BronxWorks celebrates McLaughlin Community Center's new roof

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Thursday, October 30, 2014

In a gathering to dedicate the installation of a new rooftop on the four-story Carolyn McLaughlin Community Center, 1130 Grand Concourse, BronxWorks expressed thanks to Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson, whose offices provided financing for construction of the center’s roof and for other capital improvements underway at BronxWorks.

Eileen Torres, executive director of BronxWorks, introduced the honorees who addressed the audience from a platform at the playground that occupies one corner of the 7,000-square-foot sweep of new leak-proof tile flooring, explaining other capital improvements in the works.  Borough President Diaz, talking of his long association with BronxWorks, said that the long-needed improvements are necessary not just for today, but for generations to come.  Echoing a similar theme, Councilwoman Gibson, also noted that all parts of her Bronx District 2 are served by BronxWorks.  

Carolyn McLaughlin, the namesake for the building who retired last year after a 34-year career heading BronxWorks, was among the guests listening.   Other guests included Bill Chong, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Youth and Community Development; Holly Bloch, executive director of the Bronx Museum of Arts next door; Wilhelm Ronda, director of planning and development for the Borough President, and members of the board of directors of BronxWorks: chairman David L. McLean, Stan Freilich, Marshal Green, Janice K. Hart and Joan Rosenthal.  Also present was Cathy Sharp, BronxWorks director of individual and corporate relations, who arranged the event.

Repair and renovation of the roof allows for children’s play and other functions during warm weather months, a key goal of the continuing capital improvement program. While the renovation of the roof was a $650,000 investment, another $750,000 is allocated for other improvements.  A new heater for the pool was also recently installed, and planned improvements to the center include a new elevator, a new boiler, and a new lining for the swimming pool.

Improvements to the roof consist of concrete-based tile flooring, with several insulating layers and a sealing membrane underneath the tiles, and will protect against leaking for decades to come. In addition to previous playground equipment, including slides, tunnels and climbing frames being re-installed, impact-absorbing flooring consisting of ground-up tires was also installed.

BronxWorks acquired the community center in July 1993 as a result of a merger with the now-defunct Girls Club of New York. The center, which first opened in 1926, includes a gym, a kitchen, computer lab, swimming pool, dining areas, meeting rooms, and classrooms.  On a typical day the center is used by 350 to 500 residents from the surrounding Concourse, Melrose, and Morrisania communities.

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