By Ana Martinez-Ortiz
Starting next month, the Metropolitan Milwaukee YMCA Parklawn Branch is going to be making some changes. On Dec. 1 it will transition into a program center. The changes are a part of the YMCA’s current strategic plan.
Currently, the Parklawn Branch is accessible to members. However, members will have their memberships changed to a different location. The other options include the Y Downtown, the Northside location or the Rite-Hite one.
Although memberships are being moved, other programming and activities will remain at the Parklawn Branch. For example, active older adult programs, youth sports, the Achievers Program and the Feeding America meal program will continue at Parklawn, according to the press release.
The Milwaukee Metropolitan YMCA is very much a part of the Milwaukee community. It has multiple locations throughout the city and offers a variety of programs and camps. Revitalizing the Parklawn branch is a part of their mission to create a healthy and thriving community.
“We met with stakeholders and Parklawn community members earlier this year to reimagine our space within the community,” said Carrie Wall, the president and chief executive officer.
As part of their new plan, the YMCA is shifting their focus from memberships to one that is more program-centric. This new strategy will be the key to the YMCA’s future in the Parklawn community, Wall added.
The Parklawn branch, while important to the city, also holds national significance. It was built in 1996. At that time, it was the first branch “to be built in a public housing community,” according to the press release. This decision led to a partnership between Milwaukee’s YMCA and the Housing Authority of Milwaukee.
Written in the press release it said, “For 20 years, the Milwaukee Y and Housing Authority of Milwaukee have worked tirelessly in the Parklawn community to positively impact its youth and families.”
Although it is transitioning, Tony Perez, the secretary-executive director of the Housing Authority of Milwaukee, said that they plan to maintain their partnerships and goal of striving towards a better Milwaukee.
“The transition of the Parklawn branch into a program center is a more economically sustainable approach that will continue to offer important programs to the residents of Parklawn and the surrounding community,” said Perez.
As it has done in the past, the YMCA and Housing Authority will continue to work hard to enhance the health and wellbeing of Parklawn residents, he said.
Wall also mentioned that the Parklawn’s new focus on programs may lead to more opportunities in the future.
“We plan to continue exploring partnership opportunities for program center satellite sites like this one throughout the city of Milwaukee,” she said.