Prospect Park Alliance to open new Shirley Chisholm Welcome Center in Brooklyn’s Backyard

Shirley Chisholm Prospect Park Alliance
The Prospect Park Alliance is leading a community workshop where locals are invited to give insight into the creation of the Shirley Chisholm Welcome Center.
Still via “Chisholm ’72” from Realside Productions/Prospect Park Alliance

The Prospect Park Alliance is transforming an old comfort station into a brand-new welcome center, and they are inviting Brooklynites to share their insight at an upcoming community workshop.

A disused building near the park entrance at Ocean and Parkside avenues will soon be revamped into the Shirley Chisholm Welcome Center, named after the trailblazing Congresswoman herself.

On Jan. 17, as they work to design the welcome center, Prospect Park Alliance president Morgan Monaco and Medgar Evers college president Dr. Patricia Ramsey will lead a community conversation about the transformation of the building, and locals from all over Brooklyn are being asked to put their heads and share ideas on how the center can best serve the community and adequately honor Chisholm’s life and legacy.

prospect park lawn
The new center will welcome visitors to Prospect Park with new bathrooms and visitor information. File photo courtesy of the Prospect Park Alliance

“Prospect Park Alliance is honored to partner with Medgar Evers College and NAACP Brooklyn for a community workshop to kick off the design of one of our most important upcoming projects: the creation of our new Shirley Chisholm Welcome Center,” Monaco said in a statement. “Gathering our community’s feedback and insight will be crucial in guiding us through this visioning process as we kick off the design of this new park amenity.”

The new welcome center was funded in part by a $6.75 million allocation from City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams, Commissioner for Cultural Affairs Laurie Cumbo, and the Brooklyn Delegation of the City Council including council members Crystal Hudson, Rita Joseph and Shahana Hanif. Design is expected to be finalized in 2025, with construction wrapping up the following year. According to the Alliance’s capital projects tracker, the welcome center upgrade includes infrastructure upgrades, the installation of new bathrooms, and visitor information.

The Shirley Chisholm Welcome Center will be accompanied by a new monument dedicated to Chisholm — who was the first Black congresswoman and the first woman to seek the Democratic presidential nomination. The design for the monument, titled “Our Destiny, Our Democracy,” was unanimously approved last summer, will include a massive portrait of Chisholm patterned with plants native to Brooklyn and Barbados.

shirley chisholm monument at prospect park
A new monument, titled “Our Destiny, Our Democracy,” will open beside the welcome center. Image courtesy of Amanda Williams and Olalekan B. Jeyifous/Prospect Park Alliance

“This monument will introduce new generations to the legacy and contributions of this pioneering Brooklynite, and remind us all about the great things that grow from our community,” Monaco said in a statement last summer, when the design was approved. “When your history is not always acknowledged or celebrated it can feel debilitating. I can’t wait for this monument to stand as a beacon for all who enter Prospect Park to feel connected to her legacy and to feel that Prospect Park is a space for them.”

The welcome center is only the most recent piece of infrastructure named in honor of Chisholm. Last fall, the city broke ground on the new $141 million Shirley Chisholm Recreation Center in East Flatbush. 

Join the Community Conversation about the Shirley Chisholm Recreation Center at Medgar Evers College on Jan. 17 at 6 p.m. The event is free, but advanced registration is required.