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Waukegan YMCA Closes Its Doors

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This YMCA in Waukegan closed Monday because of budget problems. (CBS)

This YMCA in Waukegan closed Monday because of budget problems. (CBS)

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WAUKEGAN, Ill.  (CBS) — As 2012 comes to an end, so will a 100-year-old institution in Waukegan.

CBS 2’s Chris Martinez reports.

Even at the end, Dave Hall refused to give up.

The retired judge, fighting ALS, has walked a few miles every day hoping to save the YMCA his grandfather helped bring to Waukegan a century ago.

But that best intention just wasn’t enough.

“Unfortunately, at the end of today we have to close,” Anne O’Connell said.

She and nearly 30 other Y workers learned in September that a lack of funding would shut them down. The news came just after they celebrated the building’s centennial.

It’s a letdown, especially hard on the kids. As many as 40 of them are there daily before or after school, most having nowhere else to go.

Employee Devin Johnson is losing his job, but he thinks those kids are losing much more.

“A lot of their routines are gonna change. They might fall victim to some of the troubles and some of the dramas in these streets,” he said.

Fundraising efforts to save the Y brought in nearly $50,000, but the debt that helped shut them down was $6 million. Still, members were hopeful someone might still buy the facility and reopen it as a community center.

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