An old firehouse turned community center in Arverne is getting ready to open its doors to the public. NY1's Clodagh McGowan filed the following report.
A vision for a greener Rockaway peninsula is on the rise in Arverne.
What was once the FDNY Company 265 Firehouse is now the Rockaway Institute for Sustainable Environment, or RISE.
"It's going to open up a lot of doors for many different groups," said Juli Schroeger, the program coordinator for the Rockaway Waterfront Alliance.
For the past 10 years, the Rockaway Waterfront Alliance has provided youth programming with a focus on nature and conservancy in Arverne and Far Rockaway.
The not-for-profit acquired the firehouse in 2014 with plans of transforming it into a cultural and educational hub for the community.
"The thing we hear over and over again is there's no space for them,” said Judah Asimov, an outreach associate for the Rockaway Waterfront Alliance. “No space where they can host workshops, where they can have a test kitchen, where students can come after school. Again and again, the kids say to us there's nothing to do here after school. There's nowhere for us to go."
The RISE building was reconstructed to withstand future storms. Among other things, it has flood-proof doors and a backup generator.
"It does serve as kind of a good model for people to look at and then also to know that we will be here," said Executive Director, Jeanne DuPont,
While renovations are almost complete, the group still needs to raise $165,000 to cover operations. They’re running a GoFundMe campaign to raise the money.
"We do and will now have overhead costs that we didn't have before," said DuPont.
The community will get its first sneak peek inside of the RISE Building at the Rockaway Waterfront Alliance's Earth Day celebration on Saturday, May 7.
"We'll have more space to do all kinds of programming with the kids," said Schroeger.
The center is set to officially open in June. For more information, head to www.rwalliance.org.