programs for more than 25 million women and girls in 125 countries worldwide, including more than 2 million people at more than 1,300 locations in the US.

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