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ST. LOUIS - Two regional YMCA organizations have agreed to merge.

The YMCA of Greater St. Louis and the YMCA of Southwest Illinois will join to become the Gateway Region YMCA. The merger would go into effect March 1, pending approval of regulatory bodies.

This new YMCA will cover St. Louis City and seven Missouri counties including St. Louis, St. Charles, Jefferson, Franklin, Washington, St. Francois and Ste. Genevieve, as well as St. Clair, Madison, Monroe, Randolph, Clinton and Marion counties in southwestern Illinois.

A new board of directors will be chosen from the current boards of both YMCA organizations.

Existing membership costs will remain the same for the time being.

The Gateway Region YMCA will consist of 23 branches and more than 200,000 members, serving nearly 730,000 youth and adults through hundreds of programs and services.

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