The YMCA will not be coming to Waupaca as planned.
Last May, Rick Johnson announced that he would donate the facilities and assets of Health and Fitness Headquarters to the YMCA of the Fox Cities.
Expected to be finalized by the end of 2014, the deal would have brought the YMCA to Waupaca.
However, that deal has been delayed due to financial issues, according to a report that Aaron Jenson, director of the city’s Parks and Recreation Department, made to the Senior Center Advisory Board in January.
Jenson noted that the YMCA did not feel comfortable moving forward, but that the subject may be revisited in a year or two. He had no further comment on the issue when contacted Monday by the Waupaca County Post.
“Due to the complexity of the transition from Waupaca Health and Fitness Headquarters to the YMCA the transaction has been delayed indefinitely,” according to a joint statement issued by Johnson and William Breider, president and CEO of the YMCA of the Fox Cities. “A future partnership will be explored and determined at the appropriate time.”
“Needless to say, I am deeply saddened, having worked hard for the better part of two years to bring it about,” Johnson told the Waupaca County Post Tuesday. “But, from out of that set back and with the encouragement of many friends I have set my sights on a future date.”
Johnson indicated that he intends to maintain and grow the fitness center whether or not it remains independent.
“Then at the appropriate time, if the community support for a YMCA is loud and clear, I believe we will be on a fast track to having one here,” Johnson said.
When asked about financial issues hampering the deal, Johnson said, “There were some options to the original plan that could have worked, I believe, when one aspect of my original financial plan did not work out, but we just simply ran out of time. The deal had to be consummated by year end or be programmed again.”