In his State of the Borough address tonight, Borough President Marty Markowitz will lobby to turn two Brooklyn armories into recreation centers with gym facilities. Currently the huge old buildings—located on Bedford Avenue in Crown Heights and on Sumner Avenue in Bed-Stuy—house homeless shelters, and, like the recently-opened Park Slope Armory YMCA, they may continue to do so. "The [YMCA] in Park Slope is just beginning, but I have a hunch in a few short months it's going to be jam-packed," Markowitz said. "Bedford Stuyvesant deserves it as much as Park Slope, and so does northern Crown Heights."
Sharing the stage with music and dance acts the project's ringleader will give his address from the shiny new Y in Park Slope, which finally opened last month after years of waiting. According to the Daily News, Markowitz has budgeted $1 million for each conversion, though the one in Crown Heights seems closer to realization. Other funds for that project will come from The Homeless Services Department, which wants to open an intake center for homeless men at the same location. It's promised $10 million, half of the estimated cost, and has said it will be "happy to consider suggestions for similar usage with the Sumner Armory down the road."
Still, some naysayers say a homeless shelter and a rec center "cannot coexist" at the century-old armory. Crown Heights Revitalization Movement co-founder Sandy Taggart thinks the Bedford-Atlantic project could succeed only if the city did away with plans for an intake center.