Realizing that the building was too big for its membership of 1,300, and in need of significant investment, the Board and staff of the Downtown Y wanted to explore various options for a new location.
The Downtown Y has been serving downtown St. Louis for more than 130 years, including 90 years in its location on Locust. The Y worked with The Rome Group to better understand the health, wellness, and social needs of the community and gather more data before making any decisions about its future.
Our team solicited input from Downtown Y members, other Y members, civic and community leaders, people who work in downtown St. Louis, and people who live downtown. We used one-on-one interviews, listening sessions, and surveys, to explore the feasibility of a new downtown facility vs. other downtown facility options, such as reducing services in the current facility, or leaving the downtown market altogether. Through the market study, more than 800 people contributed to our insight and recommendations.
The research revealed that, based on population and employment base, there is a market for the YMCA’s mission in Downtown St. Louis. However, in order to grow its membership and be sustainable, the Downtown Y needed something new. Based on our recommendations, the Board of Directors for the Gateway Region YMCA voted to relocate the current Downtown St. Louis Y to a new location in the downtown central business district.