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Charles City Family YMCA cautiously reopens

Charles City Family YMCA cautiously reopens
Press photo by John Burbridge
Charles City Family YMCA Executive Director Lance Lasher stands in front of the new paint job adorning the entrance of the building.

By John Burbridges

CHARLES CITY — More than a century old, the Charles City Family YMCA has weathered several natural disasters.

And in some ways it has emerged better than it was before.

The first Charles City YMCA building was built in 1913 — several years before the Spanish Flu Pandemic — and was located at 713 Blunt Street.

The YMCA later moved to the two-story St. Charles Hotel, located at the corner of Wisconsin and Blunt before the F5 tornado of 1968 wrecked the building forcing another move — to 800 Hulin St. — where it has remained ever since.

“We’ve made good use of this building … I see us staying here for a while,” Charles City YMCA Executive Director Lance Lasher said during a past Charles City Press Progress Edition interview. “I think we’re in a good location in the downtown where we can best serve the community.”

The YMCA’s most recent brush with (ongoing) history is the COVID-19 pandemic. In March, the YMCA — like many other organizations and businesses — closed its doors to the public.

“We were closed for 47 days,” Lasher said. “In all my years here [16 as the executive director], we’ve never had anything like this happen.”

Though the YMCA was closed, the building wasn’t always empty.

“During that time, we had five full-time employees including myself working here … doing things that would be hard to do if we still had members coming through the doors,” Lasher said. “We did some painting, resurfaced the floors … made needed repairs.”

They also moved some of the exercise equipment in anticipation of reopening while remaining in compliance with social distances guidelines.

On May 4, the Charles City Family YMCA reopened, but under “Level 4” restrictions as listed at the end of this article.

“Some of our members have come back,” Lasher said. “I’m sure people are still cautious right now. We’ve had to scale down on the ‘social’ part of our mission. This is a place where people normally like to meet and socialize.”

Members may not have to exercise individually, only, as group exercise classes — limited to 10 — are again being offered if interest warrants.

The YMCA’s pool will remain closed until further notice.

Lasher said YMCA summer sport camps are still on hold.

Charles City Family YMCA
800 Hulin Street
LEVEL 4 Reopening:
May 4, 2020 – ?
Building Hours:
(May 4 – May 17)
Monday – Friday, 5 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Saturday — 7 a.m. to 1 p.m.
Sunday — 11 a.m.. to 2 p.m.

* The Charles City Family YMCA is open to members only. No day passes will be sold or honored. Punch Passes will be honored but no new Punch Passes will be sold. New monthly and annual memberships will be sold.
* No nationwide memberships will be honored.
* No one currently in middle school or younger will be allowed into the YMCA without a parent. Youth Memberships may bring in a parent at no cost to the parent, but are limited to use of the gym only.
* Children in middle school and under will also have a 1-hour time limit per day. Time limits may be enforced on other YMCA members if needed as well as a reservation system in areas of the facility.
* Swimming pool will remain closed per the governor’s mandate.
* Locker rooms are closed. The Family Locker Room will be open if needed (bring your own towel). Locker room openings will change if and when the swimming pool opens.
* Saunas are closed.
* Members must clean any exercise machine before and after use.
* A maximum of 10 people per room.
* Members must social distance and stay six feet apart.
* Gym Rules: No pick-up basketball games are allowed; a maximum of eight people per half court. Pickleball is limited to 10 people in the gym. Must bring your own equipment. YMCA will provide pickleball nets.
* Game Room is closed.
* Group exercise classes will be limited — updates will be posted.
* No vending machine usage and no food or beverages are to be brought in the building.
* No Fountain of Youth classes.