It’s here, it’s here, it’s finally here!

After a decade of construction, numerous stumbles and some lessons learned about environmental infrastructure, the Carmine Carro Community Center is now open to the public. Elected officials and the Carro family snipped the ribbon Friday morning, and park officials gave tours of the facility throughout the afternoon.

“The jewel of this community, Marine Park, now has its crown,” declared Charles D’Alessandro, Carmine Carro’s son-in-law who spoke on behalf of the family.

With a few friendly jibes about the long delays, D’Alessandro and the numerous elected officials who spoke at the ribbon cutting ceremony lauded the Parks Department for completing the first city building certified as LEED – an ambitious environmental standard.

As part of the environmental and energy efficient design, the rooftop boasts a solar farm that produces 10 percent of the building’s electrical needs. Vegetation on the roof insulates the building and reduces stormwater runoff, and the building’s temperature is managed by a geothermal system that unlocks the earth’s heat.

But the project had its fair share of stumbles, being three years late and more than $10 million over budget.

Click to enlarge

Money first began flowing from elected officials to develop the park in 2004, with an estimated budget of $5.5 million. That budget swelled to $11 million in 2008, and ended up costing approximately $16 million. (See chart at right to learn who funded the center.)

Some of the delays were due to contractor disputes, but others were simply the nature of attempting to do something as new and cutting edge as the environmental building, Parks brass said.

“You won’t find anything else like this in the five boroughs,” Parks Brooklyn Commissioner Kevin Jeffrey told Sheepshead Bites. He noted that green technologies are still maturing, and, like with computers in the 1990s, new technologies were coming out “every six months” that required them to review and revise their plans. “As appropriate it is to build it green, the technology was moving rapidly as we built it,” he said.

“It’s the first time out of the box with something this extraordinary,” newly-minted Parks Commissioner Veronica White told Sheepshead Bites. White presided over the ribbon cutting, and noted that the project was a clear priority when she came into her new role.

The geothermal technology is the costliest component in the construction, though Parks has stated in the past that it will decrease energy use by 45 percent, saving money over time.

Meanwhile, the project became a symbol of dysfunction at the Parks Department earlier this year, when a scathing report from Comptroller John Liu’s office blasted the agency for “not carrying out and overseeing capital construction projects in a timely and cost effective manner.” His report added that, in the case of the Marine Park Community Center, the Parks Department gave “no way for the public to know the status of the project, including the anticipated completion time,” and called the planning procedure “haphazard” and unreliable.

The new Carmine Carro Community Center has multipurpose rooms for community programs, a kitchen, skylights, fully accessible bathrooms, administrative offices and storage space. Programs for active adults and children will kick off later this month.

The center is named for Carmine Carro, a neighbor, activist and park advocate who lived across the street from the Park. He served as president of the Marine Park Civic Association for 16 years, and was known by friends and family as “the warden,” because he held the keys to the park. He served on Community Board 18, the local school board, on the board of trustees for the Flatlands Volunteer Ambulance and was a founding member of the Hendrick I. Lott House Board.

Many in the neighborhood will perhaps remember him most from organzing the annual Halloween Festival that entertains thousands in the park grounds.

Carro passed away in 2005.

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  • vintagejames

    What a waste of money for what should have been a couple of toilets.

  • bagels

    They could have used that money to resurface the tennis courts.

  • http://www.facebook.com/people/Gregg-Jones/527975393 Gregg Jones

    What a disgrace. $10 Mil over budget. All that money wasted to provide another building for activities when the other remains underutilized. These politicians are celebrating and congratulating themselves when they should be ashamed and apologizing.

  • http://kibblesbits.wordpress.com/ Ann

    Oh, come on, there are people building green ALL OVER THE WORLD. It’s not THAT big a deal.

    • phillyrj

      It’s a big deal when it went 10 million over budget and finished 3 years late.

      • http://www.facebook.com/annmarie.hughes.5855 Ann Marie Hughes

        That’s what I meant…it shouldn’t be over budget and late because it was green, and LEED certified. If my stupid Podunk town can manage that kind of crap, NYC should.

  • Dog Walker

    Actually, it is not open yet. The gates and bathroom are still locked, but the lights are on all night long. Very efficient.

    The ribbon cutting was a photo op only.

  • Shaun from Marine Park

    What was even worse then the huge cost was seeing the elderly use canes, walkers and wheel chairs to get there from their cars parked far away as our Councilman Lew Fidler ABUSED his Council Parking Packard and parked at the bus stop. What a shame!

    • guest

      Your accusation aside, are you suggesting that the elderly (plural) who use canes, walkers, and wheel chairs for mobility would have instead parked at the bus stop? And they would have been able to fit multiple cars where a single car was parked?

      • Shaun from Marine Park

        No! But does that make what Council Person Fidler did right? I’m just saying how it is disturbing how a so called community leader thinks he is above the law. You see, I’d expect one or two senior citizens who really are not that mobile to have parked at a bus stop and taken the chance that they might not have gotten a ticket. They did not, they have respect for the law and do not abuse their situation or handicap status. Where our elected official felt the need to ABUSE his city issued parking placard so that he did not have to walk to far. This is not Lew Fidler’s first time misusing his city issued Council parking plackard. He has a history of abusing it. Question me? Why not look up the news paper articles about how he uses it to park in the court lot or on the sidewalk so he can go into the offices of his law firm in downtown Brooklyn.

        I’ve been told that I have an issue with Fidler and that is true. I loathe him for his selfish vote for a third term, his choosing and defense of friends and criminals like Krugar and Lopez, his blatant misuse of his parking and his dishonesty. I believe that every time he stands up and complains about Bloomberg that he should start the complaint with the statement ”

        • Shaun from Marine Park

          Sorry, ran out of room. Fidler in order to be honest in my opinion should start any rant against Bloomberg with the statement “Mayor Bloomberg who I selfishly and with complete disregard for my constituents wishes allowed to run for a third term”

          • Shaun from Marine Park

            BTW Lew, posting as a guest can’t hide who you are! Just because you don’t post as Lew from Brooklyn doesn’t mean people don’t know who’s posting. The only person ever to post in favor of anything that louse Fidler in the last three years if Lew from Brooklyn.

      • Can’t stand Do for himself Lew

        It’s not an accusation! Should I post a picture for you?

  • bagels

    I hope they have a full time attendant during the summer weekends to care for those bathrooms. People may hate that building but the skate boarders love the railings and steps.

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