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Milwaukee Alderman fearful changes to Parklawn YMCA will have devastating impact on neighborhood

Parklawn YMCA

MILWAUKEE -- A Milwaukee alderman is fearful a looming change to the Parklawn YMCA will have a negative impact on an underserved neighborhood's health, and leave behind the young men the "Y" was founded to help.

"It's disappointing to hear this information," said Milwaukee Alderman Khalif Rainey.

Alderman Khalif Rainey is worried about the changes.

"The 53216 ZIP code, where this facility exists, is one of the most obese ZIP codes in the City of Milwaukee," said Rainey.

Parklawn YMCA

Khalif Rainey

Rainey says more than half are obese and can benefit from affordable, accessible fitness equipment. Parklawn became the first YMCA in the country to be built in a public housing development back in 1996.

On Tuesday, Nov. 27 FOX6 News explained Parklawn's new mission to focus more on programs and services, and as a result, cut facilities like the fitness center.

"This decision is counterproductive to the health of our community," Rainey said.

There may be other cuts as well.

Parklawn YMCA

FOX6's Bret Lemoine: "Are you cutting the culinary class for children?"

Board Chairman Rick Schmidt of the YMCA of Metro Milwaukee: "I can't answer that. I don't have that detail."

Rick Schmidt

FOX6's Bret Lemoine: "What about the karate class?"

Board Chairman Rick Schmidt of the YMCA of Metro Milwaukee: "I don't have that detail."

FOX6's Bret Lemoine: "Do you know how many programs are being cut?"

Board Chairman Rick Schmidt of the YMCA of Metro Milwaukee: "I don't have that specific detail."

Parklawn YMCA

Board Chairman Rick Schmidt of the YMCA of Metro Milwaukee says the decision to refocus Parklawn came after a year-long collaboration between members, donors and other stakeholders.

"We just did not have enough membership, we couldn't draw enough membership to make it sustainable for us to carry on," said Schmidt.

As for what will take the place of these cuts for -- particularly for its young, male members -- Schmidt says the goal is to strengthen what's left.

Board Chairman Rick Schmidt of the YMCA of Metro Milwaukee: "Youth sports..."

FOX6's Bret Lemoine: "But you have that already."

Board Chairman Rick Schmidt of the YMCA of Metro Milwaukee: "We have that already but we are looking to grow that and provide those services to more people in the Parklawn community."

Schmidt says those impacted will get a free month's membership to the metro-Milwaukee 'Y' of their choosing once the changes take effect on Dec. 1, but insists Parklawn's doors will remain open.

Parklawn YMCA