NYC Parks & NYC DDC Unveil Design for Mary Cali Dalton Recreation Center in Tompkinsville, Staten Island




Rendering, Overhead view of community welcome garden. Image credit: NYC Parks.

NYC Parks and NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) are proud to announce the design completion for the brand-new Mary Cali Dalton Recreation Center in Tompkinsville, Staten Island. The first Parks ‘Design-Build’ project, recreation center is expected to break ground Summer 2023, will offer a variety of recreational amenities including sport courts, multi-purpose areas for programming, fitness equipment and much more. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of 2025.  

“We’re so excited that this innovative design is complete and brings us one step closer to a brand-new recreation center for Staten Islanders,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Sue Donoghue. Mary Cali Dalton represents the best of Parks, and we hope that this recreation center will continue her legacy of bringing folks together for active recreation and fun.”  

The design-build project delivery approach offers several advantages over the traditional design-bid-build delivery model that the City has historically been required to use, including best value selection rather than low-bid as well as reducing project costs, sequencing of design and construction work, durations and improving coordination between designers and builders. DDC and several other City agencies, including Parks, received permission from the State of New York in December 2019 to begin using design-build for a variety of projects. 

Rendering North View from Lyons Pool Deck. Image credit: NYC Parks

“Using design-build project delivery, DDC will be able to construct the new Mary Cali Dalton Recreation Center a full two-and-a-half years faster than it could have under New York State’s old lowest bidder design-bid-build contracting method,” said NYC Department of Design and Construction (DDC) Commissioner Thomas Foley. “The new Center will be a beautiful addition to the Staten Island waterfront, located adjacent to an existing pool complex, and will add new recreation areas and community space in an environmentally efficient and resilient design. We look forward to bringing the benefits of design-build to other Parks projects, including the future Shirley Chisholm Recreation Center in Brooklyn.” 

The first recreation center built from the ground up since the completion of Parks’ Ocean Breeze Track and Field Athletic Complex seven years ago, this project is funded with a $92 million Mayoral allocation through the Bay Street Neighborhood plan, which represents $250 million in investments in housing, public space, waterfront access, education, transportation, economic development, and infrastructure. The new facility will be built across from the former Cromwell site, over the footprint of the parking lot at Lyons Pool.

The design-build team of Kokolakis Contracting and ikon.5 architects were awarded the contract with NYC DDC to design and construct the three-story, 45,000-square-foot recreation center. The recreation center will have a covered garage, electric vehicle charging stations, solar panels, basketball courts, and fitness and cardio rooms, among other amenities. Community engagement and input is critical for design on Parks projects, and Parks held two community input meetings for this design in December 2020 and January 2021.

“We are pleased to see this project move forward,said Staten Island Borough President Vito J. Fossella. “This will be a great addition to the Tompkinsville neighborhood and the surrounding communities for recreational opportunities. We want to thank Parks and DDC for their work on this project.” 

“The closure of Tompkinsville Cromwell Recreation Center was a major loss for our North Shore community and I am so encouraged that plans for the new Mary Cali Dalton Recreation Center are full steam ahead. The importance of safe, clean, and accessible recreational and fitness spaces — particularly in areas lacking such resources — cannot be overstated for the physical, mental, and emotional health and wellbeing of our district’s residents,” said New York City Councilperson Kamillah Hanks. “Mary Cali Dalton was an incredibly special and beloved member of our community, known for her commitment to improving our borough’s recreational programming, and our new rec center being her namesake is a phenomenal tribute to her legacy on Staten Island.” 

District Attorney Michael McMahon said, “The loss of Cromwell was more than just a loss of basketball courts or community space, it was the loss of a “safe” space where young people from across the North Shore and truly all of Staten Island could gather and put neighborhood problems and controversies aside for a few hours to just be kids. In the meantime, the divide between our neighborhoods has grown and too often has resulted in violence. Today’s unveiling reveals so much promise in what the Mary Cali Dalton Recreation Center can be, and it brings me hope that when it finally opens, the strife between our neighborhoods will subdue, countless Staten Islanders will utilize all it will offer, and that our borough will benefit from the “New Cromwell” the way we did from the old one for decades.”

The center is named in memory of beloved, NYC Parks chief of recreation for Staten Island, Mary Cali Dalton. Born in 1953, she began her career at Parks in 1999 as a WEP participant before being hired as a playground associate one year later. Less than five months later, she was promoted to recreation specialist where she worked to enhance recreational programming until taking over as borough director of recreation in 2002. Mary was best known for her mantra of being in charge of the “magic,” and diligently worked to provide Staten Islanders with the most innovative, cutting-edge programming and recreational opportunities possible. 

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