Beep: Let’s turn more armories into rec centers

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Park Slope has its own state-of-the-art recreation facility in a city-refurbished armory — but now residents of Clinton Hill and Prospect Heights may see their nearby armories become neighborhood resources, too.

Borough President Markowitz jump-started the process by committing $1 million to armories located at Bedford and Atlantic avenues in Crown Heights and on Sumner Avenue in Bedford-Stuyvesant.

The announcement came during the Beep’s rollicking “State of the Borough” address last Wednesday night at Park Slope’s just-opened armory rec center.

“There is absolutely no reason that the residents of central Brooklyn — which is home to two gorgeous, massive and under-utilized armories — should not have the very same amenities [as Park Slope],” Markowitz said.

The facility on Bedford Avenue faces similar bureaucratic hurdles as the Park Slope location once did — namely that the Department of Homeless Services is using it as a homeless shelter.

Thus far, the agency has allocated roughly half of the necessary $20 million for the two overhauls.

Once local officials commit to finding the remaining $10 million, the process of converting the armory will begin.

Councilwoman Letitia James (D–Fort Greene) said that she expected the funds to be available by the end of the year.

She also noted that it should not take nearly as long to overhaul the Bedford armory as it did in Park Slope, where the multi-year renovation led to a two-year search for an operator for the facility.

In the end, the Prospect Park YMCA was picked to run the show.

“We now have a model — we know how to do it,” said James, adding that she hoped the new facilities would feature a track, tennis and basketball courts, and a soccer field, plus a swimming pool.

It’s unclear if such a dream can take root at the Bedford Avenue armory, which city officials still hope to convert into a homeless “intake” center instead of an “assessment” shelter. The building is big enough for many purposes, but it remains to be seen how the space will be divided between the truly needy and those who merely need recreation space.

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Reader Feedback

Rich McCullah from Crown Heights says:
Crown Heights currently has five times the average of social services than the rest of the city. Manhattan wants the homeless out and Bloomberg has decided to put them in the neighborhood that already has such a tremendous burden on it. "Truly needy" yea I understand that but why put all the onus on one neighborhood? "Merely need recreation space" obviously you don't come around this way and see the volume of kids on the streets with nothing. How about doing a registered sex offender map listing on line and see exactly how little this neighborhood has going for it.
Feb. 5, 2010, 1:06 pm
Judah Spechal from Bed-Stuy says:
Both armory my friend house the homeless. 27 of the top level sex offender in NYC is located at Bedford & Atlantic. A block down is an ACS childcare center, & walking distance from several grade schools. With kids walking home from school to single parent household, who are most likely at work when their kids get home. What Bloomberg, the Billionaire has done is shameful & scary. They push the Homeless out during the daytime & forced them into the surrounding areas, until nightfall when they allow them back in. In Soho they are fighting a sanitation building, up town they are fighting a garbage station. In Bed-Stuy both armories house dangerous sex offenders, Go Marty go, Please make this happen.
Feb. 6, 2010, 9:19 pm
judah Spechal from Bed-Stuy says:
I should say sex offenders are a large part of the homeless at the shelter, including the top 27 sex offender in NYC!
Feb. 6, 2010, 9:24 pm
Eazy D from Sheepshead Bay says:
Marty for mayor -- of his street.
Feb. 6, 2010, 11:37 pm
Mike Curatore from Columbia Street says:
Don't follow the mistake of Park Slope -- make sure the other armory conversions follow ULURP so that there's more transparency and accountability and so that a 2-year political pet project doesn't turn into a 4-year mess that the community has to clean up. Just ask the folks in Park Slope about it...
Feb. 8, 2010, 11:33 am

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