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.
©2010 Community News Group
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