A groundbreaking on a new community facility three decades in the making took place recently with huge fanfare.
After more than 30 years of community activism, ground was finally broken on Monday, August 20 on a YMCA in Edenwald.
The 50,000 square-foot facility that should offer a wide array of community resources and facilities, said attendees and speakers
The city has granted the YMCA a long-term lease at 1250 E. 229th Street for the construction of the facility, said Sharon Greenberger president and CEO of the YMCA of Greater New York at the ceremonial groundbreaking.
The Y will include a greenroof, two swimming pools and a full-scale gymnasium, said Greenberger.
“This project has been in the making for over three decades,” she said, adding it was the work of a group of community activists over several decades that eventually brought the YMCA to Edenwald.
The YMCA will also include an indoor track, childcare facility and wellness center, while offering programming like senior adult classes and civics classes for those seeking their U.S. citizenship.
A plethora of elected officials took the podium and spoke at during the program before the ceremonial groundbreaking, with many heaping praise on Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, who represents the district and secured the funding needed to push the project forward.
“Today’s ground breaking ceremony marks a historical milestone for the northeast Bronx,” said Heastie. “This state-of-the-art recreational facility will be a welcomed addition to the community.”
Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said that he was proud to have provided $3 million of his own capital funding to what will be a community resource.
“The entire Bronx is excited for this new YMCA, and I want to thank the NYC Economic Development Corporation, Mayor de Blasio, Heastie, Councilman King, and other stakeholders for their continued partnership on this transformative community development,” said the borough president.
“The Edenwald YMCA will be a resource for the entire community: from parents looking for summer camp for their children to seniors who want to stay active. This new YMCA is an investment in the health of all those who call the northeast Bronx home,” said the mayor.
Public Advocate Letitia James, city Comptroller Scott Stringer, Congressman Eliot Engel, Senator Jamaal Bailey, Councilman Andy King, District Attorney Darcel Clark, as well as community leaders Al de Castro and Shirley Fearon, spoke during the program.
Fearon and de Castro both spoke about the importance of community activism in achieving the milestone, and thanked the assembly speaker.
Fearon said that by the time the first planning meeting was held in 2009, the community activists already knew what was needed and wanted.
King said in remarks that many people had been advocating for a youth center from the community over the years, and recalled their efforts.
Barbara Gibson-LaGrant, a ceremony attendee who has lived in the community for decades, said that the YMCA is much needed.
“For this neighborhood, as much as it has grown, we are really going to utilize this facility to the fullest,” she said.
The facility is planned to open in 2020.