CITY HALL, NY — Today, Council Member Farah N. Louis (D-BROOKLYN) joined Mayor Bill de Blasio and Assembly Member Rodneyse Bichotte to announce that a new recreation center will be built at Nostrand Playground in the East Flatbush section of Brooklyn.

The amenities will include an indoor pool and kitchen for cooking classes, using capital funding shifted from the NYPD to Parks in the Fiscal Year 2021 Adopted Budget. Additionally, the new recreation center will also include a two-lane painted track, and will host fitness, youth and senior programming.

The Center will be created using the design-build method of construction management, which the City received broad authorization from Albany for in December 2019. Design-build brings designers and contractors together as a team at the beginning of a project leading to greater cooperation and innovation, and is known to reduce the timelines of major projects by up to 18 months.

“Our recreation centers are the lifeblood of our communities, providing an engaging and supportive environment for all New Yorkers,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. The new Nostrand Playground in Flatbush will be a safe haven for Central Brooklynites, building on our commitment to create a fairer and safer city for all as we emerge from the COVID-19 crisis.

“Our youth, families, and seniors have waited with much anticipation for a safe space that they can call their own – a hub for learning, recreation, community and civic engagement. This state-of-the-art recreation center will be a beacon of inspiration and innovation, where people of all ages and backgrounds can connect and prosper with expanded access to much-needed resources in a centralized location. Our youth have been met with extraordinary challenges, life-altering and traumatic experiences that no child should ever have to encounter. This center is how we combat gun and gang violence, this center is how we Occupy the Block, this is how we stop the shootings and save lives, by taking this critical step forward. My predecessor, former Council Member and current Public Advocate Jumaane D. Williams brought this idea to life and I am proud to build upon this framework and carry it across the finish line together. I want to thank Mayor de Blasio and NYC Parks Commissioner Silver for working in partnership with my office and the residents of District 45 to formally announce a new community recreation center at Nostrand Playground in East Flatbush,” said Council Member Farah N. Louis.  

For years, Council Member Louis has advocated alongside the residents of this community for a recreation center that would bridge the gaps in opportunity, information, and technology. She was born and raised in this community of immigrant and middle-class families who have struggled to provide for their households. When the school day ends or closes for winter and spring recess, our youth have nowhere else to go.

“NYC Parks recreation centers are crucial community amenities, providing safe, engaging, and fun activities for all New Yorkers, especially our youth. We are thrilled to add a new recreation center in the heart of Central Brooklyn at Nostrand Playground in Flatbush,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP. “Thanks to Mayor Bill de Blasio, Council Member Farah Louis, and all who have advocated for this new amenity, the new recreation center will have a transformative impact on Brooklynites and all New Yorkers for many years to come.”

Without safe spaces, youth become disconnected and are faced with mounting peer pressure. Ultimately, they make poor decisions without weighing out the consequences including a life of crime, violence, incarceration, and in some cases death. As our community, like so many others across this city, grapples with the increase in shootings, this state-of-the-art recreational center will be pivotal in turning the tide. 

For the people of Flatbush, the new community recreation center at the Nostrand Playground will serve as center for economic growth and youth development,” Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte said. “The large Haitian and Caribbean-American community in Brooklyn has been adversely and disproportionately impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, which had highlighted racial disparities in our neighborhood. This investment in our community and in future generations, is a crucial step toward reducing those disparities. I thank Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Silver for seeing this project through.”

When we invest in our youth, we make a lifelong commitment towards the betterment of our community and its future leaders. Every dollar that we put towards counselors, mentors, career development, and employment sends a resounding message that we believe in our youth and their capacity to succeed. 

Our youth have been met with extraordinary challenges, life-altering and traumatic experiences that no child should ever have to encounter. Many have been robbed of their childhood and rushed into adulthood, shouldering a tremendous amount of responsibility to keep their families afloat. 

The impact of this center will go beyond sports and entertainment, by building their character while instilling respect, teamwork, and a deeper sense of community. 

It will become a safe haven where they can freely express themselves – their fears, dreams, and ambition. This will be the place where they can heal and grow as individuals. This is where lives will be transformed, marking a new beginning for the thousands who will walk through those doors each and every day.

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