Jamaica Bay and the Rockaways
The Daily Plant : Wednesday, November 19, 2003
PARKS DEDICATES JOHN MALONE COMMUNITY CENTER IN BROOKLYN
On Friday, November 14, over 300 adults and children from local civic associations, schools, churches and community groups joined Parks & Recreation and the Bergen Beach Youth Organization to dedicate the John Malone Community Center, a facility that provides recreational opportunities for the residents of South East Brooklyn. Borough President Marty Markowitz, State Senators Carl Kruger and Martin J. Golden, Assembly Member Frank Seddio, Council Member Lewis Fidler, Congressman Anthony Weiner, Parks & Recreation Commissioner Adrian Benepe, Brooklyn Borough Commissioner Julius Spiegel, Community Board 18 District Manager Dorothy Turano, and Chief Joseph Fox attended the ceremony. Over 30 members of Malone’s family, including wife Joan, and members of the Bergen Beach Youth Organization helped to honor John. The Marine Park Junior High School Band performed at the Center located in McGuire Park.
"John Malone devoted his life to Brooklyn and the community’s youth, and this dedication is a fitting tribute to his commitment," said Commissioner Benepe. "With the support of the Bergen Beach Youth Organization, this center brings educational and recreational programs to thousands of Brooklynites."
McGuire Park, a 77-acre park, is home to a roller hockey rink, tennis courts, basketball courts and ballfields. Recently, Parks & Recreation built the John Malone Community Center there and renovated several of the park’s athletic fields. A new multipurpose artificial turf field was constructed complete with remote control electronic scoreboards for baseball, soccer and football. To accommodate baseball players of varying ages, Parks & Recreation found a manufacturer to supply innovative portable pitcher’s mounds. These mobile mounds allow the infield to be adjusted to the proper dimensions depending on the size and age of the players.
Another field in the park received enclosed dugouts, a new irrigation system and also a state-of-the-art scoreboard. Athletes and their families now can relax in the park’s new shaded open-air picnic area. The roller hockey rink received an elevated sky box for game officials to catch all of the action. Chief Engineer John Natoli led the project. Parks & Recreation Architect Richard Robbins designed the new center, and lead Resident Engineer Roberto "Bobbie" Bonilla worked with Resident Engineer Kurt Schroer to oversee the construction. Former City Council Member Herbert Berman allocated the funding for the entire $5.7 million project that was completed in October of 2002.
John Malone (1936-1991) served as community leader and was instrumental in bringing ballfields to the area. He was born on November 6, 1936 to Mary and Joseph Malone, Sr. in Gravesend, Brooklyn. In 1953, Malone signed with the New York Giants. He participated in their spring training camp but unfortunately sustained injuries that ended his professional sports career. However, he was inspired to create a sports program for the children of Brooklyn. John tapped into his sports expertise and began advocating for the youth of the community. His efforts, along with the assistance of elected officials, civic associations and community residents, led to the construction of additional ballfields and a field house on the vacant land adjacent to McGuire Park. In 1981, John founded the Bergen Beach Youth Organization. Thanks to his leadership, the Bergen Beach Youth Organization continues to serve thousands of youngsters through sports and afterschool programs. The organization also sponsors various senior citizen programs.
John’s family legacy continues his tradition of giving back to the community. His children count school principals, pastors and assisting public officials among their chosen professions. The John Malone Community Center and its nearby fields will continue to inspire both the young and young-at-heart to become involved in their neighborhood.
Written by Jocelyn Aframe
QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
"Law stands mute in the midst of arms."
Marcus Tullius Cicero
Directions to Jamaica Bay and the Rockaways
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