By Mark Hallum
The Center for the Women of New York will hold its 9th annual walkathon at Fort Totten Park Saturday to raise funds for operations and services, but especially for the renovation of the group’s new headquarters at Fort Totten.
CWNY founder Ann Jawin said she hopes to have a turnout like last year, which raised about $5,000 for the organization established 30 years ago to provide assistance to victims of domestic abuse through support groups and job training.
“This is a way to reach out into the community and let them know what we do and who we are — then help us in this effort,” Jawin said. “It’s going to be a beautiful facility in a beautiful area. We once had a building there and we know how wonderful it can be. It became a wonderful community resource. While we’re interested in helping women, we’re also interested in helping the community. When you help women, you help the families and that’s good for everybody.”
CWNY currently operates out of Queens Borough Hall in Kew Gardens with strong support from the borough president’s office,
The renovation of the landmarked building in Fort Totten has been about a decade in the making, Jawin said, but city bureaucracy has stood in the way of completion. Originally projected to cost the organization $500,000 and take a year, the bill for perennial project is going to cost CWNY about $3 million before it is all said and done.
Much of the delay has been from attempting to balance preserving the integrity of the landmarked building while overseeing requirements to make the facility handicap-accessible. Jawin said keeping a sense of humor through these processes has been important, especially when having to deal with adding a ramp for wheelchair access which would have been blocked by a tree.
The city Department of Parks and Recreation had to examine the tree to make sure it was not endangered before planting another tree in another location to take its place. This process took about a year, Jawin said.
A fee of $20 is required to walk the route, and additional donations will be accepted for the march along Fort Totten Park.
The walkathon will begin at 8 a.m. and end at around 12:30 p.m.
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall