A committee of YMCA and Shaw neighborhood leaders pledged yesterday to announce within 75 days a plan to reopen the historic Anthony Bowen YMCA, the 71-year-old facility that has been the center of a controversy since the YMCA closed it for safety reasons 13 months ago.
"We felt obligated to meet publicly because of a public perception of inactivity," said Robert Robinson, an aide to Mayor Marion Barry, who appointed the committee last September.
Committee members said Bowen would be reopened as a multi-purpose facility serving youth, the elderly, and others in the inner-city neighborhood, while also preserving its historic significance as a landmark in the black community.
A kick-off campaign to raise approximately $100,000 to $200,000 will begin possibly as early as April, the committee members said. Mayor Barry had pledged to start the fund drive last July.
Total cost of restoring the building at 1816 12th St. NW is estimated at $1 million to $2 million.
Kent Cushenberry, chairman of the Metropolitan Washington YMCA, and Ibrahim Mumin, chairman of the Shaw Ad Hoc Committee to Save Bowen--groups which have been at odds--both said they are optimistic their plan will lead to the reopening of the facility.
"We feel we are resolving a problem which has, we all acknowledge, been with us far too long," the committee said in a statement.