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Residents Rally For Catalpa Y Rescue – QNS.com

Residents Rally For Catalpa Y Rescue

Ridgewood residents are not taking the Catalpa Y closing sitting down. On May 9, more than 300 Queens locals attended a rally organized by the Save the Catalpa YMCA committee to show support for the ailing center. Also in attendance were a number of political figures who are following the lead taken by Borough President Helen Marshall at a May 6 meeting which discussed the facility.
"Helen Marshall has made it very clear that she does want to see the YMCA stay there," Chris Landano, a member of the Save the Catalpa YMCA committee, said.
At the rally, Congressman Anthony Wiener told residents that he was prepared to fight to keep the Catalpa Y open.
"In tough times we need the Y more than ever," he said to the crowd. "We are here to say were in this together. We are going to fight to keep the Y here. Were going to fight with our voices. Were going to fight with our checkbooks."
Assemblywoman Catherine Nolan announced a $50,000 commitment in state capital funds for the Catalpa YMCA, but noted that she was "very disappointed" that the Greater YMCA of New York has not chosen to keep the center open.
Efforts of Ridgewood residents finally came to fruition when Paula Gavin, the president of the YMCA of Greater New York said that she would consider keeping the Catalpa Y open for one more year. The only stipulation attached is that the $516,000 debt needed to keep the center open would have to be fully shouldered by private and government donations.
There has been an outpouring of support from local politicians, community leaders and the members of the 104th Precinct, who have used space in the Catalpa Y to host auxiliary training and defense classes. The committee has successfully raised $250,000 in pledges, which will only be collected in the event that the center remains open.
"Were asking people to make pledges toward keeping the center open for two more years. We are working hard night and day to show that people know how important the Y is," said Landano.
Anyone with questions on how they can help save the Catalpa YMCA should email SavecatalpaYMCA@aol.com , or call Nancy Greco, the committee chairperson, at 516-351-4900. Information can also be found at www.savectalpaymca.com .

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