Written by Stephen Levine Friday, 31 August 2012 00:00
The “Yes We Can” Community Center, located at 141 Garden Street in Westbury, is putting the finishing touches on its two-year construction and is ready to meet the needs of its community.
“There has been a long history of need for this,” said April Brown Lake, facility director, adding, “That need has been met.”
Walking into the front entrance of the community center, one will notice the spacious atrium where residents can relax at the Internet café. The first floor contains a majority of the center’s activities, providing opportunities to play, learn and take a timeout from the stresses of everyday life.
Two NBA-sized basketball courts, where children or adults of all ages can play basketball and other sports, can be found on the first floor. The gymnasium also features a stage on one side where a theatre and arts program will be created.
In addition to the recreational opportunities available on the first floor, residents will be able to learn and find many other ways to pass the time.
Reading rooms, tutoring rooms and computer training rooms will all be available for children to gain knowledge outside of their schools.
Once the educational needs of the young residents are met, they can enjoy the teen game room, where video games, as well as other activities, will be offered.
For the older members of the community, there will also be a senior lounge where senior citizens can meet to talk or take part in various activities.
Also on the first floor is a production studio, where television and radio shows will be broadcast for the Town of North Hempstead. There will also be a gallery of artwork on display by town residents looking to show off their creative sides.
“It helps to be a wonderful destination point and a safe haven for all,” said Lake. “It provides recreational, cultural and educational components all in one meeting place.”
In addition to the benefits it provides for the community, it also provides a variety of “green” benefits to the environment.
The new community center is among the most energy efficient buildings in New York State. The platinum LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environment Design) certified structure features rooftop solar panels, grade-level solar trees, electric vehicle recharging stations and geothermal heating and cooling. The platinum certification is a component of the building that Lake and the other vital members of the center are “really, really proud of.”
The second floor houses a warming kitchen, where residents can heat food they brought to the center and prepare meals for their family and friends. The food can be served in the banquet room, located adjacent to the warming kitchen. Children’s birthday parties and other events can take place in the banquet room for all residents. Also located on the second floor are meeting rooms where issues about the town and community can be among the topics of conversation.
For those residents looking to use the community center as a workout station, the lower level is the destination, as it offers a full-sized fitness center complete with lockers and showers for all looking to get the heart pumping.
Also on the lower level is a full-sized dance and aerobics studio, where yoga and Zumba classes will be held. Down the hall from the studio and fitness center is public safety, where the center keeps a watchful eye to make it safe and worry-free for all looking to take part in the community center.
The North Hempstead “Yes We Can” Community Center was partially funded by the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act as well as Neptune Regional Transmission System and welcomes residents of all ages to enjoy the facility.
“The entire community is welcome here,” said Lake. “We’re looking to provide open arms to all of our residents.”