Since 1954, the Summit Community Center, formerly known as “the Edison Rec,” has served thousands of City residents and has often been considered the hub of community life. No other public facility in Summit has served such a diverse group of residents.
Currently, the Department of Community Programs (DCP) faces major restrictions in programming growth, despite growing demands. The proposed renovation and expansion of the Community Center will allow the DCP to increase both the amount and level of programming offered. The new facility will include these featured additions:
- New Programming Space for Children with Special Needs
- New Senior Lounge for drop in and scheduled programming
- New Full Size Gymnasium for all ages and activities
From children with special needs to our treasured Senior Citizens, youth, families, volunteers, and athletes; all will have a sense of ownership and pride in the new Community Center. “This focal point in the community should match the City of Summit’s reputation for excellence and exceed residents’ expectations for quality recreation programming,” states Judith L. Josephs, Director of Community Programs.
“It is our belief that an improved Community Center will not only serve as an incentive for potential new families to move into town, but will also help improve property values, and reinforce the decision of our aging community to remain in Summit,” Josephs further states.
The Summit Community Center has truly become a legacy building for the hundreds of thousands of City residents who have passed through its doors over the years. The time has come for this legacy to be expanded, improved, and protected for all current and future generations, truly shaping it into the place “Where Community Thrives.”
Over the years, only minor renovations have been made to the facility, beginning with the earliest in 1962 and the latest in 2001. The current structure faces major structural, energy, HVAC, security, and accessibility concerns. Following both Hurricane Irene and Hurricane Sandy, the need for the Community Center to also serve as a shelter in case of extreme weather has been strongly emphasized. The current building would not meet today’s sheltering standards.
Moreover, there is a strong need to create dedicated spaces for seniors as well as for youth. Seasonally, between 900 and 1,500 residents use the Community Center in some way each week with over 4,500 residents enrolled in one or more programs. This does not account for the group and organization use of the facility. Despite these growing demands, the current facility inhibits the DCP from expanding its programming outreach.
Since 2011, public meetings, focus groups with stakeholders and other workshops resulted in a public review of a total of 9 scenarios. The concept accepted by the Summit Common Council called for an addition of 11,600 square feet and improvements to the current facility’s existing 8,000 square feet. The centerpiece of the new addition is a full sized gymnasium but also features new and improved restrooms, meeting spaces, a senior lounge, youth area, kitchen and more. Parking, HVAC, security, and accessibility improvements are also a large part of the project with sustainability and energy efficiency at its core.
The residents of Summit have been challenged to raise $1 million dollars to complement the City’s commitment of a $4.7 million dollar appropriation. This Public-Private Partnership and fundraising effort hopes to exceed the $1 million dollar challenge to ensure that the facility is furnished and completed at a level that will serve the City of Summit for generations to come.
Residents Drew Maldonado and Jude Avelino will lead this effort on behalf of the City’s residents. They are committed to ensure that the goal is met and the vision is realized.
Become a part of this legacy project today.