Opening of the Community Center Fulfills Governor's Longstanding Commitment to Honoring Dominican Heritage and Culture in New York
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the grand opening of the Juan Pablo Duarte Foundation Community Space in Washington Heights, located within the George Washington Bridge Bus Station. The opening of the new Dominican cultural and educational center was celebrated with a pre-Dominican Day parade breakfast for the community and a ceremonial ribbon cutting.
"The Dominican community is an integral part of our cultural fabric and this community space will amplify the Dominican story in New York while providing important services to the neighborhood," Governor Cuomo said. "The center's mission is community-focused as well as symbolic, reflecting how as New Yorkers we celebrate our diversity across our state."
"This new community center in Washington Heights will serve as a hub for Dominican art, history, and culture for residents," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, who spoke at today's event. "In New York, we embrace and celebrate our diversity that makes us the Empire State. While the federal government continues to attack immigrant rights, we're proud to ensure equal access and opportunity for all immigrant children and families."
Last August, Governor Cuomo announced the community center in Washington Heights would be located at the recently transformed George Washington Bridge Bus Station and would honor the heritage and contributions of the Dominican community in New York State. The community space will host workshops and educational programs and will serve as a meeting place where organizations can meet, work and promote the arts, culture and the history of the Dominican Republic.
New York State invested $1.8 million and the Port Authority contributed $800,000 to complete the community space. The Foundation, led by community leader Laura Acosta, will manage the space on behalf of the community and other non-profit organizations.
Representative Adriano Espaillat said, "This community space is the setting where we will have the opportunity to share our traditions and culture. It is no coincidence that the community space is located within the George Washington Bridge and Bus Station, a transportation hub that has served so many immigrants. Thank you to Governor Cuomo, The Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the George Washington Bridge Development Venture LLC for supporting the Dominican community."
Laura Acosta, Executive Director and Co-Founder of the Juan Pablo Duarte Foundation, said, "I am grateful and honored that the Foundation will manage this marvelous community space that will support a community that has struggled for years to get its own space to develop educational and cultural programs. Thanks to Governor Andrew Cuomo and Congressman Adriano Espaillat, on August 11, we had a pre- Dominican Day Parade Breakfast and ribbon cutting to inaugurate a beautifully designed community space that will serve the needs of our community. Thank you to the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey and the George Washington Bridge Development Venture LLC for their tireless work and dedication which ensured that this community space became a reality."
Rick Cotton, Executive Director of the Port Authority, said, "Last year, Governor Cuomo committed to building a community center at the George Washington Bridge Bus Station. We're proud the opening of the Juan Pablo Duarte Foundation Community Space could coincide with the celebration of the Dominican Day parade for the Washington Heights community. We look forward to working with the Juan Pablo Duarte Foundation to make the Community Space a vibrant resource for our neighbors in Washington Heights."