Word is the Young Women’s Christian Association’s (YWCA) Gallery Place Fitness and Aquatics Center, located at 624 Ninth Street NW, will be shutting its doors on May 19th. The YWCA of the District of Columbia, which has been in operation since 1905, has run into financial troubles.

According to the organization’s Web site, the mission of the YWCA is ” to eliminate racism and empower women and their families with career education and training, health and wellness, and child and youth development programs that foster independence, economic stability, and overall well-being.”

Though its social programs have often been an integral part of our city, the Capital Area YWCA is perhaps best known for supplying a place for District residents to work out on the cheap.

Besides maintaining a gym and pool, the Gallery Place Fitness and Aquatic Center offers classes like boxing, yoga, and karate. Amanda Anderson, who recently joined the Y so she she could get in shape by swimming laps in its four-lane pool, says she’ll miss the casual atmosphere and friendly people there.

“The place seems to be full of real people,” she says.

A just-penned YWCA press release states that ” An increase in fitness competitors and escalating costs related to pool operations were factors in the closure.”

In 2006 the YWCA formed a task force that sought ways of keeping Gallery Place Fitness and Aquatics Center open and sustainable. “Many of the suggestions were implemented including a modest dues increase, but the bottom line remained in the red,” says the press release.

The good news is, the approximately 1,000 members that have made the gym part of their fitness regimen won’t have to pay for May, and the YWCA is planning on hooking these jilted patrons up with “special rates at other fitness centers in the area.”

—Rend Smith