Mark Gilio says his YMCA buildings are getting broken into and vandalized almost every night, and it's causing him all kinds of grief. He explained, “Over here, you could see, they're going into my walls now. They've completely taken all the wiring out, all the plumbing out. They've torn that elevator completely apart.”
The outer walls of the buildings are no exception. Pointing to graffiti on the wall he said, “See, it says, 'This is what happens when you don't invest in the youth.' They put that there, letting me know that they're here.”
Gilio said he bought the site about a year and a half ago to expand his business located across the street.
“I used to be a member here and I have a lot of ties as well but, I'd like to keep the gymnasium and the building next to it and refurbish it and possibly lease it out in the future,” said Gilio.
He also wants to tear down some of the buildings for more parking space, but preservationists aren't too happy with his plans. They're working to get the buildings historic status. The city's Historic Preservation Commission says the buildings are an important part of Fresno's social history. Some of the first buildings were built in the 1930's. But Gilio doesn't want the honor. He says strict development rules will only make it difficult for him to make use of the site.
“I do not want to get rid of these two buildings right here. I just do not want them made historic because I want to be able to have my options open in the future,” expressed Gilio.
The Fresno City Council will decide whether to put the downtown buildings on the local register of historic resources, next Thursday.
The buildings are located at the corner of Tuolumne and N Streets in Downtown Fresno. The YMCA closed its doors back in 2009.