Last updated: August 24. 2013 10:25AM - 74 Views

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LIMA — Wine stems for a quarter apiece. Christmas decorations and children’s Bibles for not much more than that. A clothes washer and dryer, coffee makers, and a multitude of clothing, toys, kitchenware, tables, desks and chairs.

All are lined up and priced for rapid sale today inside the Lima YWCA gymnasium.

Today’s YWCA moving sale opens at 8 a.m. and closes at 2 p.m. The merchandise, accumulated over 60 years at the stately Market Street mansion, includes potential treasures for just about every taste.

And sold or not, all of it will be gone tomorrow. There won’t be any room for clutter when a leaner, refocused YWCA moves next week to its new home, the third floor of the Artspace/Lima building on Town Square.

“We’re not taking any of it,” YWCA Director Jennifer Lawson declared Friday as she gazed at the rows of tables stacked with moving-sale items.

The agency also will be starting out financially solvent, thanks to the pending sale of the mansion it has occupied since 1948. Lawson wouldn’t identify the buyer Friday but said an announcement was likely soon.

The nonprofit’s board of directors voted in February to sell the property, saying they no longer could afford the cost of maintaining 30,000 square feet of floor space. The board decided in 2008 to close its pool, fitness center and child care program, stirring an outcry among the agency’s supporters and some community leaders.

It was a sudden reaction to a condition that had been developing for decades.

While packing up for next week’s move, Lawson said, she came across meeting minutes from as far back as 1981 that made mention of the high cost of occupying the big building.

“Even then, some board members recommended selling it,” she said. “But what did we do instead? We added on.”

Lawson said a consultant’s study commissioned in 2007 made the same conclusion: Downsize the agency’s home. 

The public uproar eventually subsided, and with it a sense of grief for a lost heritage the YWCA mansion came to represent.

“That’s behind us now,” Lawson said. “I’m looking forward to a fresh start.

The lease agreement with Artspace/Lima benefits everyone, Lawson said: the YWCA is out from under the burden of a big property to maintain; and Artspace Lima gets rental income. She hopes to explore collaborative projects with Artspace — an exhibit focused on women artists, perhaps, or a Back History Month display.

The slimmed-down YWCA is focused on its core mission: elminating racism and empowering women, Lawson said. Key programs that will continue include the YWCA Teen Pregnancy Prevention Program; Diverse Innovative Visionary Achievers (DIVA), Partnership for Violence Free Families, a widow support group and a racial justice program. The activities can be done off-site in schools, churches  and other public locations.

The YWCA also administers the Child/Adult Care Food Care program that funnels $300,000 in federal funding to area day care programs.

Today’s moving sale includes a few items of interest and value to commercial food vendors. A top-of-the-line popcorn machine already has attracted a $700 bid, Lawson said, and a hot-dog roller has a bid for $100.

Lawson said she wanted to thank her board members as well as representatives of the United Way of Greater Lima, who were especially helpful during the YWCA’s transition.

Exercise equipment from the fitness center and the day care items were sold at auction in the fall. Many items from the swimming pool were returned to the area schools that originally provided them.


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