Assemblywoman Aravella Simotas joined Make the Road New York’s (MRNY) staff in Jackson Heights recently to present a check for $125,000 in capital funding she allocated for construction and outfitting of its new community center in Corona.
MRNY is an organization founded in 1997 that works toward securing justice for immigrant and working-class New Yorkers by providing free services primarily for low-income immigrants and their families.
The new Roosevelt Avenue facility, which is slated for completion in 2020, will be the first permanent home of its kind in New York City for immigrants and people of color. MRNY broke ground on the project last February.
“All immigrants should have access to suitable spaces where they can develop their skills for professional success, obtain the resources they need, and nurture their intellectual abilities,” Simotas said. “MRNY’s community center will be a place where they can achieve those necessities.”
The new community center is rising at 104-19 Roosevelt Ave. across from Corona Plaza. The 24,000-square-foot, three-story steel and masonry building will include an expanded number of private office spaces, multiple classrooms, a community gathering area, flexible education space, generous outdoor space, a commercial kitchen and a shared dining area. There will also be green features such as natural ventilation, non-toxic finishes, low flow fixtures and on-site rainwater collection.
The new Make the Road Center will more than double the organization’s space for programs and services and enable large and diverse groups to gather in one space and build collective action to advocate for fair services and policies in New York and beyond.
“This landmark community center will enable a dramatic expansion of our programs and services to better meet the needs of our communities,” MRNY Co-Executive Director Deborah Axt said. “We are extremely grateful to Assembly Member Simotas for this support to help make this dream a reality. In a time when many from our community are living in fear, this building is a sign of hope and a place where we will all belong.”
Simotas noted that the community center will be used for services such as English language and computer literacy classes, citizenship exam preparation, and for healthcare and legal service resources. She hopes that with this new facility, more low-income immigrant families will be able to gain access to services that they have difficulty finding elsewhere.