Ozaukee YMCA fights to keep its doors open: “Plenty of folks want to see it stay”

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PORT WASHINGTON (WITI) -- The Feith Family Ozaukee YMCA in Port Washington is fighting to keep its doors open. A fundraising campaign is underway, but it must raise a million dollars in just over a month to make it happen.

When the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee filed for bankruptcy back in June, it was decided that it would sell several properties, including the Feith Family Ozaukee YMCA. That means private companies can bid for it in the upcoming auction, but plenty of folks want to see it stay a "Y."

There is a heavy weight on the hearts of those who love the Feith Family Ozaukee YMCA.

"It's a family atmosphere, it's something that the community really can't afford to give up," YMCA member, David Kitzerow said.

David Kitzerow has been coming here pretty much since the place opened nearly 15 years ago. But he is now one of close to 8,000 members who could soon find themselves without this YMCA.

"It's been made aware but I don't think people really understand the significance of what it means to them especially the people of that are members of the 'Y' I don't think they really understand what's happening. They don't understand that the doors could shut," said Kitzerow.

When the YMCA of Metropolitan Milwaukee filed for bankruptcy, this was one of the properties it decided to sell. The Kettle Morraine YMCA wants to purchase the property and keep it a YMCA -- but it's not a done deal.

"People thought when Kettle Moraine made the offer to purchase they thought it was a done deal and they failed to communicate that purchase was not going through it was actually going to push forward through the bankruptcy and through the auction," said Sarah Paque, Feith Family YMCA advisory board member.

The Kettle Moraine YMCA can still bid for the property -- but so can others. In hopes of keeping the place a YMCA, there is now an effort to raise a million dollars in just over a month to bolster Kettle Moraine's bid.

"Just a little wiggle room I mean you know if we don't raise enough money we're going to lose the 'Y'," said Paque.

Members like Kitzerow want to see the place stay a YMCA, saying the atmosphere just wouldn't be the same if it were anything else.

"Way different atmosphere, we have again, it's a family atmosphere, it's not just my own family but everybody," Kitzerow said.

There is going to be a town hall meeting to discuss the current situation coming up on Tuesday, August 26th, at the Wisconsin Humane Society in Saukville. It's open to anyone who is interested in helping out.