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Mayor Adams, DDC, NYC Parks Break Ground on $92 Million Mary Cali Dalton Recreation Center on Staten Island

February 23, 2024

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New 45,000-Square-Foot Waterfront Center Will Feature Sports Courts, Four Electric Vehicle Charging Stations, Indoor-Outdoor Running Track, and Fitness and Cardio Rooms 

First Staten Island Recreation Center Groundbreaking in Over 14 Years 

Project Will Be Completed By 2025 Through Competitive Bidding Via DDC's Design-Build Program

NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams, New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Commissioner Thomas Foley, and New York City Department of Parks and Recreation (NYC Parks) Commissioner Sue Donoghue today broke ground on the new $92 million Mary Cali Dalton Recreation Center in Tompkinsville, Staten Island.

Today’s groundbreaking marks the first groundbreaking for a recreation center on Staten Island in over 14 years. The recreation center is a key part of Mayor Adams’ “Staten Island North Shore Action Plan,” a roadmap that details strategic investments to the North Shore of Staten Island that will unlock 20 acres of public open space, create over 7,500 family-sustaining jobs, generate an estimated economic impact of $3.8 billion, and accelerate the completion of over 2,400 units of housing.

“For too long, Staten Island has been neglected and ignored, but this administration is changing that. From opening part of Freshkills Park to expanding the Staten Island Compost Facility, and now, building a recreational center here for the first time in 14 years, we're delivering on our vision for a better Staten Island,” said Mayor Adams. “The Mary Cali Dalton Recreation Center will be a community hub where Staten Islanders can learn, play, and enjoy public space together, and it is a fitting tribute to Mary Cali Dalton, a leader who understood the power of parks and public space. Our administration looks forward to continuing to invest in Staten Island — whether through parks, jobs, housing, or quality of life improvements — and delivering for all of the borough’s residents.”

Rendering of the future Mary Cali Dalton Recreation Center in Tompkinsville. Source: NYC Parks

Rendering of the future Mary Cali Dalton Recreation Center in Tompkinsville.
Source: NYC Parks

"Today we celebrate a tremendous milestone for Staten Island and New York as a whole. One of the first NYC Parks projects using design build, bringing the construction team into the design process. The Mary Cali Dalton Recreation Center will be open for business two and a half years earlier than it would otherwise — an example of what's possible with alternative delivery, " said Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi. "With Albany's help, we can expand the use of these tools to deliver New Yorkers more needed civic projects like Mary Cali Dalton Recreation Center quicker and cheaper, and with greater M/WBE participation. This is a win."

"This center will be a gem of the Parks system, offering North Shore residents a variety of recreational amenities and a wealth of programming right in their own community,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Donoghue. “This marks the second recent groundbreaking for new recreation center construction under Mayor Adams, reinforcing this administration’s commitment to increasing equitable access to green space and park facilities. We’re thrilled that the facility will feature solar panels and electric vehicle charging stations, and also that the design build process employed for this project will allow it to be completed two years faster than usual."

“The current parking lot next to Lyon’s Pool will be transformed into a wonderful recreation center that will include sport courts, multi-purpose areas, fitness equipment, and other amenities for the people of Staten Island to enjoy,” said DDC Commissioner Foley. “This center is not only a great step forward for recreation in the borough, but also a huge step forward for the city’s capital program and for the administration’s efforts to improve capital project delivery. The Mary Cali Dalton Recreation Center is one of the city’s first Design-Build projects. With Design-Build, we expect this project to be completed by the end of next year, saving two full years. This project emphasizes the need to reform DDC as a new state authority, so we can bring these much-needed facilities to communities sooner and at lower cost.”

“Today’s groundbreaking is an important moment for the community and marks another milestone for the revitalization of Staten Island’s North Shore,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President & CEO Andrew Kimball. “As a key part of the Adams administration’s North Shore Action Plan, this recreation center will be accessible via the new Tompkinsville esplanade and part of the two-mile ‘green-ribbon’ along the North Shore that will give Staten Islanders access to the waterfront at last. We are thrilled to work alongside our partners in government and can’t wait to watch this community thrive as a vibrant, mixed-use neighborhood.”

"As a native Staten Islander who spent countless hours at the Cromwell Recreation Center during my childhood, I am deeply honored to be part of this mayoral administration as we break ground on the Mary Cali Recreation Center,” said Jasmine Ray, director, Mayor’s Office of Sports, Wellness, and Recreation. “This moment feels full circle for me, as I witness firsthand, and am a product of the transformative power of accessible recreation facilities in our community. I am proud to contribute to the creation of a new space that will undoubtedly shape the lives of countless individuals, just as it did for me. Today, we celebrate not just the construction of a building, but the continuation of a legacy of health, wellness, and community on the North Shore of Staten Island.”

The center will be named in memory of beloved NYC Parks Chief of Recreation for Staten Island Mary Cali Dalton. Dalton began her career at NYC Parks in 1999 as a Work Experience Program participant before being hired as a playground associate one year later. Less than five months later, she was promoted to recreation specialist where she worked to enhance recreational programming until taking over as borough director of recreation in 2002. Dalton was best known for her mantra of “being in charge of the magic,” and diligently worked to provide Staten Islanders with the most innovative, cutting-edge programming and recreational opportunities possible.

The new 45,000-square-foot center will offer a variety of recreational amenities, including sports courts, four electric vehicle charging stations, an indoor-outdoor running track, and fitness and cardio rooms.

NYC Parks gathered community feedback about the new recreation center through two community input meetings during the design phase in December 2020 and January 2021. The new facility will be adjacent to the former Cromwell Recreation Center, which closed in 2010, and will be located at 1 Hannah Street, along the waterfront in Tompkinsville and adjacent to NYC Parks’ Lyons Pool.

This project was completed through DDC’s Design-Build initiative, which delivered the project two-and-a-half years faster than through the traditional approach, with expected completion at the end of 2025. Design-Build helps reduce project costs and shorten construction time by having one entity — instead of — execute both the design and construction processes.

“The Mary Cali Dalton Recreation Center, in the heart of Staten Island, encapsulates our commitment to health, community, and innovation," said New York State Assemblymember Charles D. Fall. "This center, the first of its kind in over a decade, meets significant M/WBE participation goals and sets new standards in community development. Furthermore, naming it after Mary Cali Dalton honors a local hero whose life’s work was devoted to our community’s betterment. Proud to have advocated & fought for advancement of this facility. This is a proud day for Staten Island.”

“I am excited that the long awaited groundbreaking of the Mary Cali Dalton Recreation Center is finally here,” said New York State Assemblymember Sam Pirozzolo. “Thank you to the mayor, the Parks department, DDC, and everyone involved for your work in materializing this vital community resource for all Staten Islanders - from Tompkinsville and beyond.”

"Today’s groundbreaking of the Mary Cali Dalton Recreation Center on Staten Island marks a historic investment in our communities. This state-of-the-art $92 million facility—the first new recreation center in the borough in over 14 years—will provide residents with a place to stay active, connect with others, and enjoy the beauty of the waterfront,” said New York State Assemblymember Jenifer Rajkumar. “Through the innovative use of design-build, we will expedite the construction process and complete the entire 45,000 square foot center in only a year, nothing short of a miracle for a New York City development. We have also met the 30% M/WBE utilization goal, ensuring our tax dollars will uplift communities and give everyone their fair share of contracting. The project bears all the hallmarks of Mayor Adams’ administration: equal investment in every community, innovative strategies, rapid turnaround time, and inclusion of all New Yorkers.”

“The entire Kokolakis team is honored to be part of this transformational project," said Joseph J. Kokolakis, president, Kokolakis Contracting. "While the Mary Cali Dalton Recreation Center will improve the quality of every Staten Islander’s life, the collaborative and innovative Design-Build delivery method will ensure that this, and future NYDDC projects, are completed on time and on budget, improving the lives of all New Yorkers."

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