Wednesday, February 28, 2024

EXCLUSIVE: GF & Saratoga YMCAs eyeing merger

By Zander Frost, Chronicle Staff Writer

CHRONICLE EXCLUSIVE: Discussions are far along that could merge the Glens Falls YMCA into the Saratoga Regional YMCA, The Chronicle has learned.Photo of Glens Falls YMCA in winter, EXCLUSIVE: GF & SARATOGA YMCAS EYEING MERGER across top

A member of the Saratoga Y board told The Chronicle that under current discussions, “Glens Falls would officially be part of the Saratoga Regional YMCA, and they would fall under our administrative team, our operations, things like that.”

The Glens Falls Y has been working closely with Saratoga under a management agreement since July 2022. “They reached out to us and said we could use some help here. They were struggling a little bit with their operations and financing budget,” said the Saratoga Y board member.

“And we said, ‘Absolutely, we’ll give it a look.’ And things have been going very well with our partnership.”

Glens Falls and Saratoga YMCA members now can utilize each other’s locations. In November, Glens Falls members gained access to Saratoga Regional YMCA programs at a member rate.

“Just before the holidays” the boards decided to do an official merger, said the Saratoga Y board member. “Our board approved…I would expect now it’s just a matter of making it official.”

There is some dispute as to using the term “merger,” as technically the Glens Falls organization would be absorbed into the Saratoga Regional YMCA under the discussed plan.

But Scott Clark, Saratoga Regional YMCA CEO, told The Chronicle there is no deal finalized.

“We’re not merging at this point. It has not been voted by the board. We’re in a management agreement. As we have been for the last 16 months or so,” Mr. Clark said last week.

“Neither one of the board of directors have voted for that to happen,” he said.

The Chronicle asked, is a merger being discussed?

Mr. Clark said, “The boards are looking at that possible opportunity, but neither one of the boards have voted for that to happen yet.”

Brian Corcoran, the president of the Glens Falls YMCA Board of Directors, reached for comment Tuesday, told The Chronicle, “One, it’s not a merger. Two, Glens Falls YMCA currently has a management agreement with a Saratoga YMCA.”

Are there discussions of a merger?

“I’m not really privy to share any info like that, it’s confidential at the board level,” he said.

“There’s been nothing finalized, voted on, or anything along those lines. I can just tell you right now that we are currently on a management agreement.”

Mr. Corcoran said, “We greatly enjoy working with Saratoga. They’ve done a great job helping move the Glens Falls Y forward.”

“COVID was a difficult time for all of us, and still trying to get our footing coming out of COVID. But there’s been a big increase in programming, we put a lot of money into the facility and it’s definitely going in an upward trajectory,” said Mr. Corcoran. “We swapped out I think all the weight equipment, we brought in all new TVs brought in a whole new Wi-Fi system. And we just tried to really improve the membership experience.”

If the boards do approve combining the two YMCAs, it would be submitted for approval to the New York State Attorney General’s Office.

The Saratoga board member told The Chronicle that the changes after the YMCAs combine will be a positive for the Glens Falls community.

“If you’ve liked the changes that have occurred over the past 12 months, then, well, you’re going to be in favor of this merger, because nothing else is going to change. It’s nothing to be nervous about.

“All that’s happened, to be honest with you, in the last month is it’s become official. It’s already been happening.”

Mr. Clark, Saratoga Regional YMCA CEO, said, “Hopefully you’ve seen in the last 16 months or so some major improvements in Glens Falls.

“A lot of it’s been in some of the facilities — from new equipment in the fitness center, the new TVs, the painting, improved flooring, we’re doing a lot of HVAC work.

“And we have some other major thoughts and plans that hopefully we’ll be rolling out and share with the community in the coming months of other improvements that we want to do in the facilities.”

The Saratoga Regional YMCA is based in Saratoga Springs and has five locations — Saratoga Springs, Greenwich, Corinth, Ballston Spa and Wilton.

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