Some scaffolding is still up as construction crews put the finishing touches on an East New York community center. It's not only the first community center in the neighborhood, but also a first for the NYPD.

"We have great partners that have community centers throughout New York City, one of them being PAL. But this is the first one being run by a police department,” says Police Commissioner James O’Neill.

Built in 1926, originally as a courthouse, the building has nearly 17,000 square feet of space spread across three floors.

"We continually hear from young people is that there's a safe place that we want to be at. And we thought that this was perfect for them,” says Chief Nilda Hofmann with NYPD’s Community Affairs.

NY1 visited the building when it was dusty and vacant three years ago. Now, after a $10 million makeover, the marble and iron staircase are restored and new air conditioning, filtered water fountains and elevators have been installed. The money comes from the City Council as part of the 2016 East New York rezoning. The design ideas come from the community.

"They want to feel valued and we have to invest in them and this is an investment,” says the police commissioner.

The center will have a gym and a computer lab, and offer music, dance and recreation programs under a contract with the Child Center of New York. Members of the Police Department's Community Affairs Unit will be assigned here, overseeing the programming, as part of its community policing initiative. The NYPD says it hopes the center serves as a meaningful connection between law enforcement and residents. And that the community leaves its mark here, even decorating the blank walls.

"From murals to artwork. But we're going to leave that to our young people to make a decision in their community,” says Chief Hofmann.

They may even help arrange the new furniture that's waiting to be unpacked. The center is free and will be open to the public seven days a week from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

The NYPD says it expects to have this community center up and running by the end of October.