The Jewish Community Centers of Greater Boston, which maintains two major health club/community center facilities, in Newton and Stoughton, is closing the Stoughton facility, called the Striar Jewish Community Center, and "transitioning" the premises to the YMCA. The JCC said in a statement today that people who use the JCC health club will automatically be transferred to the Y, and that the JCC will offer Jewish programs at existing Jewish sites on the South Shore. Here is the news release:
"The Jewish Community Centers of Greater Boston (JCC) and the Old Colony YMCA today announced that the JCC will transition services and programming out of Striar JCC and to a new community-based service model. The Old Colony YMCA will acquire the Center and continue to provide fitness, aquatics and family-based services, beginning on March 1, 2009.
Demographic shifts in the South Area Jewish population have reduced the ability of a central facility in Stoughton to serve an increasingly dispersed Jewish community. The JCC has responded to the changing demographics of the South Area Jewish community by creating a new service model that will utilize other South Area community and Jewish venues to provide high quality programming and compelling services to reach even more of the South Area Jewish community.
Mark Sokoll, President and CEO of JCCGB said, “Change often brings opportunity, and our future plans are exciting and build upon successes we have already had in other communities. As we look to the future, the JCC is creating innovative new services and compelling programming for the next generations of Greater Boston Jews, in whatever communities they may live and however they wish to participate. We remain committed to providing exceptional Jewish programming, through partnerships with other local venues, which will allow us to be more convenient to emerging Jewish communities, more responsive to the changing needs of Jewish families, and more collaborative with Jewish communal partners.”
Vincent Marturano, President and CEO of the Old Colony YMCA said, “We are excited about the opportunity to expand the Y’s services and programming in Stoughton. We share a common commitment with the JCC to serve the needs of the community. And we look forward to working with the JCC and the community through this transition period. I extend my personal welcome to the members and am confident that we will continue and build upon the great tradition of service that they have come to expect.”
Memberships will be seamlessly converted into an Old Colony YMCA membership, which will not only cover services at the Stoughton location, but will also allow members to take advantage of services and programs offered at each of the Old Colony YMCA branches. Old Colony YMCA staff will be available on-site to provide information and answer any questions members have during several scheduled open house events over the next few weeks.
The JCC-run preschool and afterschool programs will continue at Striar until June 2009; thereafter the preschool will move to a new location in the community.
For additional information on program transitions, membership services and Open House events, please visit www.striarjcc.org."
UPDATE: Here's the story that ran in Tuesday's paper.
UPDATE: Several readers have expressed concern about the way the news was communicated by the JCC. Just to be clear -- I got wind of the news from an anonymous tipster, called to ask about it, and apparently another news outlet heard about it as well. When it became clear that the news was leaking out, the JCC decided to issue a press release. Here's their official explanation: "The JCC had every intention of informing members before speaking to the press, unfortunately the media learned about the transition process before that was able to happen. Letters and programming information were already on the way to members, but had not reached them before this story ran. All of the information that members will receive shortly is also available on the Striar website at www.striarjcc.org."
(Photo, by Jonathan Wiggs of the Globe staff, shows a swim lesson at the Striar JCC in 2000.)