The School Settlement Association was established in 1901 and moved into the brick building at 120 Jackson Street in 1930. Over the years it has established a strong legacy in the community; some families can trace six generations that have gone to School Sett. It also has a pedigree in American Literature, as Betty Smith, author of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn was educated there.
Although time builds heritage it also weakens brick and mortar. The neighborhood has also grown and School Settlement Association is straining to grow with it. There is a need for gym space. Many schools in the area don’t have gymnasiums. Even School Sett’s gym is small and holds an abbreviated basket ball court.
“The need is here, it’s time to step up. You ever hear that somebody has to stand up for the little guy?” Joseph Robles, St. Nicks Alliance’s Board Chair, was quoted in the Greenpoint Star “There are a lot of little guys here, and we have to stand up for them.”
The new community center will address all ages in the community. Old to young will have a place to go for physical, mental, and well being activities.
The total cost to rebuild the center is $23,334,837. Funding will come from State and City Capital requests. St. Nicks Alliance has put up $1.486M and the remainder will come from foundations/private funding sources. There is a $2.5M gap in this remainder for additional fundraising, but there is a solid plan in place to fill this gap.
There will be more rallies as the community is needed to show their support and the demand for this new community center. A united and persistent community voice is the push that can actualize the funding sources for this project.