Building sale, COVID closure too much to overcome

FERNDALE — The Ferndale YMCA facility will be closed permanently.

Whatcom Family YMCA, the countywide services provider, made the announcement Friday, with closure effective Monday, June 1. Facilities have already been closed since March due to the coronoavirus.

Earlier this year, the YMCA building at 5610 Barrett Rd. was purchased by The Locker Room (KoenLock LLC), and the YMCA was informed that its lease there would not be renewed, according to a Friday press release. As the COVID-19 health crisis persists and recovery from it is slow, Whatcom Family YMCA decided “it is not financially viable or prudent to reopen” given the time remaining on the lease. “Thus the YMCA has made the very difficult decision to permanently close the Ferndale location effective June 1, 2020.”

“While we are disheartened by this closure, we are proud of all we have accomplished in the 30 years we have been here,” said Bill Ziels, CEO of Whatcom Family YMCA. “The Y would like to thank Ferndale for its dedicated staff, members, quality programming and annual support. Together, we have nurtured the potential of children, enhanced health and provided vital services to the community.”

The Ferndale site had been offering wellness and fitness programs including Silver Sneakers for seniors, and it has a gymnasium, multi-purpose room, locker rooms and racquetball courts.

“It is very sad. I live in Ferndale and have taught fitness classes at that facility since 1999,” said Elana English, who is also marketing and communications director for the Whatcom YMCA.

The closure marks the end of this YMCA facility, but it is not necessarily the end of the Y’s presence in Ferndale and the surrounding area. Local Y programs have expanded outside their physical locations, the organization says, and the Whatcom Y intends to try to do so in this instance.

“Though fitness centers have historically been the face of the YMCA, we can make a positive impact without a specific building or set of walls,” said Ziels. “Equipped with people and passion, the Y will explore all options to offer programs again safely when the time is right.”

The Y has been part of the Whatcom community for over a century. The current Ferndale location has housed the organization since 1990.