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2013 - CSX, Conrail, City Year and the City of Newark bring together 80 volunteers to refurbish Ironbound Recreational Center


CSX, Conrail, City Year and the City of Newark brought together 80 volunteers from 8:00 am to 12:30 pm to build picnic tables, benches and garden boxes, paint murals, and construct an outdoor classroom at the Ironbound Recreational Center.

Newark sits on one of the nation's largest transportation super-structures including an international airport, major rail connections, major highway intersections and the busiest seaport on the east coast. For the past seven years under the Booker Administration, Newark continues to see signs of a strong revival. There is still much work to be done but Newark is on its way to achieving its mission: to set a national standard for urban transformation. Recreation centers like the Ironbound Center have thrived and grown under this visionary mission. One of 6 recreational centers in Newark, the Ironbound Center hosts a 300-person youth hockey program, an active and buzzing Senior Program, and many other programs supporting residents of all ages.

Its name inspired by the railroad tracks that surround the diverse East Ward community, Ironbound is the most densely populated neighborhood in Newark with slightly more than 50,000 residents. "The Ironbound Recreation Center is a hub of the Ironbound," says Tharien Arnold, director of neighborhood and recreational services. "There aren't a lot of places for people to go to meet recreational needs. It's a vital institution."

 

Volunteers from CSX, Conrail and the community joined forces to update the center. Several volunteers painted murals and bleachers, while others used hammers and drills to piece together picnic tables, flower boxes, benches, an outdoor stage and trash bins.

Margarita Muniz, deputy mayor, said that Newark has seen more expansion of recreation and green space in the last six years than in the last 100 years of the cities history-due mostly to the goals and leadership of Mayor Cory Booker.

"The volunteers are part of that legacy," she said. "They are part of our efforts to expand recreation in the city so our children can grow healthy minds and bodies. We extend our thanks to CSX, City Year and Conrail for their time and hard work to better our community."

The Ironbound Recreation Center serves 3,500 people each month. Their goal is to promote healthy, active lifestyles through the many services they provide. The facility has a pool and offers swimming classes. The ice rink is open for ice-skating and used for hockey games. Workout rooms and exercise classes also are available, as well as a soccer field and computer lab. Family films are screened on Friday evenings.

"This center builds relationships among the neighbors in our own community," Arnold said. "City Year is a great program. The efforts to revitalize our center has improved the visual aspect and will engage more community members to visit."

CSX Corporation, based in Jacksonville, Fla., is one of the nation's leading transportation companies, connecting customers to ports, distribution centers and markets across the eastern United States. CSX created Beyond Our Rails as an extension of our organization- displaying our commitment to Safety, Community, the Environment and Wellness through grass-roots volunteerism and focused corporate giving- actively engaging employees and non- profit organizations in programs and initiatives designed to make the world a better place.

Conrail is a terminal and switching agent for its owners, CSX Transportation and Norfolk Southern. Conrail provides safe and efficient rail service for many local rail freight customers in Detroit, New Jersey and Philadelphia. Customers located along Conrail's lines in these shared asset areas have access to the nation's rail network through either NS or CSX.

City Year is an education-focused, nonprofit organization, founded in 1988, that partners with public schools to help keep students in school and on track to graduate. In 23 communities across the United States and through two international affiliates, this innovative public-private partnership brings together teams of young AmeriCorps members who commit to a year of full-time service in schools. Corps members support students by focusing on attendance, behavior, and course performance through in-class tutoring, mentoring, and after school programs.

CSX is proud to sponsor organizations like City Year in their efforts to improve parks, schools, recreational centers and other public places in the many types of rural, suburban and urban communities that CSX connects and serves. CSX is also a proud sponsor of the City Year Kids Play Safe Program. In September, the railway was added to the Dow Jones Sustainability Index for its achievements in environmental performance, including reaching ahead of schedule the company's voluntary goal of reducing greenhouse gas emissions by eight percent and its "Trees for Tracks" program to plant one tree for each of the 21,000 miles of CSX track.

Location: Newark, NJ

Published: May 22, 2013