Colorado Springs’ Garden Ranch YMCA closing permanently, a casualty of COVID-19 | Colorado Springs News

The Garden Ranch Y in central Colorado Springs is shutting its doors for good, a permanent end to what once was believed would be a brief adjustment because of the coronavirus.

The facility announced what it thought would be a temporary closure in mid-March at the start of the pandemic. But after months of shutdown, the region’s YMCA leadership decided to close it because of the financial burden it posed, YMCA spokeswoman Theresa Johnson said.

“Unfortunately, like many other organizations, we took a hit,” Johnson said.

The Garden Ranch YMCA was in a tough financial spot before the pandemic, struggling with low membership and unable to locate $10-$12 million needed to renovate and upgrade the 38-year-old building.


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Some renovations had been done to the swimming pool last year, Johnson said, but the Y also required complete upgrades to its rooms, restrooms and other amenities.

And with just 970 memberships, the facility was well below the 3,000 typically needed to run a facility of comparable size, Brian Risley, the nonprofit’s metro board chairman, said in a video about the closing.

The COVID-19 shutdown proved to be the breaking point.

To keep other facilities in the region thriving, the closing was the right step for the nonprofit, said YMCA of the Pikes Peak Region President and CEO Boyd Williams.

“This is a difficult decision, but it’s my responsibility as the CEO to ensure the longevity of this association,” Williams said in the video. “Our Y has been through a lot since 1878, and we’re going to continue to serve the needs … but that will come with change.”

The building opened in 1984 and included a swimming pool, racquetball courts and a gymnasium, alongside other typical YMCA features like multipurpose and locker rooms, Johnson said. It also offered classes and was the site of birthday parties, much like other YMCA facilities in the region.

Johnson said she wasn’t sure why membership at the Garden Ranch location had fallen over the years, but speculated the city’s eastward growth may be one reason.

“The middle of town has shifted and we’re moving east,” Johnson said. “There’s a lot of housing around the Garden Ranch facility and not a lot of room for new family growth.”

Williams and Johnson encouraged the Garden Ranch facility’s current members to join other Ys in the area with similar amenities and services, including the Briargate branch.

The Garden Ranch property will be sold and the revenue will be used to support capital improvements at other locations, Johnson said.

Some of the improvements on the organization’s horizon include building a new downtown Y facility at the corner of North Nevada and East Platte avenues that will include multiple stories of affordable housing, in addition to a full recreation center in the bottom of the building.

The Garden Ranch Y will

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James McColley, former summer camp employee at Westfield YMCA, accused of photographing 5 female counselors and volunteers changing in bathroom

A former employee at a Western Massachusetts summer camp was charged last week with secretly recording multiple female staffers while they were changing in a bathroom, according to police.

James McColley, who worked at Camp Shepard at the YMCA of Greater Westfield, has been accused of recording five counselors and volunteers while they were undressing in late July and early August, authorities said.

The victims’ ages ranged from 14 to 22 years old, according to court records from Westfield District Court.

He was arraigned Friday afternoon from jail at the Ludlow House of Correction on 15 charges, including both misdemeanor and felony sexual surveillance, unlawful secret recording, posing a child for sexual photographs and possessing child pornography, officials said.

The 20-year-old Longmeadow man was expected to be released on $10,000 personal surety and is scheduled to return to court for a pretrial hearing in October, Westfield Police Capt. Michael McCabe told MassLive.

Officers investigated a report on Aug. 3 that McColley used his phone to record a camp counselor while she was changing inside a women’s bathroom out of her bathing suit into dry clothes, according to court records.

While changing her clothes, the counselor looked toward the ceiling and saw a cell phone with the camera pointed at her, police said.

McColley had allegedly reached over the wall from the men’s bathroom into the women’s bathroom with the phone in his hand, according to authorities.

On the same day, McColley agreed to speak with Westfield police officers but later called to say he would not be coming, court records said.

Police received a warrant to seize McColley’s iPhone, but the suspect refused to come to the door or to talk with authorities. His mother gave investigators the phone, which was processed a day later by Massachusetts State Police, according to officials.

Through processing the phone and interviewing witnesses and victims, authorities learned McColley had allegedly taken several photographs and videos of five different girls or women in states of undress. Three were older than 18, and two were not, court records said.

The images were taken without the female staffers’ consent in the same bathroom where they expected privacy, police noted.

It was later discovered that McColley searched how to make photo albums password-protected on the iPhone after he was allegedly caught photographing the counselor on Aug. 3, according to authorities.

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