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YMCA looking for new site for day camp

MANATEE -- YMCA officials are negotiating with local churches to find a site for their summer day camp programs this year after moving out of their county-owned building last fall.

“I’m negotiating with a couple of churches in that same area, one at which we’re pretty confident we’ll be offering summer camp services like we always have,” said Dan Yonko, YMCA senior executive director for Manatee County.

Last year, the south county Y branch, 3675 53rd Ave. E., served 125 children a day from kindergarten through fifth grade, he said, in addition to those who attended middle school camps at other locations.

Meanwhile, county recreation officials earlier this month recommended demolition of the 43-year-old former Y building.

The parks and recreation staff said demolition of the main building and a nearby teen center would cost about $20,000. Manatee County would take over operation of the site’s pool, officials said.

The YMCA is hoping to pay a rental fee to the county to use the pool this summer, Yonko said.

Complaining of poor maintenance, the YMCA moved out of the facility in September after lease negotiations had dragged on for two years without success.

The Y shifted its south branch indoor recreation programs and staff to Harllee Middle School.

“It’s going well, it’s a beautiful facility, and the staff have been very welcoming to us,” Yonko said of the programs that were transferred to the middle school.

The YMCA renamed its branch “South Manatee Branch” because it wanted to convey the message that the Y was serving the whole community, Yonko said.

The YMCA hopes to eventually build new facilities in Palmetto and perhaps one in south Manatee County, too, he said.

The Y’s summer day camp program, which starts in June, will cost $90 per week per child for members and $105 per week for nonmembers, Yonko said.

The Y also will again offer free introductory swim lessons to kids 3-10 under its “Splash” program, he said.

Sports camps, which usually cost about $10 more per camper, this year will provide specialized instruction in a new sport -- lacrosse -- as well other games like soccer and baseball, he said.

For information, go to the YMCA website at

Sara Kennedy, Herald reporter, can be reached at (941) 745-7031.