CHARLOTTE, N.C. — What will happen to the more than 70-year-old Johnston YMCA building and the greenspace out front is top of mind for the gym's members and the NoDa community.
The YMCA says the Johnston YMCA is being sold to an unannounced developer and will be closing at the end of the year.
The YMCA says it has been considering its options for two years, but with a growing list of maintenance needs and a building design that doesn't fit the current function, they decided to sell.
It currently has 1,500 members in the walkable community, and member Sheridan Hathaway has memories at the Johnston YMCA dating back more than 40 years.
"My son is 42, and I started coming here when he was an infant for infant swim, so picture me shoving my baby's head under the water," Hathaway recalled with a laugh.
Hathaway says she thought the YMCA was committed to staying in the neighborhood.
"Because they are integral. They've got a daycare. They've got after school programs. It's also a wonderful old building. It helps make, to me, this whole community part of the community," Hathaway said. "I'm very sad. I love this place."
Former Johnston YMCA Certified Personal Trainer, Shonda Caines says for six years she worked out, swam, taught classes and informed the active older adult program on health food options. Caines used space in the Y for book signings and for her small business.
"So for me, it was a community," Caines said.
Plans have not yet been announced on what will happen to the property.
Proactive NoDa neighbors have already started a petition, however, to save the historic tree that sits in front of the YMCA. The petition has gained more than 1,300 signatures in a week.
Community members say the green space in front of the YMCA has been used like a public park for years, and they hope whatever comes to the land next will respect the green space and the historic tree out front.
The YMCA says it will work with Johnston location members to continue programming at another one of its other Y locations.