Rock and Roll Museum, Historic YMCA Have Life

An anonymous donor steps in with a big check to save the building and help a group in its quest to transform the building into a rock music museum.

A "white knight" has breathed life into the Historic YMCA, in the form of a $20,000 check.

The money from an anonymous donor arrives a day before the deposit deadline for Tom Nestor and Nofoes Media Group. 

"God and angels do exist," Nestor wrote. "And we live to fight another day to Save The Historic YMCA."

In hopes to turn the downtown historic YMCA building into the St. Petersburg Rock and Roll museum, Nestor and Co. announced fundraising plans in late October

The goal was to raise $20,000 by the end of the day on Nov. 15. After that, a monthly payment of $8,000 is due.

A closing date is set for June 2013. The group's aim is to raise $1.4 million by that date. 

Goal No. 1 is complete.

Early Tuesday morning, Nestor confirmed to Patch that one day before the deadline someone wrote the group a $20,000 check.

Nestor said the person wished to remain anonymous and that they and the Historic YMCA are not out of the woods yet. 

"If we do not return these moneys on time the contract for the property will go to this lender," Nestor said. "But we live to fight another day and at least we have at least 30 more days to breath a little and connect with all the people who have come forth offering their support."

Should Nestor not be able to meet the payments, the Historic YMCA faces demolition from a bank seeking to build at that location. 

According to Peter Belmont, president of St. Petersburg Preservation, if Nestor is not successful the community will still fight to save the building. For St. Petersburg Preservation, its first hurdle was overcome this week as well. 

A planned demolition hearing of the Historic YMCA has been moved from Nov. 16 to Dec. 14 at the request of the bank looking to demo it. The demo application was set to be reviewed by the Community Preservation Commission. 

Belmont said city staff recommended the denial of the application before the bank asked to move the hearing. He told Patch Wednesday that if the community speaks up, St. Pete could save the building. 

"We encourage people to continue to make their feelings about the building known," Belmont said. "Make sure the city knows that there is an interest out there. We have some confidence that people will continue to make those feelings know and then city council wont allow the demolition to occur."

Nestor hopes this first $20,000 step will revive a historic piece of St. Petersburg, which has been vacant for more than a decade. In the museum proposal Nestor sent to city council, he said the mission is to turn the downtown YMCA into a community-gathering place celebrating the area's music and culture.

"To preserve, archive, and honor the rich Music & Film History and Famous Pop Culture that has enriched “The Sunshine City” and Tampa Bay Area over the past century, plus assist promoting, producing and progressing the current local creative music & film community by converting The Historic YMCA Building into a dynamic Interactive Museum, Concert & Special Event Venue, Grand Multi-Media/Cultural Center."  

Gwen Thomas November 15, 2012 at 06:44 PM
Perhaps Patch could send a link in the next update about the YMCA to voice our concerns. Many readers have just enough time to scan these articles-a link could help. Meanwhile, are there any online petition groups involved in historic preservation?
Linda Hersey November 15, 2012 at 07:03 PM
Hi Gwen: The St. Pete Preservation site is one place to start. The site has more detailed info on the plan and a slide show. http://stpetepreservation.org/?doing_wp_cron=1353006119.4453980922698974609375
Amos Miers November 15, 2012 at 08:55 PM
Gwen, There is an online petition here: http://signon.org/sign/save-the-historic-ymca And more about the details of the effort and groups involved here: http://stpete.patch.com/blog_posts/can-we-really-save-the-historic-ymca
Gwen Thomas November 15, 2012 at 09:45 PM
Thanks, Amos! Just signed and posted it to facebook.
Gwen Thomas November 15, 2012 at 09:48 PM
Thanks, Linda- Just scrolled up and checked out the preservation site too.


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