Catholic Youth Center in Pittsfield suspends programs, citing deteriorating building


PITTSFIELD -- The Catholic Youth Center (CYC) board of directors voted to suspend programming at the organization's 26 Melville St. home this week, citing concerns over the building's deteriorated condition.

In the announcement posted on Facebook Friday evening, members said efforts to maintain all CYC sports leagues elsewhere in the city were underway.

The Melville Street center housed CYC activities every night of the week during the school year, including basketball, volleyball, cheerleading and lacrosse. Last season, the CYC served more than 900 area youths.

But the 100-plus-year-old building, which is owned by the Roman Catholic Diocese of Springfield, recently received a grim assessment by an architectural consultant sent by the diocese.

"He said he was amazed we were still using the building," said Gail Molari, chairwoman of the CYC board of directors, in an interview Friday night.

In addition to badly needing roof repairs, the building contains asbestos and has been subject to flooding.

"We've held things together with a great deal of support from the community, but at this point it needs an infusion of millions of dollars, and we know of no way to get enough money to address its problems," Molari said.

Members of the New England Council of Carpenters, Local 108, and others have put in "untold hours of unpaid work" on the building, Molari said, and recently refinished the gym floor. But more extensive renovations are needed. The diocese will decide the building's fate, Molari said.

The CYC will continue to operate its offices inside the building for the time being, and all sports sign-ups scheduled inside the building's lobby will still be held there.

Molari said the CYC has resolved to maintain all programming. Its sports leagues play primarily in other gyms in the city -- the CYC's is too small, she said -- and will come to rely more on these and others.

"We already have that kind of model," Molari said. "... I am positive we will undertake every effort to make this work for the kids who want to participate."

To reach Phil Demers:
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On Twitter: @BE_PhilD


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