Sunset Park celebrated during networking event

The rise of Sunset Park was at the forefront during a meeting held at Dyker Beach Golf Course.

Board members from the Bay Ridge Real Estate Board, also known as the Brooklyn Real Estate board were joined by representatives of local dignitaries, local banks, members of Industry City on Wednesday, and more on January 7 to spotlight the recent expansion of opportunities and growth in Sunset.

“I couldn’t think of a better topic to kick off 2015 than Sunset Park. I’ve been in Sunset since 1981 and I’m happy about that,” said President of the board, Aldo Iemma. “This evening, we bring to your attention what Sunset Park has to offer and what kind of community it is. There are some people here tonight that have made Sunset what it is and what it will be in the future.”

Banks were recognized throughout the evening for their contribution to developing the neighborhood, with Nellie Piranio, vice president and relationship manager of Alma Bank taking the stage. “Even though there are a lot of bankers here today, Sunset needs us,” she stressed. “Thank you for opening neighborhood to our bank. Sunset is good to us; thank you for that.”

Representatives from non-profit organizations discussed their growing contribution to the community. Melissa Del Valle Ortiz from the Sunset Park Redevelopment Committee discussed the work the organization does around the community, developing upwards of 2,000 units of Section 8 housing between 43rd and 56th Streets along Sixth Avenue. The group recently transitioned to a Weatherization Assistance Program, funded by the Department of Energy, where they service senior citizens that can’t afford working refrigerators.

Other non-profits that were featured were the Sunset Park Lions Club, which hosts various charity events, offers scholarship for students and holds health fairs, as well as the Brooklyn Chinese-American Association. The organization discussed programs available to residents ranging from early childhood education to senior services.

Justin Collins, director of the Department of Workforce Development of Southwest Brooklyn Industrial Development Corp. (SBIDC), discussed the significance of generating local jobs. “My team and I work to help with local hiring,” he explained. “We’re unique among workforce programs in that we have two clients: the job seekers and the businesses. We try to bridge the gap between people looking for jobs and companies that want to hire locals.”

Director of Community Engagement for Industry City Cristal Rivera elaborated about job growth as well as the area’s significance. “It’s important how we engage in the local community,” she stressed. “The waterfront is amazing. This is a community that’s amazing. It’s strong. It’s vibrant. It’s as diverse as everyone in this room. That’s what makes it awesome.”

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