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Sandy-Damaged Red Hook Senior Program Finds Newly Renovated Home

By Nikhita Venugopal | May 29, 2013 12:07pm | Updated on May 29, 2013 1:39pm
 The Red Hook Senior Citizens program will be relocated to a new center after its old space as destroyed in Hurricane Sandy.
The Red Hook Senior Citizens program will be relocated to a new center after its old space as destroyed in Hurricane Sandy.
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DNAinfo/Nikhita Venugopal

RED HOOK — The Red Hook Senior Citizens Program, a 21-year-old community center that was destroyed during Hurricane Sandy, is finally getting a new home, officials announced last week.

The program, formerly located at 6 Walcott St., will be moved to a vacant community center neighboring the NYCHA Miccio Center, according to a press release.

About $1.8 million has been alloted for renovations to the building, said Councilwoman Sara González, who worked with NYCHA officials and local politicians on the relocation.

Hurricane Sandy pummeled the center, last year, with 5 feet of flooding and damage to furniture, computer equipment and fixtures. Since the storm, the program was temporarily moved to the Miccio Center, located at 595 Clinton St., where it will remain until the new space is ready, according to an annoucement from González, Congresswoman Nydia Velázquez, and NYCHA Chairman John Rhea.

The location of the center is critical to serving the community, particularly residents of the local NYCHA houses, said John McGettrick, head of the Red Hook Civic Association.

But organizers should consider the neighborhood’s low elevation while planning the new center, he added, keeping in mind possible destruction from future storms.

“What’s paramount is the issue of safety,” he said.

McGettrick suggested that these centers, especially ones serving the aged and disabled, move their utilities and electrical panels to the upper floors in anticipation of flooding and superstorms like Sandy.

“That would prevent incredible damage,” he said.

The move-in date will be determined after NYCHA’s Capital Projects Division completes its estimates for renovations, according to the press release.

“I think that it is great that we will be in a new location and finding a new place for our program will allow us to grow within the community,” said Jose Ortiz, founder and executive director of RAICES, a nonprofit group that runs the program with counseling, mental health and exercise services, in a press release.

“Eventually, we hope to be able to expand to provide inter-generational programs and that will be a win-win situation for Red Hook,” he said.