I am a long-time user of the Nuuanu YMCA. It is in a convenient location for which I use the cardio and weight equipment. I also LOVE the lanai (Commons Area) with tables where I could sit down, chill & read before & after I do my exercises. It is the lanai that is the reason why I prefer Nuuanu YMCA over other fitness facilities that don't have anything like it!
However, I do recognize changes needed to be made to the facility.
The current facility for the Nuuanu YMCA was built in 1963. This was decades before the ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) became law.
To enter the facility, you have to walk up some stairs. Yes, there's a wheelchair lift (which goes over the stairways), but it's still inaccessible for people who rely on walkers as well as parents who use strollers. Ramps would be way more convenient than wheelchair lifts.
After you enter, if you want to use the locker room, you now have to walk down more stairs. Again, inaccessible for those with wheelchairs, walkers and more.
And then to use the gym or weight-training area, guess what? More stairs.
So most definitely, the facility could use some serious renovations.
But there are reasons to renovate besides ADA issues.
The facility has 2 locker rooms for men (one "Aloha locker room" for males who want to pay more for long-term lockers, and another one for males who want to pay less but will have to clear their lockers before the facility closes for the day) and 1 locker room for women.
So, 2 locker rooms for men, 1 locker room for women. Obviously a sexist facility. This issue troubled me, even though I'm in the privileged gender!
Yes, I know it's the YMCA (Young Men's Christian Association) with the word "men" in the name, but let's be real, it's currently being used by people who are not young, not men, and not Christian.
The renovation plans for the locker rooms would be 1 for males, 1 for females, and 1 gender-neutral locker rooms. The gender-neutral locker rooms are intended for situations like parents with opposite-gender children (mother & son, father & daughter), but could possibly be used by gender non-binary people too. There are proposed privacy stalls in those locker rooms.
There are more plans but the ADA accessibility and the lockers are the main ones. Some parts of the plans haven't been finalized yet. Renovations are scheduled to start in the second half of 2020 and to continue until early 2022.
The 7/11/2019 meeting started out with the administration talking about the plans to renovate and how they're going to fund it.
Then it was Q&A time, usually the most entertaining part of any meetings.
The first person from the audience to talk was former Hawaii governor Neil Abercrombie. He's a long-time user of the Nuuanu YMCA. He's not an administrator nor an employee of the YMCA. However, the way he acted shows that he still hasn't adjusted well to life after political office.
He kept ranting on and on as if there was nobody else in the audience who was waiting for their turn to speak. When others had their turn to talk, Neil Abercrombie was interrupting them. YMCA admin reminded him that they didn't interrupt him and that he should show the same courtesy. He accused them of lecturing him. It's this kind of nonsense that led him to lose to David Ige back in 2014. Even though Ige isn't known to be the best communicator, at least he knows when to shut up and give others the chance to talk!
If you're going to go to community meetings, you should have the common courtesy and act as if you have limited time to say your piece. Other people there have their concerns too, and they're not going to wait hours until you're done.
You may want to vent about 14 different things related to what the meeting is about, but remember, you're not the only one at the meeting. It's best to just narrow down what you want to express to 1 or 2 major points and leave it at that. Those 1 or 2 major points could focus on what nobody else has mentioned yet, or to back up or object to a major point already expressed.
One woman left early because she had to pick up her children. Others might have to leave early for other obligations. They lost an opportunity to vent their concerns because one fool wants to monopolize the Q&A session.
As for me, when it was my turn to talk, I praised the plans to make the YMCA ADA accessible, to make locker rooms more gender-equal and then I express my concerns about the plans for the Commons Area (also called "the lanai"). This is the area with tables were people can sit, eat, wait or chill. There were plans to make the Commons indoor with AC. I express that I prefer the Commons Area to have fresh air like it is now.
That's it! That's all I said. I had other ideas in my brain, but because I have this thing called "common courtesy", I limited what I expressed so that others have time to express their concerns.
Other concerns expressed by others include
- proposals to remove the racquetball courts (obviously a sore point for those who use it)
- better ventilation for the locker rooms
- the costs and will it increase membership fees
- are we able to use other YMCA location when the Nuuanu YMCA is being renovated? (yes)
- why change anything at all? (the guy who expressed that said that climbing those stairs don't bother him. He doesn't get that one day he could become disabled and by then, he would be grateful for ADA accessible facilities)
- "why wasn't the members asked for feedback before you come up with renovation plans?" (actually, I completed MULTIPLE online surveys offered by the YMCA over the years, plus you could always write them a letter if you don't have email. All those surveys sure inspired the administration to start renovation plans).