Sunset Park Recreation Center to get $4-million facelift

Massive makeover: The city will give the decrepit Sunset Park Recreation Center a $4 million makeover.
Parks Department

The Landmarks Preservation Commission green-lighted a $4-million reboot for the Sunset Park Recreation Center on May 9.

The community hub off of Seventh Avenue in Sunset Park proper will get some much-needed love after nearly 40 years without a major overhaul, and locals are overjoyed at the prospect of a state-of-the-art rec center.

“It’s wonderful that the center is getting a makeover, because that place is really part of the fabric of the community,” said life-long Sunset Parker Silvia Velasquez. “I practically grew up there as a kid, and it’s nice to see that it’s going to be revitalized so that future generations can continue to enjoy it.”

Built back in the 1930s, the city landmarked the rec center in 2007. The building was originally intended for seasonal pool use, but has since become a Mecca for neighborhood activities and is open year-round.

Parks Department records show that the project will update the dilapidated structure’s heating, ventilation, air conditioning, and electrical systems — all of which are in dire need of repairs, according to one local.

“The temperature can go all over the place in there,” said Sunset Parker Lonnie Lawrence. “Being in a new space where we’re not freezing or frying will be a welcome change.”

Aside from bringing the building’s essential systems into the 21st century, the project aims to restore the historic building to its former glory with new finishes, signage, and lighting fixtures. But the jail-like bars on the main entrance will be replaced with a sleek, glass facade, according to Parks Department records.

Sunset Park has a handful of other projects that the city aims to complete first, including a revamp of the Sunset Park play ground, so locals will have to wait a while before shovels hit the ground, according to the district manager of Community Board 7.

The project is currently in the design phase, which the Parks Department aims to complete by September. Construction is expected to begin by the end of next summer and last until early 2019, according to an agency spokeswoman.

Reach reporter Caroline Spivack at cspivack@cnglocal.com or by calling (718) 260–2523. Follow her on Twitter @carolinespivack.

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