Long Island City Recreation Center
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As we all know, recreational activities are crucial for good physical and mental health, and no group needs that more than our neighborhood's youth. Our community is sorely lacking in recreational space and the continued, massive growth of the neighborhood is exacerbating this problem at an alarming pace. Development is not only taking away potential spaces for recreational activity but also driving up the price of real estate which could be used to build a state of the art recreational center. For example, the proposed Anable Basin Project will potentially add 5,000 additional residential units to the community, the Hunters Point South Phase 2 development will add 1,120 residential units and the 44th Drive proposal will add 1000 residential units. At the moment, neither project includes plans for a new recreation center for the thousands of teens and young adults that will be entering the community as a result, and while most believe that this need will be fulfilled by local schools, a May 2015 report from Comptroller Scott Stringer's office found that almost 30% of the city’s 1,700 public schools have no indoor space for physical exercise and over 32% lack a full-time, certified physical education teacher. A separate study by the NYC Department of Education showed that almost one-third of city students did not get the state-mandated minimum of gym class for the school year that ended in June of 2016.
These figures should alarm all parents and couples who wish to start a family in our neighborhood, because the less time that teens and children spend participating in recreational activities, the more time they spend on smartphones and the internet, which increased exposure to has pointed to a staggering spike in teenage depression and suicidal thoughts, according to a 2017 study published in the Clinical Psychology Science Journal earlier this month.
Physical activity and in-person social interaction with friends and positive role models can lead our youth to live healthier and more positive lives. However, at the present pace, all the locations for a recreational center will disappear if one is not included in these new developments now. These developments which are seeking zoning variances to add more residential areas or which are financed with tax payer money, need to help bear the burden of this additional strain on our resources and contribute to the community. We believe a recreational center is crucial for the health of the neighborhood and ask that a recreational center be included in and considered in approval for any new development in Hunters Point.
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