FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
May 31, 2007
MAYOR BLOOMBERG CUTS RIBBON ON STATEN ISLAND'S GREENBELT RECREATION CENTER
City's Newest Recreation Center Opens Incorporating Landmarked Site's Historic Features
Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg today joined City Council Member James Oddo and Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe to cut the ribbon on the Greenbelt Recreation Center. The $9 million, 18,000 square-foot facility features two basketball courts, two tennis courts, a soccer field, and performance space. This is the first public recreation center built in Staten Island since the Cromwell Center in Tompkinsville opened in the 1930s. The new layout preserves historic features from the 20th Century site. The centerpiece is the Dutch Colonial morgue, which has been reconfigured to serve as recreation, educational, and office space.
"One of the central goals of the PlaNYC agenda is making sure every New Yorker lives within a 10-minute walk of a park or playground," said Mayor Bloomberg. "The Greenbelt Recreation Center, which will significantly add to the recreational opportunities for Staten Island's families, is one example of how we're making that goal a reality."
"Today's ribbon cutting for the new Greenbelt Recreation Center exemplifies Mayor Bloomberg's plan to expand and improve active and passive recreation space throughout the five boroughs," said Commissioner Benepe. "The Mayor is committed to preserving and enlarging Staten Island's parkland, and the Greenbelt Recreation Center is another exciting opportunity for the residents of Staten Island. Not only will the Center help our kids develop lifetime habits of health and fitness, but the adaptive reuse of this historic building underscores our commitment to sustainable development."
Parks & Recreation built the new center around the site of the New York City Farm Colony, an early 20th Century institution used for needy New Yorkers, which was dedicated a City landmark in 1985. In order to maintain the historical significance and architectural texture of the site, the City has "adaptively reused" existing structures to create the new center. For example, a wall dating to 1912 was preserved to enhance the site. The design integrates the surrounding landscape and complements the building's Dutch Colonial style. Extensive landscaping, pathways and a new entry gate at Brielle Avenue provide an attractive surrounding for the new facility.
The 13,000 square foot recreation center includes a weight room, three multipurpose rooms for arts and crafts, dance studios, administrative offices, as well as a locker room and rest rooms. In addition, basketball courts, two tennis courts, a croquet lawn and bocce courts augment the recreational opportunities available to patrons. New landscaping and pathways surround the Recreation Center.
The new center is located just one block from the Greenbelt Nature Center, which opened in June 2004 as a gateway for visitors exploring Staten Island's 2,800-acre Greenbelt. A network of pathways will connect to the Greenbelt Recreation and Nature Center, linking all three facilities within the 2,800-acre Staten Island Greenbelt.
Also on Staten Island, the first piece of the new Fresh Kills Park, four soccer fields at the new Owl Hollow Fields, is currently under construction. When the Fresh Kills site is transformed into one of the City's largest parks, nearly one-third of Staten Island will be parkland. The City also recently completed the $20 million Bloomingdale Park on Staten Island, which contains 15 acres of softball fields, soccer fields, and basketball courts. As part of the PlaNYC initiative to renovate at least one major underdeveloped park in each borough, Staten Island's Ocean Breeze Park will be rebuilt.
Stu Loeser / Jason Post (212) 788-2958
Warner Johnston (Parks)