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:

  1. New Programming Space for Children with Special Needs
  2. New Senior Lounge for drop in and scheduled programming
  3. 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.”

Summit Community Center A Plan for the Future FINAL NO MORE from Summit DCP on Vimeo.


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.


1) How much will this project cost and who will pay for it?

The Community Center Improvement Project was approved by the Summit Common Council through the 2014 Capital Budget Process. The City will provide the greatest portion of the financial obligation and challenge the Department of Community Programs and residents to fundraise the final $1/$1.5 million of the total $5.7 million projected renovation costs.

More on the history of the Community Center Project…

2) Why now? What’s wrong with the existing structure?

The current structure has received only minor repairs and updates since it was built in 1954. With all of the original windows, heating systems, and floors still in place, the building faces constant HVAC issues. Recent studies concluded the building’s site energy use intensity to be 57.5% higher than the average comparable building. Electric costs were also found to be nearly $3,000 higher than the average comparable building. In addition, the current structure does not meet today’s standards in ADA accessibility, security, or technology.

More on the current Community Center’s energy, security, and technology concerns...

3) What will the expansion include?

The new and improved Community Center will feature a new, full-sized gymnasium in addition to the existing gymnasium, as well as dedicated spaces for both seniors and youth, additional meeting spaces, improved parking, and increased programming space overall.

The renovated and expanded building will also meet today’s technology and security standards as well as all Americans with Disabilities Act requirements. Additionally, the building will be fully equipped to serve as a Warming and Charging Station during weather-related emergencies, complete with enhanced food prep areas, shower facilities, and emergency generators.

4) A new, full-sized gym? Aren’t there enough gyms throughout the City already?

The Department of Community Programs and all allied sports organizations work closely with the Board of Education to utilize every available and useable school gymnasium. Only three school gymnasiums throughout the City offer adequate playing space and spectator viewing areas. Furthermore, the BOE often blocks practices and games from taking place in school gymnasiums due to school events or functions.

A new gym would allow the DCP and its allied sports organizations the opportunity to hold basketball practices and games seven days a week without interference from BOE functions. The DCP would therefore save an additional $20,000 a year in gym rental space.

More on the lack of gym space throughout the City…

5) Who will benefit from this project?

The Department of Community Programs truly believes everyone will benefit from the Community Center Improvement Project, regardless of whether or not you currently utilize the facility. The addition of a full sized gym will allow for more programs to “co-exist” within the building, therefore allowing the DCP to offer increased programming for City residents of all ages.

Dedicated areas for youth and seniors 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.

6) What does the City mean by a Public-Private Partnership?

The City of Summit has agreed to provide the greatest portion of the financial obligation towards the Community Center Improvement Project. The Department of Community Programs and City residents have been challenged to fundraise the additional $1/$1.5 million of the total $6.5 estimated renovation costs.

7) Who will manage the expanded facility?

The improved Community Center will continue to be managed by the Department of Community Programs. With a mission “to provide recreational and other related programs and services which meet the community’s needs, with special consideration for seniors and youth,” the DCP is currently comprised of 6 full time and 2 part time staff members.

This small but mighty staff provides year round leisure services to over 5,000 households, including youth, seniors, and special needs programming, as well as special events programming. The DCP is also responsible for managing and helping to maintain the Family Aquatic Center and the Municipal Golf Course.

As a multiple winner of awards from both state and regional organizations, the DCP is proud of its many accomplishments in serving City residents to date, and remains committed to serving the City with exceptional programming for years to come.

More on the Department of Community Programs…