Escondido

Sale of Palomar YMCA Leaves Future of Programs, Staff Up in the Air

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The Palomar Family YMCA has been closed to most activities for a year because of the pandemic, and now the enormous campus is up for sale.

The YMCA can rent space elsewhere or partner with a campus or community center, but right now it can't guarantee which community programs will survive a relocation.

“The YMCA is so much more than a building," spokesperson Courtney Pendleton said, while adding that the sale of the property won't automatically eliminate programs. "We remain committed to serving the Escondido community in impactful ways, just as we have for the last 50+ years."

Two weeks ago the board made the decision to sell the property if a buyer could be found, according to Pendleton.

To understand what the Palomar Family YMCA has meant since the resurrection of its gymnastics program, one of the few programs running on this campus now, you can talk to parents with kids who participate.

"Kids can come here, it's safe, its good adult supervision,” parent George Neblina explained.

Neblina and fellow program parents Melissa Deponte are disappointed at the prospect of losing the gym for their kids and others.

“I’m sad for the families that really need the extra funding and stuff for kids to be able to play sports,” Deponte said.

“It services a lot of underprivileged children and it is sad to see this kind of facility close on them. They need it more here than anywhere else,” Neblina added.

The pandemic caused the shutdown of the Palomar YMCA's health and fitness programs, and because of staff reductions they weren't relocated outside. 

There isn’t a buyer in line for the Palomar YMCA right now, but Pendleton said there is no plan to reopen health and wellness programs – which include pool and inside gym activities -- at the facility even if the county’s Health and Human Services Agency allows gyms to open indoors.

The Palomar Family YMCA says during this time it will operate its academy for homeless children, gymnastics camps, and the Childcare Resource Service on site. It will also continue to manage childcare programs for the Escondido Union School District on school campuses.

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