I've heard the CYO gym is for sale. What about the CYO leagues?
It has been a year of change for the Catholic Youth Organization.
Monsignor Mike Kuse, pastor of Blessed Sacrament Parish, said "it was necessary" six months ago to form a new CYO board and select a new executive director after the previous board and director Jeff Wellman were "relieved of their responsibility."
Wellman had been the director since July 1998.
The new board has two people from each of Quincy's four Catholic parishes on the board, and the four pastors of the parishes are ex-officio members. Matt Bozarth was selected as president.
Kuse said that when the new board first met, it learned the CYO had financial concerns that it could not meet. The board recently decided to sell the gymnasium at Seventh and Broadway that was built in 1953.
Kuse said Rick Davis of Davis and Associates is serving as the Realtor for the CYO. The asking price is $295,000, according to an Aug. 11 post on the Davis and Associates Facebook page.
"We have some people interested in it," Kuse said. "The building needs some updating, but we are in bankruptcy, and we don't have the funds to update it."
Kuse says the building needs a new roof, and asbestos needs to be removed.
"It is not safe for us to use it," he said. "The damage is serious."
Kuse said he believes the cost to make the necessary repairs would exceed $500,000.
"This is someone throwing a pie in your face, and you just stand there," he said. "I had no idea six months ago that we'd be where we are today."
The CYO also owns 8.26 acres of property on Einhaus Lane that is the site of Harry Phillips Field, a softball facility. Asked about the future of that property, Kuse said, "A decision has not been made, but (selling it is) a possibility."
The activities offered by the CYO now will be moved into the gymnasiums of the four grade schools. Most of the activities are offered for children in grades 1-4, though adult volleyball has been offered as well.
However, Kuse says those programs won't continue if they don't have the coaches.
"I'm not sure how that's going to work out yet," he said.
Students in grades 5-6 have participated in the ACES (Association of Catholic Education Schools) programs, while students in grades 7-8 play on teams that are members of the Illinois Elementary School Association.
No one has been named as a replacement for Wellman. Kristy Stegeman handles scheduling and coordination for the IESA teams.
Kuse said the CYO building was a popular hangout when he was attending St. Boniface School in the 1950s.
"Many Catholics in town are probably saying, ‘I remember having a dance at the CYO gym, I remember this, I remember that,'" he said. "We used it for physical education classes and plays. It was used around the clock, seven days a week. When the CYO was built, none of the (grade) schools had a gym.
"When Notre Dame moved to 10th and Jackson, that changed everything."
Kuse said the availability of gymnasiums at the Kroc Center and the YMCA, as well as improved baseball facilities at the YMCA and the Quincy Park District, have lessened the need for the CYO facilities.
"We don't have the funds to match that for our own kids," he said. "We have been blessed for 60 years, and now that structure is no longer necessary.
"Hopefully (selling the CYO) will give us a new energy."
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