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When the Boylan Street Recreational Center was built in the 1960s, it became a neighborhood landmark, serving active families in the West Ward for generations. However, over the years, natural decay, extreme weather conditions, and neglect caused the facility to fall into disrepair. Basketball and volleyball could no longer be played on the courts because the ground had become unsafe. Eventually, the facility’s dilapidated state gave people passing by the impression that it was closed.
With the support of PSEG, Greater Newark LISC was able to provide the City of Newark with a $100,000 grant as well project management support to implement the needed renovations. The center received a new basketball court with adjustable goals, a state-of-the-art boxing gym, a new children’s playground, a multipurpose court equipped with interchangeable nets, and new lighting to facilitate games and events into the dusk hours.
On April 13, 2016, Greater Newark LISC, PSEG, and the City of Newark hosted a ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of the renovations. Rhonda Lewis, Executive Director of Greater Newark LISC told the crowd that the upgraded center not only provides new opportunities for recreation, but has also helped to reduce some of the blight in the area. “If you drive down the street, the colors on this corner make you want to stop and check out exactly what’s happening here,” she said.
LISC Newark recently opened two new Financial Opportunity Centers to help low-income residents get the skills and savvy they need to stabilize their household budgets. In a city where nearly 40 percent of households earn less than $25,000, the FOCs will offer specialized training for jobs in local industries, as well as financial coaching, credit-building tools and access to income supports to supplement wages—all crucial facets of building economic health.
Copyright © LISC 2016