By NYC Mayor’s Press Office | October 16, 2023
New Center Will Feature Gymnasium; Walking Track; Indoor Swimming Pool; Fitness, Strength, and Cardio Rooms; Media Lab; and Teaching Kitchen
Project Will Be Completed Two Years Faster Than Through Competitive Bidding Thanks to DDC’s Design-Build Program
New York – New York City Mayor Eric Adams, New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Commissioner Thomas Foley, and New York City Department of Parks and Recreation (NYC Parks) Commissioner Sue Donoghue were today joined by New York City Councilmember Farah N. Louis, New York State Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte-Hermelyn, and community members to break ground on the new, $141 million Shirley Chisholm Recreation Center at the Nostrand Playground in East Flatbush, Brooklyn. DDC is managing the construction on behalf of NYC Parks.
The new center is named for Brooklyn-born politician, and the first African American woman to serve in Congress, Shirley Chisholm. The daughter of immigrant parents from Guyana, Chisholm also made history as the first woman and African American to seek the nomination for president of the United States from one of the two major political parties. Her contributions to her community and country are reflective of her desire to affect change.
“Shirley Chisholm inspired millions of young girls to pursue dreams they never thought possible. And when the Shirley Chisholm Recreational Center opens, her name will once again inspire another generation, while providing the residents of East Flatbush with a state-of-the-art recreational center that honors the rich history and heritage of this vibrant community,” said Mayor Adams. “I am especially pleased to see that the media lab will bear the name of a personal friend and mentor, Dr. Roy Hastick, who was a true champion of the Caribbean community in East Flatbush. With this project, our administration is using all the tools at our disposal to deliver amenities for New Yorkers more quickly and efficiently than ever before.”
“Shirley Chisholm dared to be a catalyst of change, and this state-of-the-art recreation center will be the inspirational starting blocks for the next generation of New Yorkers to make their mark in the history of our city and beyond,” said Deputy Mayor for Operations Meera Joshi. “Thanks to DDC’s design-build program, we will complete this project two years faster than under design-bid-build contracting, and with higher M/WBE utilization rates. Facilities like these underscores the urgency of additional tools, as outlined by the Capital Process Reform Task Force, that will help us to deliver much-needed capital projects throughout the city faster, cheaper, and with greater participation.”
“This project is not only a monument to the famed civil rights leader Shirley Chisholm, it also represents a milestone in city construction as we continue to implement design-build in our capital program,” said DDC Commissioner Foley. “The design-build method involves contracting teams’ designers and builders together as one unit, leading to fewer delays and conflicts, better problem solving, and faster and more efficient projects. Using design-build, we plan to complete the new Shirley Chisholm Recreation Center by the end of 2025 — two full years faster than would be expected with lowest bidder contracting.”
“New Yorkers remember Shirley Chisholm as a trailblazer, organizer, and icon. Soon, generations of New Yorkers will also associate her name with this vibrant community hub in the heart of Central Brooklyn — a demonstration of the city’s investing in communities that have historically been neglected,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Donoghue. “True to Shirley Chisholm’s legacy, this administration believes that all New Yorkers — regardless of race, gender, or ZIP code — deserve to be full participants in our city’s cultural, social, political, and economic life. With this new recreation center, the first new Parks recreation center to begin construction in the past eight years, Central Brooklyn residents will have access to vital recreation resources, a beautiful community space, and a state-of-the-art media lab.”
Upon its completion at the end of 2025, the state-of the art recreation center will offer a host of programming offerings and amenities to encourage learning, recreation, and community and civic engagement. The center’s features will include multipurpose rooms; a gymnasium; a walking track; an indoor swimming pool; fitness, strength, and cardio rooms; and a teaching kitchen. The center will also include a media lab named in honor of Dr. Roy A. Hastick, Sr. A Grenadian emigrant and community stalwart, Dr. Hastick founded the Caribbean American Chamber of Commerce and Industry and served on a number of economic development and community boards to advocate on behalf of the East Flatbush community.
The project is part of DDC’s design-build pilot program and will be completed by the end of 2025, a full two years faster than would be expected under the preexisting lowest-bidder contracting system. Under design-build, design and construction firms cooperate under one overall contract for all design and construction services. This approach increases cooperation between the teams and can cut nine to 12 months off a project’s timeline. The use of design-build also means that construction can begin while the building’s final design is still being developed, something that would not be possible under lowest-bidder contracting.
Earlier this year, Mayor Adams’ Capital Process Reform Task Force — comprised of a group of leaders representing the construction industry, labor, and minority- and women-owned business enterprises — released a slate of 39 recommendations to improve the city’s capital process, from project initiation to closeout. One recommendation advocated for New York state to authorize progressive design-build, a one-step procurement process that would allow the city to quickly select a project team based on qualifications and collaborate throughout the essential early phases of design. This step would build on the city’s successful use of design-build, which was authorized by the state in 2019 and implemented in 2022.
“Today’s groundbreaking of the Shirley Chisholm Recreation Center is a milestone for our community, whose residents of all ages will soon immensely benefit from a first-of-its kind community hub right in our backyard,” said New York State Assemblymember Rodneyse Bichotte Hermelyn. “I’m proud to play a role in offering historic assets and activities for Flatbush, including a teaching commercial kitchen, a state-of-the-art pool, indoor track, a green roof, the Dr. Roy Hastick Media Lab and Business Center, and much more. The $141 million recreation center is carrying Shirley Chisholm’s legacy forward by championing equity with vast opportunities for minority- and women-owned businesses.”
“At the groundbreaking ceremony for the new Shirley Chisholm Community Center, it’s a moment of great pride and a valuable resource for our community,” said New York State Assemblymember Monique Chandler-Waterman. “This facility has been a longstanding need to provide our youth with a secure alternative to the streets. I’m especially honored to have been involved in the initial planning stages before my election, along with families impacted by gun violence, the youth, and my neighbors. Since taking office we created the Assembly District 58 Public Safety Taskforce that continues to advocate for more resources to invest in public safety and public health. I want to thank Public Advocate Jumaane Williams for laying this foundation, the mayor, DDC, NYC Parks, and my colleagues for bringing this to the finish line and for their commitment to investing in our youth and communities, so that they have the resources they need to live healthy and productive lives. This is a perfect example of ‘It is not an I thing, It is a WE thing!’”
“A portrait of Shirley Chisholm hangs proudly in Brooklyn Borough Hall, reminding us every day that Black and brown voices belong here, in our city, our state, and our nation,” said Brooklyn Borough President Antonio Reynoso. “I’m thrilled that we will continue to honor Chisholm’s contributions to Black excellence and the strength of our democracy with the new Shirley Chisholm Recreation Center in East Flatbush. Through community, health, and joy, we find the hope that keeps us fighting for a better future. Thank you to Mayor Adams, the Department of Design and Construction, and NYC Parks for breaking ground today on this tribute to a leader who continues to inspire new generations every day.”
“Investing in district 45’s youth, older adults and residents is an investment in New York City’s future, and I am delighted to have delivered the $141 million in funds to expand recreation space in Central Brooklyn for its families and, most importantly, East Flatbush scholars,” said New York City Councilmember Farah N. Louis. “The Shirley Chisholm Recreation Center is a long-overdue and much-needed investment in the betterment of our community. I envisioned a legacy project that included a state of the art and cutting-edge recreation space that this community has long deserved. I am thrilled to see the culmination of all of our community members’ efforts to advocate for a recreation facility for all ages, that will provide East Flatbush residents with critical services for decades to come. I want to express my sincere gratitude to Mayor Eric Adams and Commissioners Foley and Donoghue for their participation in the endeavor to expeditiously establish the most expansive recreation center for the people of Central Brooklyn.”
“The Shirley Chisholm Recreation Center is more than brick and mortar; it’s a promise fulfilled to our community,” said New York City Councilmember Rita Joseph. “It represents a space for health, education, and a stronger, united East Flatbush. Today, we break ground on our shared vision for a better tomorrow.”
“The Shirley Chisholm Recreation Center has the inspiring mission of serving the community with the same dedication as its namesake, so we are honored to bring our design-build expertise to this important project,” said Steve Sommer, executive general manager and president, east coast region construction, Lendlease. “By collaborating with Studio Gang, DDC, and NYC Parks, we are excited to successfully deliver this recreation center in East Flatbush.”
“I am grateful to have the opportunity to honor Shirley Chisholm’s legacy of public service with a building that will be a true community asset,” said Jeanne Gang, founding principal and partner, Studio Gang. “We designed this building to welcome everyone to gather, learn and play together, and enjoy the park in a renewed way.”