BOSTON – Saturday, July 15, 2017 – Mayor Martin J. Walsh, members of Boston Centers for Youth & Families (BCYF) and the City of Boston’s Public Facilities Department today celebrated the reopening of the BCYF Paris Street Community Center and dedication of the Anthony Albano Basketball Court with a ribbon cutting ceremony and basketball court dedication that was attended by community members and elected officials. This $12 million, two-year renovation highlights Boston’s $55 million Capital Plan investments in BCYF projects since 2016.
“For over 100 years this center has been the heart of the community — and now it’s ready to serve East Boston residents for another 100 years,” said Mayor Walsh. “This renovation is a great example of how we’re enhancing our community spaces to meet the changing needs and populations of our residents. I look forward to residents enjoying all the facilities this center has to offer.”
The renovation of the center includes interior upgrades of all mechanical systems and boilers, window replacements, exterior and interior door replacements, athletic facility improvements, teledata upgrades and new furniture and equipment. Among the new features are a new teen center, a dance studio, a community room, new exercise spaces, a rock climbing wall, and an entire new floor of programming space. Technology improvements include a computer lab with 26 computers, wifi throughout the building and large screen TVs. A batting cage was also installed thanks to a partnership with the Red Sox Foundation and the Major League Baseball Foundation. BCYF Paris Street Community Center is open seven days a week, Monday through Saturday, 6:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. and Sunday, 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.
During the reopening celebration, the gym was dedicated to the late Anthony “Tony” Albano who impacted thousands of youth during his more than 40 years of service to East Boston High School.
“I can’t think of a more fitting tribute to a man that impacted so many lives in East Boston,” said longtime friend and City Councilor Sal LaMattina. “When I was a kid, my friends and I would always watch Tony Albano and the other older guys play basketball. They were our first sports heroes but his contribution went beyond being a sports mentor to us. He helped so many kids stay in school; he’d give kids money so they could buy their prom dresses or rent tuxedos, he’d call me all the time on behalf of a student that needed help. This will be a great tribute to a great man.”
“Growing up in the Maverick projects as an underprivileged youth, our father always credited sports as an outlet to compete in a safe, structured environment,” said Anthony Albano, Jr. “His participation in sports is what kept him off the streets and focused on something positive. Decades later, the Paris Street Community Center still serves that important role for so many youth and young adults in our neighborhood.”
BCYF, the City of Boston’s Public Facilities Department, and Fennick McCredie Architecture collaborated closely with Boston Building & Bridge Corporation, the general contractor, on this project. With the renovation of this center, nearly all BCYF centers in free-standing municipal buildings – those not in shared space within BPS school buildings – have been renovated at least once in the past decade.
“I’m so excited for our gym to reopen,” said Ervin Lemus, age 19, a longtime BCYF Paris Street Community Center member who spoke at the event. “Paris Street is a second home for a lot of youth and we can’t wait to be back.”
About Boston Centers for Youth and Families
Boston Centers for Youth & Families (BCYF) is the City of Boston’s largest youth and human service agency. BCYF operates 36 community centers in Boston that offer a variety of engaging and enriching programs for people of all ages created through community input and need. BCYF also oversees many citywide programs including the nationally-recognized violence intervention and prevention Streetworker Program and SuccessLink, Mayor’s Summer Jobs Program.