By Kings County Politics and COLlive
New York City Council Member Laurie Cumbo, New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), local community members and BFC Partners gathered at the historic Bedford Union Armory in Crown Heights Wednesday to celebrate the groundbreaking of the site’s redevelopment.
The milestone is a significant moment in the history of the Bedford Union Armory, which community leaders long envisioned becoming a vibrant gathering space for the Crown Heights community.
The new building is scheduled to open next November, and will be utilized by local schools and Yeshivas, with access to its enrichment programs and athletic facilities.
“Crown Heights Yeshivas will also benefit from the new facilities,” Rabbi Eli Cohen of the CHJCC told COLlive. “Yeshiva principals have met with the operator to discuss ways that they will be able to schedule time for their students to use the fields and pool.”
The Armory will also offer literacy, STEAM, and computer classes for local residents of all ages, as well as providing spaces for meetings and exhibitions for a number of organizations.
“Today we celebrate the groundbreaking of the Bedford Union Armory, a true symbol of the culture and legacy of this historic neighborhood. We fought unwaveringly to ensure that this community space would reflect the beauty and history of Crown Heights, and I am proud to enter this first step toward bringing our vision to fruition,” Laurie Cumbo said. “Our youth will have access to a newly renovated space with an array of after-school programming and year-round activities; a facility in which they too, can create their own cherished memories looking back on them in many years to come. Let us join together in our collective glory and partake in this special piece of Brooklyn.”
The Armory will accommodate several enrichment activities and educational programs including computer and coding classes, dance and performance studios, and literacy courses. The space will also include a recreation center that will house three basketball courts; a multi-use field that will be used for soccer, volleyball, and martial arts; a full length swimming pool; a fitness center; and areas designated for boxing and archery.
The project will offer affordable space for non-profits and other civic organizations that will permanently call the Armory home. Ten organizations, including New Heights Youth, Imagine Swimming, Globall Sports Concepts, Ifetayo Cultural Arts Academy, Digital Girl, Inc., Brooklyn Community Pride Center, West Indian American Day Carnival Association, James E. Davis Foundation, Carey Gabay Foundation, and Brooklyn Medical Plaza Center will have space for offices and programming in the Armory.
“I am so pleased to see the transformation of the Bedford Union Armory move forward. Residents of Crown Heights deserve to have an affordable and accessible space for recreation and a host of other academic and cultural programming in this historic building,” said U.S. Rep. Yvette Clarke.
As part of the project, the Armory will deliver 415 units of housing, nearly two-thirds of which (250 units) will be affordable to low-income individuals and their families earning at or below 60 percent of the area median income (AMI), with some reserved for formerly homeless New Yorkers and others reserved for households earning as low as $20,000 for an individual and $28,000 for a family of four.