Last Thursday, Assemblywoman Nily Rozic announced that her office allocated $250,000 to the Selfhelp Benjamin Rosenthal Prince Street Senior Center in Flushing. The funding will be used to upgrade the stage, air conditioning system, floor, lighting, sound and aesthetics of the room.
“The first thing that you see is the auditorium itself, which typically houses major events, including its annual citizenship celebration and recognition of the center’s volunteers,” Rozic said. “So much active use, however, comes with the usual wear and tear.”
Run by Selfhelp Community Services, the senior center serves more than 4,000 people annually, and as many as 500 older adults a day.
Rozic said the center organizes a variety of activities, from computer classes and mahjong to exercises and dance classes.
The building also serves as an active poll site on primary and election day, providing an even greater service to the surrounding community.
“Just because New Yorkers age, does not mean that their facilities should do the same,” Rozic said. “I hope this funding brings new life into this room in particular and this whole building itself.”
Sandy Myers, vice president of external affairs at Selfhelp, said they’re still in the bidding phase of the project, so there’s no timeline yet for when the renovation may start.
“We’re working with contractors to get bids and figure out the exact scope of the work,” Myers said.
Selfhelp has received grants from other elected officials, though Myers said those are typically used to support programs, such as arts, tai chi and their virtual senior center.
Myers added that the auditorium is widely used for events daily. Several months ago, the center’s Chinese Advisory Council hosted a choir concert inside the auditorium. They also host citizenship events on the stage.
“The auditorium is really the heart of the senior center,” she said. “It’s a good space, but it could certainly use some TLC.”