The New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) formally opened its new community center at Polo Grounds in Harlem with a ribbon-cutting ceremony on Friday, March 2, 2012. NYCHA Chairman John B. Rhea and Department of Youth and Community Development (DYCD) Commissioner Jeanne B. Mullgrav were joined by New York State Senator Bill Perkins and New York State Assemblyman Herman D. Farrell, among other special guests for the formal opening of the Center.
“NYCHA is proud to inaugurate this is a state-of-the art facility that will enhance the quality of life or our residents and youth in the Polo Grounds and surrounding community,” said NYCHA Chairman John B. Rhea. “I would like to thank our partners at DYCD and The Children’s Village for joining us in our efforts to extend critically-needed community services.”
Among the highlights of the new center are a gymnasium and multipurpose room, a performance stage, a game room, a video room with a sound booth, an arts and crafts room with a kiln, and a commercial kitchen to be used for a variety of community programs. The 23,000 square foot facility built at a cost of $13 million includes state-of-the-art features.
“I am delighted to see the doors open at the new Polo Grounds Community Center” said DYCD Commissioner Jeanne B. Mullgrav. “They are a great reminder of how successful our Cornerstone Initiative has been in opening doors for young people and adults -- exposing them to academic and career support, recreational opportunities, technology, and a wealth of other resources. This new center will help us to build on that success and offer even more to the community.”
Through DYCD’s Cornerstone Initiative in partnership with non-profit organization The Children’s Village, the Community Center will offer comprehensive educational and recreational services to the residents of NYCHA developments, including Polo Grounds, Harlem River Houses and Rangel Houses, as well as the surrounding Harlem Community. The Children’s Village provides after-school programming such as homework help, technology workshops, hip-hop dance, step, yoga, fitness classes, boxing and boys and girls clubs for children ages five (5) through 12 and teens ages 13 through 21.
“I want to thank the children and families of the Polo Grounds for allowing us to be a part of your lives,” said Jeremy Kohomban, President and CEO of The Children’s Village. “I am inspired by your commitment to building a strong community for your families. Like many of you, I too am a father and I know that we all want the same things for our children. We want them to be educated, successful, safe and happy in their lives.”
The new, more spacious center will enable The Children’s Village to provide culinary, fitness and music recording programs for community youth, as well. They will also offer supportive programming for families, including community bingo and family game nights.