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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
PR- 045-05
February 3, 2005

MAYOR BLOOMBERG BREAKS GROUND ON NEW BEDFORD-STUYVESANT YMCA

State-of-the-Art Facility to Replace 100-Year Old Building; Department of Education To Renovate Bedford Academy

Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and YMCA of Greater New York President & CEO Jack Lund today presided over the groundbreaking for the new Bedford-Stuyvesant YMCA, a facility that has been a beacon to the surrounding community for more than 100 years. The City has committed $1.5 million in funds for the expansion of the existing 41,000 square-foot facility.  This will include a new 19,000 square-foot state-of-the-art main building, and will allow the YMCA to nearly double the number of youth served annually to 13,000 and the number of adults served from 2,500 to 4,000.  Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz, Councilmember Albert Vann, Capital Campaign Chairman for the Bedford-Stuyvesant YMCA Alan Fishman, Bedford-Stuyvesant YMCA Executive Director John Rappaport, Taylor Young of the YMCA’s after-school program, and Capri Sansbury and 230 of her fellow students from the Bedford Academy High School attended the event at the Bedford YMCA Activity Center.

“Our investment in the new ‘Y’ is a key part of our effort ensuring that all New Yorkers enjoy what our City of opportunity has to offer, and a key element of our economic development strategy to make all our communities more livable so that people want to invest here,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “With the current facility badly needing replacement, and with nearly 35% of the population of Bedford-Stuyvesant under the age of 19, it will make a tremendous difference in the community. And starting in September, the adjoining building will also be home to the Bedford Academy High School.  This is a perfect example of how we’re creatively and aggressively finding homes for our new small secondary schools and this partnership will help us to meet our target of creating 200 of these schools by 2007.”

Plans call for the construction of a new 19,000 square-foot YMCA at the corner of Bedford Avenue and Monroe Street, the demolition of two existing structures, and the upgrading of the adjacent YMCA Youth Activity Center on Monroe Street.  Donald Blair Architects designed the project, slated for completion by the end of 2005.  The construction and renovation are expected to cost approximately $8 million and includes the creation of three new community meeting and multipurpose rooms; space to expand the YMCA’s successful after-school programming; a new fitness facility; and new locker rooms. The additional space will allow for a much-expanded teen center, plus added space for health services.

As part of the overall site development, the Department of Education is also renovating the existing Technical School building, adjacent to the main YMCA building, to create a permanent home for Bedford Academy High School. As part of a partnership with the YMCA, the 350 Academy students will receive a free YMCA membership allowing them access to all available classes and services at the new facility.  The Bedford Academy HS is part of the Bloomberg Administration’s initiative to create 200 small schools by 2007.  Starting this September, the total new schools created will be 157.  DOE has created small schools throughout the City in newly constructed or leased buildings, converted space in currently underutilized school buildings and in existing high school campuses. 

“The new Bedford YMCA is a centerpiece of our capital expansion plans. Through our capital redevelopment program we are expanding both our facilities and our capacity for youth programs, making the YMCA accessible to more people than ever,” said YMCA of Greater New York President & CEO Jack Lund. “By the year 2010, we hope to more than double the number of New Yorkers served annually to 750,000. The Bedford project is vital to the YMCA’s city-wide efforts and to the future of the community it serves.  On behalf of the hundreds of thousands of young people and families we serve every year, I would like to thank Mayor Bloomberg for his continued and unwavering support of the YMCA.  With strong partners like the City of New York and all of the government officials and community leaders here today, we will continue to build strong kids, strong families and strong communities.”

“The Bedford-Stuyvesant YMCA is a pillar of our community – giving Brooklyn’s families support for over 100 years,” said Brooklyn Borough President Marty Markowitz. “Keeping our children busy with after-school activities builds character and self-esteem and keeps young Brooklynites on the path to success.” 

“I began providing support for the Bedford YMCA many years ago when I served in the New York State Assembly, because I believe in their mission,” said Councilmember Albert Vann. “I continue to bring financial support to the ‘Y’ because the respective leaders of the Bedford YMCA have improved and expanded the programs and services being offered, have developed new programs that are more relevant to the people, and thereby, have greatly increased the membership and participation from the community.”

“The Bedford-Stuyvesant YMCA is a vital part of the community,” said Alan H. Fishman, President & CEO of Independence Community Bank and Chair of the Bedford YMCA ‘Capital Campaign for Kids.’ “Its educational and recreation programs have helped open doors to success and achievement for Brooklyn youngsters for 100 years. I am proud to have led this capital campaign to create new and expanded facilities ensure that new generations of families and children will have the same opportunity to succeed.”

“The Bedford-Stuyvesant YMCA has been a rock of support for this community,” said John Rappaport, executive director of the Bedford-Stuyvesant YMCA. “With this exciting transformation, we will proudly see this ‘rock’ polished into a neighborhood jewel.”

During the announcement, the Mayor and Mr. Lund revealed the contents of a time capsule discovered during demolition of the original building. Among the items found were a program from 1905 cornerstone laying, a Bible, 100-year-old local press clippings, turn of the century YMCA literature, three old pennies, a list of Board members and donors dating back to the 1900’s, and floor plans for current building. 

The YMCA of Greater New York is a community service organization that promotes positive values through programs that build spirit, mind and body, welcoming all people with a focus on youth. 

It is the largest youth-serving organization in New York City, and the second oldest YMCA in the United States.  In its 152-year history, the YMCA of Greater New York has grown tremendously to encompass 19 YMCA branches, nearly 200 program sites throughout the five boroughs, and three camps upstate.  We serve more than 350,000 New Yorkers of all ages each year, including 165,000 children in a variety of educational, social, health and wellness, as well as recreational and child development programs, each of which reinforce the YMCA values of respect, responsibility, honesty and caring.







MEDIA CONTACT:


Edward Skyler/Jennifer Falk   (212) 788-2958



GENERAL CONTACT:

Cecily Traynor (for the YMCA)   (212) 575-4545


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