After five years of darkness, The Allerton Coops tenant association is finally seeing the light – in their newly reopened community room.
About 50 tenants gathered outside the community room on Wednesday, August 29 to celebrate and thank an state assembly candidate who convinced management to reopen it.
Janice Walcott, president of Allerton Coops tenant association and tenant since 1975, said the room was closed in 2007 after new management took over the building.
“I battled with the new owners to get the room open for children, senior and for the teenagers,” Walcott said.
“The last event we had in here was a fund raiser in 2007, and someone came from the Department of Buildings to survey the room for violations. After he came in, they changed the lock. They’ve changed the lock three times since I have had a key.”
Walcott said the room was locked because of needed structural repairs, but after the repairs were finished the room still remained locked.
“If you have a complex this large with 741 units, hundreds of kids and thousands of tenants, you have to have a place where they can meet, have parties and various events,” she said.
“My thing is, make it happen. I think it is necessary to have something positive for our young people, and today is a good day.”
Walcott praised 80th State Assembly District candidate Mark Gjonaj for stepping in and convincing management to reopen the room.
“This accomplishment is a prime example of bringing together people in order to make a difference in people’s lives,” Gjonaj said.
“Countless residents of Allerton Coops expressed their frustration over the sudden closure of the Community Room and the lack of cooperation from their local elected officials,” he said. “I am extremely proud that by working together we were able to reopen the Community Room.”
Joe Thompson, 49th Precinct Community Council president, said the community board and elected officials had been trying to get the community room open – and to stay open.
“Up until now the landlord was not cooperating,” Thompson said. “But now it is open, and they can use it for a multitude of things — children’s after-school programs, seniors, just to play bingo or sit down and have a conversation — this is a great day for these people and for this community when these things do happen and when we have people who will go out and make them happen.
“This was a good combination of a good man, who knows this business and he was able to intercede,” he said of Gjonaj accomplishment. “But it’s been a struggle.”
Kirsten Sanchez can be reach via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (718) 742-3394