The space that formerly housed the Canal Square YMCA in downtown Akron will be auctioned later this month.
It has been replaced by the University Park YMCA, which has surpassed all membership expectations after its first 14 months of operation.
The Akron Area Y will auction its 30 percent share of the historic art deco-style Canal Square building on West Center Street at 12:30 p.m. March 29.
“We sell to the highest bidder,” said Dick Kiko, chief executive of Kiko Auction. “Whoever has the highest bid owns it.”
The remainder of the building, erected in 1931, is owned by Canal Square Partners and is made up of apartments.
The Canal Square YMCA was closed in December 2010. The new site, at 477 E. Market St. on the Summa Health System campus, opened to the public in January 2011.
The initial goal was 2,400 membership units by the end of 2011.
As of the end of February, the $11 million University Park facility had 3,510 membership units, which includes individual members and families and about 800 units from Summa Health System, Y officials said.
The number represents more than 7,000 adults and children.
By contrast, the Canal Square YMCA had 800 membership units when it closed.
The new building is a “giant, diverse melting pot,” said Doug Kohl, Akron Area Y president and chief executive. “It is as diverse an organization as you ever are going to see.”
Michael Robinson, who started his job as executive director of the new YMCA on Nov. 1, said it is a terrific time to be associated with the new facility.
“Every day I wake up with an excitement about being here,” said Robinson, 53, who worked in private business for 29 years with IBM and Diebold and in the pharmaceutical industry before taking the Y position.
Robinson mentioned several new programs at the University Park Y. Among them:
• A Saturday teen night, when the building is open from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m. for activities free for teens.
• Make a Splash, a swimming instruction class offered free to area youngsters.
• Silver Sneakers, an exercise and social activities program. Robinson said about 700 senior citizens take part, with Medicare paying a portion of the cost.
Robinson said the Y also will work with Asian Services in Action Inc. of Akron to plant a community garden this year.
“We want to branch out and do some additional things within the community outside of the doors,” said Robinson, a native of Mount Vernon, N.Y., who lives in Akron. “I really wanted to be in a place where I can make an impact on the lives of others.”
The new YMCA is a partnership with Summa Health System, which paid half of the costs of the building. Other key donors were the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, which gave $3 million; University Park Alliance, which gave $500,000; and five individuals who gave $100,000 each.
For more about the Akron Area Y, go to www. akronymca.org.
Jim Carney can be reached at 330-996-3576 or at email@example.com.