The YMCA of Greater New York has opened a new branch in Coney Island, Brooklyn, NY, designed to revitalize the community damaged by Hurricane Sandy.
The Y opened earlier this week after facing several months of delays caused by the storm, which damaged the construction site. The 44,000-square-foot facility overlooks the Coney Island boardwalk and features an aquatics center with a four-lane lap pool and a family recreational pool, a full-court gymnasium and fitness and multipurpose rooms.
"This state-of-the art facility promises to become an instant neighborhood anchor and icon," Y CEO Jack Lund said in a statement. "As much as we love our buildings, however, they only house the spirit of the Y. That spirit truly is found in the YMCA's people: its staff and volunteers, its community leaders and donors, and of course, its kids—all united by a shared commitment to improve the quality of life for the families of NYC’s neighborhoods."
Because the community has numerous drowning cases each year, the Y is emphasizing youth swimming, water safety and lifeguard training programs. The Y also is located near community housing projects and several public schools and includes 192 low and moderate income housing units, according to its website. The new facility is expected to serve 10,000 youths and 5,000 adults per year and create hundreds of jobs in a neighborhood where 50 percent of residents receive some form of income support.
"This new facility will be a cornerstone of the neighborhood’s ongoing revitalization and recovery from Superstorm Sandy," said Domenic M. Recchia, Jr., the New York City Council member who represents Coney Island. "By bringing new jobs and economic development as well as social and athletic opportunities, the Coney Island Y will be a fantastic resource for members of the community."
The Y of Greater New York also is building a new branch in Rockaway, Queens, NY, another beachfront community impacted by Hurricane Sandy. The Rockaway branch is scheduled to open on Jan. 24.