City of Newark reopens JFK Recreation Center

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NEWARK, NJ — The city of Newark reopened JFK Recreation Center on Sept. 12, after the center received its first renovation since the 1980s. The center is located at 211 W. Kinney St. in the city’s Central Ward, with the entrance on Howard Street.

The remodeling included new bathrooms, a new gym entry, new basketball courts, the city’s first indoor running track, a boxing ring, a technology room, cardio equipment, weight-training equipment and a community/multipurpose room.

“The JFK Recreation Center is one of Newark’s greatest public recreation facilities, serving our entire city,” Mayor Ras J. Baraka said in a statement. “With this remodeling, we will provide Newark with a higher quality of healthy activities and expanded services for the whole community.”

The construction company that completed the renovation was Brahma Construction Corp., of Wayne; the cost of the project was $2.9 million.

Former recreation department Director Patrick Council oversaw this project, before he was elected as the South Ward’s council member. 

“I am excited that we are able to restore a place of value back to our community for many generations to enjoy,” Council said. “I am looking forward to seeing our residents enjoying the facility.”

Opened in 1968, the JFK Center was originally built with an ice skating rink, which was turned into the state’s largest outdoor/indoor swimming pool, the first built to Olympic size. The pool’s roof, built on rollers, enables it to be used in all weather. In 2002, the facility hosted several events of the U.S. Youth Games, which brought teams ages 15-18 from cities across the nation to compete in a variety of athletic events.

Photos Courtesy of Newark