Center for the Women of NY returns to Fort Totten

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A women’s resource center has been given the green light to come back to Bayside.

The Center for the Women of New York (CWNY) received approval and funding from the state’s Dormitory Authority to go through with a project to renovate the exterior of a historic Fort Totten building and refurbish its first floor.

The 207 Totten Avenue site will be CWNY’s new home by next year, officials said. The walk-in resource center for women will have a cultural and conference center and offer career, legal and financial support services.

“I’m thrilled,” said CWNY president Ann Jawin. “We’ve been waiting a long time. It’s good to know we’re finally on the main track.”

The Center for the Women of New York, founded in 1987, is a volunteer-based nonprofit.

Its Fort Totten operations were suspended in 2002 when CWNY was pushed out by a city Fire Department facility.

CWNY has been operating in Kew Gardens in a donated classroom space at Queens Borough Hall since then, but Jawin said the space is too small to be completely efficient.

The organization went from a 12,000-square-foot location to a tiny office, she said.

“Here I’m extremely limited in what I can do,” Jawin said. “I had a wonderful operation going there. It was very successful. I should not have been forced to leave.”

The state approval comes after a decade of legal battles and ongoing talks to return to Fort Totten.

Officials are completing designs of the new 10,000-square-foot space and expect to bid out the first phase of the project later this year. They hope to secure more funding.

The project received a unanimous approval by Community Board 7 last February.

 

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