Two-for-one comes to Twin Ports' YMCAs
Beginning Jan. 1, members at each of the Twin Ports' YMCAs will be able to use their memberships at either the Duluth or Superior locations. The reciprocity agreement was announced Monday in Duluth and comes after more than 100 years of operating...
Beginning Jan. 1, members at each of the Twin Ports' YMCAs will be able to use their memberships at either the Duluth or Superior locations.
The reciprocity agreement was announced Monday in Duluth and comes after more than 100 years of operating autonomously for both the Duluth Area and Superior Douglas County YMCAs.
Both entities have been in place since the 1800s - starting in 1882 in Duluth and 1888 in Superior. While operating under the YMCA banner, each organization has operated independently under its own management and board of directors, serving the core interests of their own communities.
Jackie Minor, chief executive officer for the Superior YMCA, said progress toward an arrangement began when the two YMCAs stopped focusing on differences in their communities and started talking about commonalities.
"Something that seems so simplistic," Minor said, "seemed a bit complicated to us."
A Hermantown YMCA, which was part of a bonding bill that wasn't passed in the Minnesota Legislature last session, also will be involved in the arrangement when it comes to fruition.
"It's going to be a great benefit," said Chris Francis, CEO of the Duluth YMCA. "All of the facilities will gladly accept members from the other YMCAs."
He said it will be particularly convenient for people who work in Superior and live in Duluth - or vice versa. There will be no changes for members, whose existing access cards will be scanned at the facility they choose to use.
Both Francis and Minor said that reciprocity had been something members have addressed with them in the past. Both organizations will continue to be managed independently and membership prices will not change as a result of the new arrangement.
Francis speculated that with bonding, the Hermantown YMCA - which will be built into the proposed $17 million Essentia Health Regional Wellness Center - would begin construction on the corner of Ugstad and Arrowhead roads this summer.
Ultimately, it will be "three family YMCAs," he said, "for one membership price."
Francis added that the reciprocity arrangements will also extend to Grand Rapids and some Twin Cities YMCAs as well.