It was 1941 when the YMCA was founded in Lake Charles and for more than fifty years the fitness center operated on Kirby Street downtown. But thanks to Hurricane Rita the downtown Y closed and it looks like it won't re-open at the same location.
Since 1948, the YMCA on Kirby was a well loved center of activity downtown. The building on Kirby opened in 1956. Around lunchtime, the Y became a gathering place for many business and civic leaders including Don Hampton."You always had something you wanted to talk about with someone else, whether it's sports or fishing."
No doubt, a great many business deals were worked out right here in the steam room or the weight room. But then, along came Rita. For months it was hoped insurance proceeds would provide for repairs needed so the Y could reopen. Meanwhile, the Y Express on Ryan Street opened, to serve in the interim--- but finally, an impasse was reached and Executive Director Daryl Lawson says it's now in the courts. "They excluded the whole back side of the building where the swimming pool is, that has four foot cracks up the wall and they excluded it based on age, which wasn't in the policy. We've had to go to litigation."
So, they're selling the land. The asking price: $550.000. The building comes with it. And one day, after the litigation is resolved, Lawson says they hope to rebuild, though probably south of town. "We're hoping for a settlement through the insurance company which would allow us to build a new, somewhere around a 20,000 square foot facility with an indoor swimming pool and some of the amenities we had downtown again."