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Friday, June 26, 2009

New Community Center in Mount Hope

Mount Hope Housing Company held a ribbon-cutting ceremony yesterday to celebrate the opening of its much-anticipated community center on Townsend Avenue at East 175th Street.

The four-story building boasts classrooms, computer labs, offices, a green roof for insulation purposes, and two large open spaces on the third and fourth floors which Mount Hope will use for events, and also rent out.

It's located near the Cross Bronx Expressway amid a sea of apartment buildings, in a part of the Bronx with few parks and playgrounds. In other words, it's a huge boost for the neighborhood. “I’m excited that we’re able to deliver this building to the community,” said Shaun Belle, Mount Hope's president and CEO. He called it “respite for them [children] in this concrete jungle.”

A fundraiser was held after the ribbon-cutting to honor Belle (who's leaving the company after 13 years of service) and to raise money to help cover the center's operating costs. Mount Hope is also seeking funds for the second phrase of the project - a gymnasium, to be built alongside the center on the Walton Avenue side.

We'll have more on this in the next issue of the Mount Hope Monitor.

Photos and slideshow by Alma Watkins. Holding the scissors is Shaun Belle and Councilwoman Maria Baez, who over the past seven years has put $7 million into the center.

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