The economy recently dragged down another institution in Hesperia the YMCA.


"This is not the right time in the economy to start a new YMCA from scratch," said Ken Stein, director of the YMCA of the East Valley.


The YMCA opened the office on I Avenue in 2007 to help explore the possibility of building a $9 million YMCA facility in the Victor Valley. The economic downturn, however, stalled the Y's ability to raise donations for the project.


"We rely on contributions and community support," said Stein, who oversaw the Y's expansion in the Victor Valley. "It takes a while."


Additionally, the county stipulated its contribution must used within four years, and the Y was funding the Hesperia office with the interest earnings from the county financial gift.


"It was clear we couldn't comply with the requirements of the gift," Stein said. "We had a four-year window to perform, and the economy did something we all didn't expect."


As a result, YMCA management decided to close the Hesperia office in January and return the $1.5 million given by the county in 2006, just before the economy went south.


Several years ago high desert residents contacted the Y's national office about expanding into the valley. Stein's facility, which merged with the San Bernardino YMCA in 2001, was contacted and the process was started.


The Y worked with volunteers, performed fundraisers and sponsored programs. Eventually the organization rented the Hesperia office.


"That's normally how a YMCA starts. A sense of community is required."


But time and funds weren't on the Y's side.


"You need to have time to build a relationship. Initially there was a strong amount of interest, but things changed a lot."


Still, Stein appreciates the effort so many people made to get a Victor Valley YMCA off the ground. He also doesn't rule out another attempt in the future.


"Thank you to everybody who tried so hard to make this happen. We share the regret that this couldn't happen at this time."