The East Akron YMCA has moved from its home of 64 years.
The YMCA, including the Phoenix school for troubled youths, now is located in the former Barrett Elementary School.
Doug Kohl, president and CEO of the Akron Area YMCA, said the new location offers more space and parking than the former location at 110 Goodyear Blvd. that the YMCA had occupied since 1950.
“The old East Akron Y, people took a street car to,” Kohl said. “It wasn’t built with parking.”
The location at Goodyear Boulevard was within walking distance of an Akron-Summit County Public Library branch. A Beacon Journal article and photograph at the laying of what was called the building’s centerstone in 1950 included Goodyear chairman Paul W. Litchfield and president Edwin J. Thomas.
Kohl said the YMCA is hoping to sell its former building and use the proceeds toward the cost of cosmetic improvements still in progress at Barrett, including paint, carpeting and new signage. He said the YMCA is leasing Barrett from Akron Public Schools, which closed the building in 2012.
“We look at this as a permanent home,” Kohl said.
The YMCA wasn’t looking for a new East Akron spot, but jumped at the chance when Barrett was closed. The agency began talks with school district officials about nine months ago, Kohl said.
The Akron district closed Barrett at the end of the 2011-12 school year, with students sent to Firestone Park or Voris elementary schools and the special education students dispersed throughout the district, said Paul Flesher, the district’s facilities director.
The new East Akron YMCA location houses the Phoenix school, which is a behavior-modification program for youths ages 12 to 18 who are in the court system or struggling academically. It also has other Y activities, including youth mentoring, young women’s programs, youth volleyball and a teen club.
With additional space available, Kohl said, other local agencies are considering also locating in the building.
The Y moved into its new location in January. Kohl said the agency will host an open house in mid-April after additional improvements are made.
Beacon Journal reporter Doug Livingston contributed to this report. Stephanie Warsmith can be reached at 330-996-3705 or email@example.com. Follow on Twitter: @swarsmith and on Facebook: www.facebook.com/swarsmith.