Hazleton YWCA to close June 30

By Tamara Dunn - [email protected]

The YWCA of Hazleton announced Friday it is closing effective June 30, citing ongoing financial difficulties.

Megan Kennedy, vice president of the YWCA’s board of directors, said the employees were notified Friday of the upcoming closing, and the board had been working for months to avoid making the decision.

“The board of directors is saddened to make this decision, and we recognize how important (the YWCA) is to the Hazleton area,” Kennedy said.

According to its website, the YWCA has served women and girls of the Hazleton area since 1914. Its mission is dedicated to “eliminating racism, empowering women, and promoting peace, justice, freedom and dignity for all.”

Kennedy, who joined the board in January, said that the group explored several options to keep the center open during its financial crisis, including reaching out to community leaders and local foundations for help.

“They were very supportive,” she added.

However, Kennedy said, it became apparent to the board that closing the YWCA was unavoidable. The closing will leave a hole for fitness and recreation in the Hazleton area during the summer, as the Church Street facility has a pool and an indoor basketball court. While there are outdoor public courts for those wanting to shoot hoops and other fitness centers for exercise, there are no public pools in the city, Kennedy said.

Some of the facility’s equipment is leased, and the companies have the option to retrieve them. In the meantime, the board will remain in tact. “We will continue to work on the financial issues we have as a board,” Kennedy said.

The goal is to ultimately reopen the center.

“It’s too early to say that it’s certain to reopen, but it is certainly a goal,” she said.


By Tamara Dunn

[email protected]