An $85-million dollar project will bring a new school and affordable housing units to East Harlem
New York City Officials announced development plans in East Harlem for 90 affordable housing units, a bigger building for the Dream Charter School, and space for Harlem’s RBI program for inner-city youth.
The new building for the Dream Charter School is scheduled to open for the 2014-2015 school year. Harlem RBI opened the school in 2008 with 200 students at its current location on 102nd street. The new location will provide more space, accommodating 450 students starting from kindergarten through eighth grade.
“This building will be a place where New York City families can afford to live, children can get a first-rate education, and a fantastic non-profit can expand its services,” said Mayor Michael Bloomberg, “The partnership between the City, a non-profit, and generous donors is a great example of public-private collaboration making things happen.”
The announcement was made on a baseball field Harlem RBI developed from an abandoned lot in 1991. The non-profit organization, Harlem RBI, provides inner-city youth with opportunities to play, learn, and grow.
“In 1991, Harlem RBI constructed a beautiful baseball Field of Dreams with the belief that we could work the East Harlem community to build a better future for our children. Today, with 98 percent of Harlem RBI youth graduating high school and 94 percent going on to college, we are proud to help lead a pioneering capital project to support another generation of East Harlem youth,” said Rich Berlin, the executive director of Harlem RBI.
New York Yankee Mark Teixeira joined the announcement as co-chair of Harlem RBI’s Capital Campaign. He donated $1 million to the project.
“I had every opportunity to learn and grow, and some of these kids didn’t," said Teixeira, “So knowing what Harlem RBI was doing in this community, and knowing that baseball is the book, I said this is the perfect relationship for me to get into, and I loved every second of it.”
The city invested $62.5 million dollars in the project through New York City Department of Education’s Charter Facilities Matching Grant Program, the Department of Housing Preservation and Development, and the Housing Development Corporation.
The project is expected to create up to 400 construction jobs, and 100 new permanent full and part-time jobs.
WFUV's Alen Kanlic contributed to this article.