RACINE — The city aims to take over the old YMCA building downtown, after it has been vacant for years.

The city and the Racine YMCA are in talks about the city acquiring the building at 725 Lake Ave.

“I hear from residents often that this building is in poor condition,” Mayor Corey Mason said in a statement. “The city and the YMCA had hoped that a private developer would be able to redevelop the site, but unfortunately that did not materialize.”

The Community Development Authority is holding a public hearing at City Hall on Monday at 6pm in Room 303 for residents to share their opinions.

If the city takes possession of the building, the necessary steps will be taken to begin the demolition process, according to Maxwell Love, the city’s communications specialist.

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After demolition, the city will likely look for a developer for the site, but no concrete plans have been announced yet.

History of the Lakeview YMCA

The YMCA opened its lakefront building in 1960, and closed its doors after nearly 60 years in July 2019.

The building has remained vacant since then and has been the target of forced entry and vandalism.

Shortly after moving out of the Lakeshore location, the YMCA opened a new location at 141 Main Street to maintain the organization’s downtown presence.

In February 2019, the YMCA’s board of directors voted to sell the building to two developers, Cardinal Capital Management and Landquest, to demolish the structure and rebuild the more modern YMCA as part of a mixed-use development that would have included housing.

However, the plans fell through in September 2019, with the developers saying other developers would be better suited to the project.

The property has been for sale ever since, and no further plans for the abandoned building have come to fruition.

Firefighters across the country are concerned that equipment contaminated with the toxic industrial compound PFAS could be one reason for rising cancer rates among their ranks. The layered coats and pants worn by firefighters have become the latest battleground over PFAS, or polyfluorinated substances. The compound is known as forever chemicals due to its strong bond that prevents it from degrading over time. It is found in everything from food packaging to clothing and has been linked to health problems including several types of cancer. The compound is used in firefighting equipment to repel water and other materials when fighting a fire.

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