Don't expect a YMCA merger soon

News-DemocratApril 2, 2014 

A merger between the YMCA of Southwestern Illinois and the YMCA of Greater St. Louis might be months from completion.

In January, the two groups announced they were combining into a one and anticipated the process to be completed by March 1. Now, a month later, YMCA of Southwestern Illinois Interim President and Chief Executive Officer Jared Beard said the process is taking longer than anticipated and could be "several months" before it's final.

"I am trying not to give people a date at this time so they don't look toward that date as end all," Beard said.

He said the delay is because of additional information requested by bondholders over assets and liabilities.

"We have a number of things continuing to move forward, but the finer details are being held up until we get some answers from our bondholders," he said.

When completed, the two YMCAs plan to combine 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 pay will initially remain unchanged.

"What I have told people is this will be a journey, not an event," Beard said. "We will continue to push it as fast as we feel we can, realistically."

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

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