Our YMCA has not had a good fall. First came Tropical Storm Irene, then Tropical Storm Lee, and the flood I have written so much about.
Ironically, the flood came about 10 days after an annual pool closing where the pool was drained, cleaned, and refilled. Other cleaning took place during this "time off". All for naught.
The fact that they reopened so soon was next to miraculous. Many people depend on our Y. It is more than a place of exercise.
Of course, it wasn't the Y we remembered. The furniture was gone. The lockers in the locker room were gone. The carpeting was gone. The floor tile was gone. The drinking fountains were gone. But the people were there, even if the front desk was operating off of some card tables.
Eventually, some of the comforts of home crept back. A bookcase reappeared, with books members discarded (for another member to take and enjoy.) A coffeemaker was set up. New exercise equipment arrived. Just last week there was fresh paint. Signs sprung up asking us to "pardon our experience." (You know things are improving when a flooded facility in a flooded neighborhood asks you to pardon their appearance!) A rumor circulated that the insurance settlement had been delayed, which is why we still didn't have lockers, floor tile or carpeting - or drinking fountains. In retrospect, that may have been a good thing.
On Saturday we could have lost the Y itself. The Y that survived natural disaster could have been done in by a 2 alarm fire in the gym. It was put out quickly but not before substantial smoke damage. Estimated opening date right now is November 2. Quoting the website:
"With all the recent devastation felt throughout our area of late, we are determined to continue to be there for our community."
One thing the Y does for our community is sponsor an annual Thanksgiving dinner, usually earlier in November, free and open to the public. Due to the fire, the dinner has been moved to a church a couple of miles away.
Where will this money come from? I've informally heard that the first cleanup cost over a million dollars. How will the Y ever pay for this and still continue to carry on their mission? I asked my neighbor, manning the front card table desk that first night they were open again in September, and she didn't know.
Through the flood and the flames, will they be able to carry on?