‘Immediate decisions are on hold’ about Fauntleroy YMCA’s future; January 19 community meeting planned

We’ve been working today on fact-finding regarding rumors about the future of the Fauntleroy YMCA, co-housed for more than a century with the Fauntleroy UCC church at 9140 California SW. We’ve spoken with leadership at both the Y and the church and have now received official statements from both. First, here is what the church is saying:

The YMCA of Greater Seattle very recently informed Fauntleroy Church of budgetary concerns that are affecting its Fauntleroy location.

At the request of the church and with respect to the 100-year partnership of the Y, the church, and the Fauntleroy community, immediate decisions are on hold while discussion is under way about how this partnership might continue.

Senior Minister Leah Atkinson Bilinski noted that, “In the years I have been here, I have witnessed the deep love Fauntleroy residents have for what has so long been the center of community engagement – the Fauntleroy Schoolhouse, Fauntleroy Church, and the Fauntleroy Y. We do not wish to lose the Fauntleroy Y, and from initial conversation, we understand that the Y also does not wish to lose its connection or legacy in this community. As conversation continues, the Y has assured us that it will seek community input. We also plan to do so and have already briefed Fauntleroy Community Association President Mike Dey.”

And here’s the YMCA’s statement:

The Fauntleroy YMCA is open and operating as usual. We appreciate your patience and thoughtful messages.

Right now, we find ourselves at a crossroads with how we use our space at the Fauntleroy YMCA in a fiscally responsible and mission-impactful way – and we need our community’s input and support. We look forward to working with the Fauntleroy church and our community as we explore options. We will not make any hurried final decisions, especially considering our nearly 100-year legacy of serving the Fauntleroy community. We are currently in the process of reaching out to members for their collaboration and support.

January is the kickoff of our annual membership drive, leading into our Annual Fund Drive in February. Now is the perfect time for community to lean in to help revitalize our operations at the Fauntleroy Y. Please encourage your friends to join us on the road to our Annual Fund Drive kick-off as they begin their New Year’s resolution to take care of their health. Get involved with our upcoming fundraising campaign by emailing us at cking@seattleymca.org or by donating today to help us get started!

If you have any other thoughts or ideas, we would love to hear them. Please email us at pr@seattleymca.org.

The Fauntleroy YMCA has long been co-managed with the West Seattle YMCA (WSB sponsor) in The Triangle. According to the Y’s website, the Fauntleroy location is currently open three mornings a week. Along with the Y, the Fauntleroy Church campus is also home to a preschool that is not affiliated with the church or Y.

ADDED 3:55 PM: The YMCA also just announced a community meeting:

We will also host a town hall on January 19 from 4:00 to 6:00 pm at the Fauntleroy Church community gathering hall. We invite you to join us in an open dialogue about the Fauntleroy Y’s future, ask questions, and share your ideas and collaborative concepts for the space and how we can best serve the community sustainably.

36 Replies to "'Immediate decisions are on hold' about Fauntleroy YMCA's future; January 19 community meeting planned"

  • Lisa January 4, 2024 (2:38 pm)

    We’ve had our membership on hold and would immediately return to this location if the hours went back to normal. Living on the border of West Seattle and White Center and not driving makes it too difficult to find time in our schedules to get to the other locations. PLEASE go back to Pre-Covid hours!! We will come!!!

    • Caitlin January 4, 2024 (2:59 pm)

      Agreed. I’ve only been a member since last spring and love this little location, but the limited hours make it nearly impossible to catch them when they’re open.

    • ACG January 4, 2024 (3:30 pm)

      Agreed!  Even if the extended hours aren’t every day, we’d be able to come, too!  I hope it doesn’t close!!

    • Craig Kalkoske January 4, 2024 (3:40 pm)

      Lisa, I am sure you are one of MANY Fauntleroy Y members who put their memberships on hold due to Covid. If you can come to “Open House” at the Y on 1/19 between 4-6 pm and share your experience with everyone, that might help convince the WSY to expand the hours again 

    • WSMom January 4, 2024 (4:01 pm)

      Maybe if the members had come back they would have extended the hours and kept it open??? Instead the members didn’t say anything and waited around and now it is closing.

    • Rachelle January 4, 2024 (6:40 pm)

      💯 to going back if they open up more hours! I’m still employed so need the earlier hours and weekend times!

  • Marty2 January 4, 2024 (3:29 pm)

    The Fauntleroy location has only been open three days a week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday) for three hours per day (9:00AM-Noon) since it reopened after the Covid closure with limited programs.  We have been told they don’t have enough staff to resume full operations.  These reduced hours are preventing a lot of people from using this location, hopefully they can return to a pre-pandemic schedule with more programs.

  • Anw January 4, 2024 (3:46 pm)

    We hope the Fauntleroy Y can stay open and have classes that are outside of the 9-5 working hours. I really miss the Friday morning yoga classes in the chapel with Jim!!

  • Steve January 4, 2024 (3:55 pm)

    Agree with everyone. Been a Fauntleroy member 20+ years. Since the pandemic I’ve had to go to the Y by Alaska simply because a 9 AM opening is a little late. I prefer it and miss it but my schedule makes it very difficult to go with the shorter hours. Hope they get it worked out. Or give me a key. I’m trustworthy. 

  • Sarge January 4, 2024 (3:56 pm)

    I have never been able to fully understand what is offered at this location….  There’s no info specific to this facility on the website (linked above.. it’s all about the one on Snoqualmie).  What is offered at Fauntleroy?  I might be interested in joining if I knew.  If revenue is a problem maybe it’s partially because people don’t know much about this location and why they should support it?

    • Rebecca January 5, 2024 (6:45 am)

      when you go to Y website you can hit all locations and a schedule will pop up.  Or come during thier open hours and they it posted or copies to take. 

  • N January 4, 2024 (4:16 pm)

    Hours are very limited to justify the use of the space.  We are one of the families that didn’t return post covid and while we have thought about it, the much higher monthly membership fee post covid and lack of opportunities for tweens (not old enough to use the workout facilities) has kept us away.  With a new gym available at Westwood at a fraction of the price cost is a consideration not only for the Y’s budget but for residents.  Would be a shame to see it go, but at the same time it’s mostly been gone the past few years. 

  • More tween activities! January 4, 2024 (4:46 pm)

    Agree more stuff for tweens to do (everywhere) would be welcome! Weight training, basketball, rock climbing and hobbies/life skills. Also agree with others re limited info, hours and activities which is why we don’t go to that location. Most of their classes are at weird hours. The Y has gotten expensive which might be why enrollment is down. Still really don’t want this location to close and it seems like customers could return if they ask the community what we need. If all else fails they could offer pickleball (inside!!) and Parks might leave Lincoln Park alone :) The email we received had an email address, I suggest interested people use it and show up at the meeting. 

  • rb January 4, 2024 (6:05 pm)

    We have been a YMCA member for years and kept paying even during Covid. I was hoping that after Covid they would have returned to normal and have classes and activities for adults and youth both on their main campus and here (as it was before). Instead, the Y is only expensive with barely any service. The truth is that the Fauntleroy  location has been “abandoned” by the YMCA years ago.  it’s only open 9 hours a week and little to nothing happens here.  I think they should let this location go and a smaller organization should take it and make it thrive.  It has lots of potential but it needs better management. We left the Y earlier this year because we were tired of waiting for them to invest in program and services. At the time when we left it was mostly a retirement center.  Mostly attended by people in their 70s and their parents. Busier in the mornings and dead by the time Jeopardy was on TV. Let it go and invest the time and energy into bringing life again on your main campus.  These old aficionados will soon pass to better life and then what is going to happen to the main campus? 

    • KEL January 4, 2024 (10:19 pm)


  • Neighbor January 4, 2024 (7:05 pm)

    It is really heartwarming to hear about decision-making that is made with the input of the community and not solely on dollars. Truly refreshing. I live near the Fauntleroy Y but have never patronized it for the same reasons others mention above – lack of accessible info online, very limited hours, and cost. If it all got spiced up a bit and I would totally join. A pickleball court seems like such an obvious way to do this, but really just some fresh life breathed into the place would go so far. Thank you for seeking input and hopefully the blog comments can be reviewed at the meeting since not everyone who has input will realistically be able to prioritize meeting attendance.

  • Mel January 4, 2024 (8:31 pm)

    I put our family membership (West Seattle Y- both locations) on hold in 2023. The cost is getting too high for the value of what they’re providing. Even at the Alaska location, there are very few family/kids events. Years ago there were many opportunities for families to go. The pool has much more limited open swim hours too making it hard to find a time to get the kids there and into the water more often. Disappointed because we loved the Y for years 

  • Mel January 4, 2024 (8:33 pm)

    Adding on to my previous comment- if budget constraints are a factor here, I wish they would close the Fauntleroy Y and enhance the programming at the larger location.

  • Joe January 4, 2024 (8:44 pm)

    I sure hope the rumors about converting it to a homeless shelter are not true. I’m not saying the homeless don’t need help, but you’ve got to know what you’re doing when you’re dealing with chronic drug addiction, mental illness, and other issues. This isn’t something that church volunteers should take on. It would require trained professionals and 24/7 security. It would also need full buy-in from the local neighborhood as they would all be taking on a huge burden. 

    • WSB January 4, 2024 (9:13 pm)

      No, they are not true. I already asked Rev. Atkinson Bilinski in case somebody brought that rumor up here.

    • Dwg January 4, 2024 (9:39 pm)

      NIMBY much?

    • Kersti Muul January 5, 2024 (9:40 am)

      Pure gossip. Parking lot is already under environmental scrutiny…

  • Rhonda January 4, 2024 (11:34 pm)

    There’s always the new Fitness 19 in Westwood Village. They’ve done a very good job on the renovation.

  • molly January 5, 2024 (8:42 am)

    We supported the y with membership during the pandemic. the only reason we dropped out was the reduced hour schedule that did not work with working. It is an important resource in the community and for health. 

  • Judy January 5, 2024 (11:12 am)

    Yet another poor choice of words:  The parking lot is NOT under “environmental scrutiny.”  As has been well publicized, planning has been under way for several years to replace the creek culvert under the parking lot.  The expectation, when done, is that parking will continue to serve all who use the building.

  • dhg January 5, 2024 (1:07 pm)

    The West Seattle Y should hope they don’t get the stepchild treatment from the parent Y as they have treated Fauntleroy.  It has been obvious for years that our space is unwanted, worthy only of castoffs.  For anyone who couldn’t see the writing on the wall, it was made clear when they could only fund 9 hrs a week.  There was a time when it was a busy and thriving gym with many people stretching and lifting weights to the sounds of basketball being played overhead.  That’s all gone and the WS Y thinks they can just move us all to their cold and sterile space next to the bridge. I passionately hate that space, the color, the layout, the numerous tv sets. If they relinquish Fauntleroy then at least there’s a chance it can be run by someone who cares about it.        

    • Sid January 5, 2024 (7:41 pm)

      Agree, they’ve been trying sabotage this place for years.  Covid is just an excuse.  Gotta maximize profits and whatnot

  • Siobhan January 5, 2024 (1:55 pm)

    You should have gone in!  The Fauntleroy Y
    is a treasure and they had wonderful classes before the Covid shutdowns. 
    They had a 6am and 6pm spin class nearly daily.  These classes got me
    enough bike time to complete two full Ironman competitions.  Additionally,
    we had such an amazing group dynamic.  Everyone was welcome, all skills
    and abilities and we tracked our collective miles, eventually going to the
    moon!  We also had bootcamp in the old gym.  Every time I stepped
    into that gym I felt teleported to 1945. 


    Why can’t the Y recover from Covid?


    Firstly, my understanding is both W. Seattle
    and Fauntleroy are now managed by the greater YMCA org of Seattle and they just
    don’t understand how West Seattle works.


    Secondly, Big Brother YMCA, has decreed no more
    volunteer instructors.  All the instructors
    must be employed by the Y.  Well, no
    wonder we can’t get any early morning or even classes.  Half the classes I to attend were led by
    volunteers!  The Y must solve for the
    lack of classes before and after work hours. 


    Let’s save Fauntleroy!

    1. Put
      in Pickleball Courts (both locations)
    2. Re-establish
      Volunteer Instructors
    3. Fix
      the hot tub.
    4. Think
      out of the box…cold water plunges are all the rave.  Think of putting some cold-water tubs in
      the pool area.  Iceland has a
      wonderful program.
    5.  Get more foot traffic with programs – you
      have that wonderful kitchen.  Nutrition
      classes should be taught there.  Whole
      Food Plant Based Classes – “The Y, the newest Blue Zone”
    6. The
      news is filled with how important strength training is…offer more training
      on free weights, designing your own strength training program.
    7. Groups
      – Running, Bootcamp, etc.
    • I agree January 5, 2024 (6:41 pm)

      Agree with all of this!

    • Sue January 6, 2024 (10:45 pm)

      Great ideas!  Save and expand programs and classes at Fauntleroy!  it has a great sense of community!  We all need this!  Fantastic community of seniors!!Please save this amazing community resource! The gym would be great for Pickleball! the Zumba classes that Maria does are like a fun welcoming party!

  • Gatewood Parent January 5, 2024 (11:00 pm)

    WS is desperate for affordable after school child care options. Seems like it would be a great space for kids to play after school.

  • AR January 7, 2024 (11:54 am)

    I agree with the idea of using the gym for pickelball.  It has become a very popular sport.  I see people on outdoor courts playing in the rain.  I would think if the gym was available for PB it would be well used – especially during bad weather and at night.

  • Ann January 8, 2024 (2:45 pm)

    from YMCA’s email to Fauntleroy members:

    For Fauntleroy to have a mission impact and be a financially
    viable location, we estimate that we will need the following: $400k a year in
    recurring funding, 2,000 Annual Memberships, and $200k in funds donated.

    above excerpt from Y’s email suggests, to me, that the expectation of the Y is
    that those who want to see the Fauntleroy Y remain are going to need to “cough

    suggest that expectation needs to be proceeded by the Y’s commitment to: 

    a)     Increase the hours and number of days the
    Fauntleroy Y is open;

    b)     Increase the type of group classes available
    at the Fauntleroy Y; and

    c)      Offer better quality instructors for all the
    group classes.

    expectation that there must be 2000 members leads me to want to know how many
    members there have been each year over the past 10 years.  What was the budget for each of those past 10
    years?  I also wonder what are the operating
    assumptions that require $400,000 + $200,000 per year? 

    of us “leaned in” during the COVID closure and did not stop paying our dues for
    a facility that we could not use. 

    now is the time for the Y to “lean in” and show the community that it really
    wants to keep the Fauntleroy as part of the Y family.  Short hours, few days, few classes, and lower
    quality instructors – why should I make a donation to a program that may not be
    there is three months?  Would the Y
    return all the donations?


    in the meantime, I would suggest the Y might want to survey the community – to
    get a much better understanding of how folks used and would like to use the
    Fauntleroy YMCA.  How better to get
    detailed information.  Here are some
    possible questions.


    Did you use the Fauntleroy YMCA before the COVID


    If so, what activities and or services did you

    (provide a laundry list of options
    here with space for write-ins)


    Have you used the Fauntleroy YMCA since it


    Why or why not?

    (provide a laundry list of options
    here with space for write-ins)


    What could the YMCA of West Seattle do to
    encourage you to again use the Fauntleroy facility?

    lots of space for write-in responses)



    Thank you for listening.

  • Gina January 10, 2024 (10:51 am)

    I miss Tish.

  • Ms. Sparkles January 10, 2024 (12:05 pm)

    We stopped our Y membership and annual donations after the West Seattle Branch remodel (2017?)- it became very clear that I was no longer their target customer when they reduced the size of the women’s locker room to make space for the jungle gym TRX thing.  The TRX thing was admittedly very cool, but not accessible enough to be worth losing much needed locker room space.   It’s unfortunate that decisions are being made that will leave more families searching for better options; I hope you all find something that works for you. 

  • Rebecca January 11, 2024 (7:56 am)

    I certainly hope the Y will keep Fauntleroy open and expanded with hours.  The other concern I have is the route Sound Transit has proposed for the WS link.  It appears that it would impact the WS branch off Snoqulamie St.  Check out the Sound Transit website and proposed route map.  Sound Transit could very well use imminent domain and take land around the site for stations and infastructure.  Is West Seattle going to be left with no “Y” options.  I’d be curious what information the Y has about the proposed route.  And when they were going to communicate to the public about this.  Being they did not inform members about Fauntleroy’s possible closure in a timely fashion. Rebecca

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