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Mayor Adams Celebrates $160 Million Investment in Brownsville Recreation Center, Additional Maintenance Workers at 62 Parks to Improve Quality of Life Across Five Boroughs

July 10, 2024

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City to Fully Rebuild 70-Year-Old Brownsville Recreation Center, NYC Parks to Open Temporary Brownsville Spaces During Construction

NYC Parks to Hire 240 Additional “Second Shift” Staff to Add Weekend, Evening Cleaning to 100 Hotspots at 62 Parks in All Five Boroughs

Announcement Follows On-Time, Balanced, and Fiscally-Responsible $112.4 Billion Adopted Budget That Invests in Future of New York City

NEW YORK – New York City Mayor Eric Adams, Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi, and New York City Department of Parks and Recreation (NYC Parks) Commissioner Sue Donoghue today celebrated major investments in New York City’s public parks and facilities as part of an on-time, balanced, and fiscally-responsible $112.4 billion Fiscal Year (FY) 2025 Adopted Budget that addresses the city’s affordability crisis head-on and invests in the future of the city and the working-class people who make New York the greatest city in the world. The FY25 Adopted Budget ensures parks have what they need to engage New Yorkers and attract tourists and other visitors, as a critical part of the city’s economic and social wellbeing, as well as to improve healthy lifestyles. After making multiple investments in New York City's parks, including in the Parks Opportunity Program (POP) that gives thousands of low-income New Yorkers six-month paid opportunities and training programs each year and help maintain and operate New York City parks and facilities, Mayor Adams and the City Council went even further in the FY25 Adopted Budget by investing $160 million to fully rebuild the 70-year-old Brownsville Recreation Center, providing a brand-new, state-of-the art recreation center in the heart of Brooklyn. Additionally, thanks to a $15 million city investment, NYC Parks will hire an additional 240 full-time maintenance and operations staff to provide a second shift of cleaning service at 100 hotspots at 62 public parks in all five boroughs.

Last month, the City Council voted to pass the FY25 Budget. After the budget handshake announcement, New Yorkers from across the city, including parks advocates, praised the budget for its wide-ranging investments that help protect public safety, rebuild the economy, and make New York City more affordable and livable. Funding for this “second shift” is baselined in the FY25 Adopted Budget.

“We came into office with a clear mission: protect public safety, rebuild our economy, and make our city more affordable and livable for working-class New Yorkers. And providing New Yorkers with clean, vibrant public spaces, particularly in neighborhoods like Brownsville that have long been overlooked, helps us continue to deliver on that mission,” said Mayor Adams. “Our $160 million investment in the Brownsville Recreation Center will transform this 70-year-old complex into a state-of-the-art community space in the heart of Brooklyn. And because we’re focused on keeping our public spaces clean, too, we’re investing $15 million in a second cleaning shift at parks in all five boroughs. We came into office promising a safer, cleaner, more livable city that is equitable and affordable. The new Brownsville Recreation Center and cleaner parks are the next steps forward in our mission.”

“This historic resourcing of $160 million to the Brownsville Recreation Center is an investment that underscores our commitment to our neighbors in Brownsville and the vital role that community centers fill across the city,” said First Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright. “As we prioritize the array of resident needs and especially work to prevent gun violence in community-based settings, this historic contribution to fully rebuild the 70-year-old Brownsville Recreation Center honors the need for safe spaces, improved facilities, and expansive programming as we build a brand-new, state-of-the art recreation center in the heart of Brownsville.” 

“New Yorkers across the five boroughs deserve public recreation spaces that feel safe and welcoming. This investment in the Brownsville Recreation Center and 62 parks citywide, helps the Adams administration deliver them,” said Deputy Mayor Joshi. “When people walk into their local recreation center or take their kids to play in a park, they should be able to feel the care and attention that has gone into those spaces — a symbol of a city that is joyful, safe, and attended to. My deep thanks to Commissioner Donoghue and the members of City Council who advocated for these investments and made them possible.”

“The city's $160 million investment to reconstruct Brownsville Recreation Center will provide Brooklynites with a new, state-of-the-art recreation facility that will serve generations to come,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Donoghue. “In addition, baselined funding for 'second shift' cleaning will ensure our most heavily used parks citywide are clean and safe. Along with the recently announced initial investment of $3.2 billion for our Vital Parks plan to bolster the city’s living infrastructure, we’re advancing our mission of providing accessible, safe, and well-maintained public spaces for all.”

“Congratulations to Mayor Adams for allocating $160 million in city funds to fully transform the Brownsville Recreation Center and to NYC Parks for this major investment that will allow them to continue to serve the people of Brooklyn, and all across the five boroughs,” said New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Commissioner Thomas Foley. “These renovations will greatly benefit the seniors, adults and youth who visit this community hub. We are already working with NYC Parks on the Mary Cali Dalton Recreation Center in Staten Island, the Shirley Chisholm Recreation Center in Brooklyn, and two new recreation centers in the Bronx. We look forward to collaborating with NYC Parks again to turn this 70-year-old center into a state-of-the-art facility.”

“On behalf of the Brownsville community, I would like to publicly thank Mayor Adams and his administration for this righteous, long-needed funding to the Brownsville Recreation Center,” said AT Mitchell-Mann, co-chair, Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. “The Brownsville Recreation Center is a staple in the Brownsville community. It has served generations of families with dignity and honor for decades. With this much needed financial commitment, it will assure that the legacy of the Brownsville Recreation Center will be around for more generations to come. This is what true gun violence prevention looks like. This is what we mean when we say, ‘Brownsville Never Ran, Never Will.’”

“Our parks and recreation centers are the hearts of communities and provide critical resources for the social, physical, and mental health for all,” said Chief Public Realm Officer Ya-Ting Liu. “The investment in the Brownsville Recreation Center and additional cleaning to our city’s parks affirms the Adams administration’s commitment to improving quality of life through vibrant public spaces.”

Brownsville Recreation Center

The Brownsville Recreation Center first opened as a city facility in 1955. In 2016, then-Mayor Bill de Blasio announced a $20 million selective reconstruction of the center; preliminary work on the center found significant damage and deterioration requiring a partial closure (including the indoor pool and the gymnasium) and a complete demolition and reconstruction of the center. The new facility will be designed with extensive input from the Brownsville community, and NYC Parks will work with DDC to build the new space quickly and cost-efficiently. While the recreation center is closed for the multi-year demolition, planning, design, and construction period, NYC Parks will open interim spaces in Brownsville to ensure residents continue to have uninterrupted access to the classes and resources that NYC Parks’ recreation centers provide.

This investment builds on the Adams administration’s commitment to investing in under-resourced communities like Brownsville that have been ignored for decades. In July 2023, Mayor Adams and the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force released “A Blueprint for Public Safety,” with over $485 million in investments to offer early interventions for young people, increase employment and entrepreneurship opportunities, improve housing security, provide easier access to public benefits, bolster community institutions, foster connections to mental health services, and strengthen police-community relations. Those investments are focused on six precincts that experience a disproportionate level of gun violence, including precincts covering Brownsville and East New York. Additionally, in March 2024, Mayor Adams launched Jobs NYC, a new multi-pronged citywide effort to reduce barriers to economic opportunities and deliver workforce development services directly to communities across the five boroughs that are experiencing high unemployment. That effort includes monthly hiring halls in every borough in areas experiencing employment disparities, connecting New Yorkers to private- and public-sector jobs.

Second Shift

NYC Parks’ second shift program targets 100 hot spots in 62 parks throughout the five boroughs for an additional shift of cleaning services on weekends and in the evenings to improve cleanliness and quality of life. This deployment of 240 new maintenance and operations staff will work from Thursday to Monday to create cleaner parks and public restrooms, while also fighting the scourge of rodents in New York City. It also builds on the Adams administration’s historic commitment to citywide cleanliness, including through the “Trash Revolution” — the administration’s ongoing effort to get black trash bags off of New York City streets and into containers. As of November 12, 2024, Mayor Adams and New York City Department of Sanitation Commissioner Jessica Tisch will have required the city to containerize 70 percent of New York City’s 14 billion pounds of annual trash. This feat has been accomplished in just over two years’ time, reversing 50 years of municipal mismanagement that saw mountains of black trash bags lining streets and attracting rats.

Thanks to the Adams administration’s ongoing strong fiscal management, which was bolstered by better-than-expected revenue growth, the administration overcame unprecedented challenges in this budget cycle to stabilize the city’s financial outlook and close a $7.1 billion budget gap. Because of steady, decisive decision making, the FY25 Adopted Budget allows the Adams administration and the City Council to reinvest in initiatives and programs that protect public safety, rebuild the city’s economy, and make the city more affordable and livable for working-class New Yorkers. As part of the budget agreement, the Adams administration and the City Council joined together to pass a collaborative budget that addresses the three things that cost New Yorkers the most — housing, childcare, and health care — and invests billions of dollars of city resources in critical areas, including early childhood education, libraries, parks, public safety, housing, health care, transit, cultural institutions, and more.

“It is often said that a budget is a statement of values. The Brownsville Recreation Center has been such a valuable and important center of activity for our young people, so it follows that this year’s budget includes $160 million to renovate, revitalize and rebuild the BRC,” said U.S. House Minority Leader Hakeem Jeffries. “The residents of central Brooklyn deserve nothing less than the finest recreation center in the world and this funding is an important step towards bringing that to life.”

“Investing in our city’s future means investing in our communities. I commend Mayor Adams and Deputy Mayor Meera Joshi for this commitment to rebuild the historic Brownsville Recreation Center, and enhancing sanitation services across 62 parks citywide,” said New York State Senator Roxanne J. Persaud. “These investments reflect our dedication to a cleaner, safer, and more vibrant New York City.”

“The Brownsville Recreation Center has been central to the fabric of my community for decades. It has been a safe haven for 70 years. More recently, it served as a food distribution center at the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic and as a learning lab for students to stay connected to their schoolwork remotely,” said New York State Assemblywoman Latrice Walker. “The staff has been working out of the Golden Age wing of the building, while the main part of the building, including the gym and swimming pool, is closed for repairs. The city’s investment in the complete renovation of the BRC is welcome news that I cannot wait to share with the community of Brownsville where I was born and raised.”

“Today we celebrate a major win for the Brownsville Community. Our adopted budget creates an historic $160 million rebuilding of the Brownsville Recreation center, a state-of-the-art facility that will become an unprecedented hub of community activity in the heart of Brooklyn,” said New York State Assemblymember Jenifer Rajkumar. “In addition to this facility’s investment, we celebrate the innovative $15 million ‘Second Shift’ program to hire additional staff for more weekend and evening cleanings in the NYC Parks system. This will create cleaner, safer, and healthier conditions at some of New York City’s most popular hotspots. These sensible and fiscally prudent investments demonstrate how our adopted $112.4 billion balanced budget is working to revitalize communities across our city.”

“It’s a great day for Brooklyn when community spaces get much needed upgrades,” said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso. “The Brownsville Recreation Center offers space for central Brooklyn residents to cool off during the summer and to stay mentally and physically active and engaged throughout the year. I am thankful to Mayor Adams and NYC Parks for this $160 million investment which gives Brownsville residents the updated center they deserve.”

“Today is a historic day in the Brownsville section of the 42nd Council District, where this announcement of a $160 million dollar investment into this 70-year-old structure is more than just the rehabilitation of a 70-year-old building,” said New York City Councilmember Chris Banks. “The Brownsville Recreation Center isn’t just a building where youth come to play basketball, participate in media skills programming, learn to garden, and so much more.  It isn’t just a building where seniors come to do Zumba, play pickleball, or participate in other programs that keep them healthy and active. The Brownsville Recreation Center, affectionately known by many in this community as BRC is a place whereas the late great Greg “Jocko” Jackson would say, “Hope is inside!” Today’s announcement is a testament to the legacy of that hope.  In a community that unfortunately sees more negative stories than we would want, today’s announcement is a bright and positive sign that hope is truly inside!  This capital investment of $160 million is a message to those in the Brownsville community that this is our community, and we will continue investing in that community, creating beacons of health and wellness, beacons of positivity, beacons of excellence, and beacons of that same hope, that Jocko said is inside.  I look forward to working toward making our Brownsville community brighter, better and stronger through efforts like this investment.” 
“Brownsville Recreation Center has always been more than just a recreational facility; it is a symbol of community strength and solidarity,” said Dr. Frank Mason, second generation member, Brownsville Old Timers Committee. “Generations of parents and their children have walked through its doors, finding not only a place to exercise and engage in activities, but also a sense of belonging and a commitment to helping others. The center has fostered a spirit of cooperation and mutual support, instilling values that resonate far beyond its walls.”

“The Brownsville Recreation Center has been the oasis of the Brownsville community for over 30 years and our home for arts and culture programming for over 10 years,” said Nicole Williams, founder and CEO, Victory Music & Dance Company Inc. “Victory Music & Dance Company looks forward to the newly renovated facility that will continue to provide a rich holistic environment and safe haven for the youth in Brownsville and its surrounding communities.”

“The Brownsville Recreation Center stands as the only multi-service recreation center in Brownsville,” said Decosta Headley, founder, D.R.E.A.M Foundation. “The neighboring communities of East New York and Canarsie also find its residents utilizing the facilities and amenities at the recreation center. Thanks to the hardworking dedicated staff and the supportive community of the Brownsville Recreation Center, many beautiful occurrences that produced great people in entertainment and sports have benefited from the leadership of the recreation center. Thank you for rebuilding a staple and legacy for the people of Brownsville, Brooklyn.”


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