New center will offer sports and educational classes, camps and programming for children and community members, including free, low-cost and discounted opportunities to ensure access regardless of income
Mayor de Blasio, New York City Economic Development Corporation (NYCEDC), members of the Owens family, and elected leaders today celebrated the grand opening of the Major R. Owens Health and Wellness Community Center. The state-of-the-art, 60,000 square-foot retrofitted drill shed will serve Crown Heights as a neighborhood recreation center, complete with a 25-meter, six-lane competitive swimming pool, basketball courts, and a multi-purpose court able to accommodate a wide variety of sports, including soccer and community programming.
“Investing in our people and communities, especially in ones that have often been overlooked, is how we build a recovery for all of us,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “The Major R. Owens Health and Wellness Community Center will provide New Yorkers a place to thrive and grow for generations to come.”
“The Major R. Owens Health and Wellness Center is a transformational project that exemplifies New York City’s commitment to providing historically underserved communities with critical resources for generations to come,” said Deputy Mayor for Housing and Economic Development Vicki Been. “This center honors the legacy of Congressman Owens -- a tireless advocate for the residents of Crown Heights. I want to thank all of the leaders who partnered together to help bring this vision to fruition as we continue to work towards a Recovery for All.”
“The Major R. Owens Health & Wellness Center is rooted in community and is for the community,” said NYCEDC President & CEO Rachel Loeb. “NYCEDC and our partners worked hard to deliver a recreational center that captured former Congressman Major Owens’ vision, a place where people of all ages, all walks of life and from different communities could come together and have access to critical services and programming that open doors to opportunity. Now, children, families and seniors can benefit from this center for years to come and be inspired when they walk inside. We thank the Mayor, the State, Majority Leader Cumbo, BFC Partners, the Community Advisory Committee, our nonprofits, and all who worked on and supported this project.”
“Congressman Major Owens had a vision for Central Brooklyn, and this new community resource makes real one part of that vision -- providing Central Brooklyn's communities with the world-class recreational and educational resources they deserve,” said Chris Owens, son of the late Congressman Major R. Owens.
“The new Major R. Owens Health and Wellness Center will offer needed recreational and enrichment opportunities for the surrounding community. We have seen in the past year how young people in underserved areas can fall victim to cycles of violence when they are not given proper outlets, and Crown Heights was no exception. By ensuring local kids have a place to go, and effective youth programming at their fingertips, this center will ensure we are creating a safer, healthier Crown Heights for all residents. In particular, I am very proud to have allocated funding toward the new Brooklyn Pride Center headquarters inside the armory, which will be a critical resource for the borough’s LGTBQ+ community. I thank Majority Leader Laurie Cumbo and all the local stakeholders for ensuring this center serves the needs of the community,” said Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams.
The wellness center is now open to the public. Standard memberships for the gym within the center cost $30 per month, while seniors and low-income adults below the 200% Federal Poverty Level can join for $10 per month and youth memberships are as little as $8 per month. Additionally, 50% of memberships will be discounted to $10 per month for residents who live in Community Board 9.
The Major Owens Center will also welcome a variety of tenants to provide the following services and community programming at an accessible rate. With 35,000 square feet of office space for nonprofits, members will have access to a number of Brooklyn community-based organizations that will be permanently housed at the Center, including the Boys’ Club of New York will be the operator of the gym at the Center, providing high quality and diverse programming to the community.
Other local groups offering classes and programs include Imagine Swimming, Inc.; New Heights Youth; Brooklyn Pride; Digital Girl, Inc.; Ifetayo Cultural Arts Academy; Globall Sports Center; and Betty Carter Auditorium for the Arts (BCAA). The partners who operate classes, camps, and programs at the Major R. Owens Health & Wellness Community Center will work to ensure that their offerings are available to those across the Crown Heights community.
The Major Owens Center also has an onsite cogen plant, which will meet all of the project’s heating, cooling and electrical demand, effectively taking the entire 500,000 square-foot project off the ConEd grid, and providing safe haven to the community during brownouts or blackouts during periods of extreme heat.
Also part of the Major R. Owens Health and Wellness Community Center project is 415 units of housing, 60% of which will be much needed affordable housing for low income New Yorkers, as well as a 25,000 square-foot health center, run by Brooklyn Plaza Medical Center. These projects are expected to be completed by 2023.