YMCA merger will be delayed

News-DemocratFebruary 27, 2014 

The planned merger between the YMCA of Southwestern Illinois and the YMCA of Greater St. Louis will take longer to complete that anticipated.

The two sides announced the merger last month, but this week a metro-east YMCA official confirmed that the move may take another month to complete.

Initially, the two sides announced that the merger would be completed by March 1. However, YMCA of Southwestern Illinois Interim President and Chief Executive Officer Jared Beard said that the process is still waiting on final approval from bondholders and will take more time to complete.

"It is definitely taking longer than what we expected," Beard said.

YMCA of Greater St. Louis President and Chief Executive Officer Gary Schlansker, who will serve as the president and chief executive officer of the new regional YMCA, said the longer transition will not affect the merger.

"It's been slower than we expected," Schlansker said. "We don't anticipate any problems."

Beard said the transition teams are planning to meet on Tuesday. He also said the merger is pending over the newly merged organization assuming existing debt on the metro-east YMCA's properties. He declined to comment about the debt amount.

The merger was announced last month. Details include combining current members from both groups into one that will be known as the Gateway Region YMCA. The 200,0000 members from both organizations are expected to have access to the 23 branches located on both sides of the river in the greater metropolitan area. Employees from all 23 branches will keep their jobs and the rates members currently pay will initially remain unchanged.

"We're excited," Schlansker said. "We're looking forward to becoming one organization."

Contact reporter Will Buss at wbuss@bnd.com or 239-2526.

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