YMCA of Niagara says it assumed $740,000 in debt when it took over Fort Erie's EJ Freeland building

YMCA

The YMCA is responding to the town of Fort Erie's plans to save the EJ Freeland building and its programs.

The Town of Fort Erie says they are waiting to hear back from YMCA officials after offering to buy the building and its contents for one dollar as it looks to keep the building running by partnering with the Boys and Girls Club of Niagara.

The YMCA announced they would be closing the building this fall because it needs millions of dollars in upgrades.

The town sold the building to the YMCA for a dollar back in 2008.

YMCA of Niagara President and CEO Kyle Barber says they will formally respond to the town's offer by July 31st, but he wants to clear up some misinformation.

Barber says the idea the YMCA received the building for just a dollar is not true, since it assumed $740,000 in debt at the time of the buildings' transfer. 

He says that's an issue they need to look after. 

Barber also points out they have invested 3 million dollars into the EJ Freeland building to date.

Barber says there is no firm closure date, but it looks like it will be later in the fall.

He says the YMCA has been actively working through the community consultation process and appreciates the significant response and feedback from Fort Erie residents.

You can hear Barber's interview.

The Mayor of Fort Erie Wayne Redekop says he first heard of the $740,000 in debt two weeks ago, and he has asked for documents to support that claim.

Redekop says they have been working with the Boys and Girls Club to ensure programming at the building continues.

He thinks the town's offer is a good one considering the building needs at least three million dollars in upgrades, including major repairs before the winter months.

Redekop says they will be relieving the YMCA of the burden of the building.

Both Redekop and Barber believe the deal will eventually be complete once they work out some details.

You can hear Redekop's interview here.