2009-10-23 / Top Stories

NYCHA Takes Over Beach 41st Community Center

By Miriam Rosenberg

NYCHA took over the operations of Beach 41st Street Community Center, run by Madison Boys & Clubs until last week. Madison suspended operations there due to a financial dispute with the city agency. NYCHA took over the operations of Beach 41st Street Community Center, run by Madison Boys & Clubs until last week. Madison suspended operations there due to a financial dispute with the city agency. The New York City Housing Authority, which turned over the operations of several of its community center to outside operations earlier this year due to a lack of funds, has taken over the 41st Street Houses Community Center after Madison Boys & Girls Club moved out last weekend.

"NYCHA started partial [operations] today," said Howard Marder, a spokesman for NYCHA, on Monday. "It will be fully operational in two weeks. We will be pursuing a potential partnership in the Rockaway community to enhance future programs."

As reported in The Wave last week, after being there for 14 years, Madison's board unanimously voted to suspend operations at the Community Center in September. In a letter obtained by this newspaper written to NYCHA from board members of Madison, Board President Myles Gillespie and Executive Director Joseph Patuleia explained the reasons for their organization's decision.

Madison's board felt that NYCHA did not honor what it called "a long standing agreement" to be a paid $232,000 cash grant. Madison received a partial payment for the first quarter of the year, but the city agency still owed $110,000 and made clear it did not intend to pay the remaining amount. The board also expressed its disappointment in the new policy to charge rent. Compounding the issue, Madison claimed NYCHA "did not notify us formally/ informally about its intentions. There were no letters, no phone calls, no emails."

"The Madison Board and staff believe that NYCHA's commitment to the youth of Far Rockaway has changed, and therefore, feels it has no other recourse but to suspend it services there."

Lizzy Brown, the president of the

Beach 41st Street Houses tenant association, attended a meeting last Wednesday arranged by Councilman James Sanders Jr.

"Plans were put together, but nothing's materializing yet," said Brown. "If it works out maybe they'll come back. We're not going to give up."

Brown added that, "We put some things on the table. We hope they work out. We'll be reaching out to other politicians."

Among those at the meeting, according to Brown, were representatives from Madison Boys & Girls, NYCHA, the tenants association, Pat Simon from Ocean Bay Houses and Sanders. The councilman was not available for comment.

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Are their plans to provide childcare at this facility? Clearly a quality place would provide jobs and quality of life to residents.

A Club is needed, whether the former managment runs it or not. I still do not see why this is not run by the park department directly. Since when is providing recreation not the business of the Park District?


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