On October 22, 2019, Westhab’s real estate development team, led by Senior Vice President Andrew Germany, headed to Manhattan for the financial closing of the $45 million Dayspring Campus project. The project includes the construction of Dayspring Commons (a 63-unit, brand-new, high-quality affordable and supportive rental building designed with families in mind) as well as the bulk of the cost of the renovation of the Dayspring Community Center. The Dayspring Campus project will bring the largest investment in a generation to Nodine Hill in Yonkers, one of Westchester’s most economically challenged neighborhoods.
According to Rich Nightingale, Westhab’s president and CEO, “This is an incredible day for Westhab and for the Nodine Hill community. It is a day our team has worked tirelessly for but could hardly have imagined even a few short years ago.”
Westhab has been a presence in Nodine Hill since the mid-nineties when it stepped in to purchase five buildings along Elm Street that were in dire need of repair and sound management. Community development efforts quickly followed, including grassroots community organizing, a Weed & Seed initiative, and an effort to support small business owners. In 2006, Westhab opened the Elm Street Youth Center in the vacant manse of the Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church. In 2008, the Elm Street Community Resource Center was added to the mix. For the next several years, Westhab remained an active participant in community life, providing extensive input on the Nodine Hill Urban Renewal Plan and Master Plan and launching the Nodine Hill Task Force along with residents, the Yonkers Police Department, and wide range of community partners.
The Beginning of a New Day
In 2015, the next chapter in Westhab’s Nodine Hill story began, and it was inextricably linked to the next chapter in the life of the Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church. The Good Shepherd congregation, in its final years, had hoped to develop a more robust church community that could offer needed programs in addition to religious services. But, as finances grew tight, Good Shepherd was instead faced with shuttering its historic doors—and Nodine Hill was at risk of losing a critical community institution and large public space.
Understanding that Westhab was the only organization with deep roots in the community and the capacity to invest in quality service programs, Good Shepherd turned to Westhab with a creative solution: they would sell the building to Westhab for a nominal fee and support an ambitious adaptive reuse plan to bring the building back to life as the full-service, state-of-the-art community center that Nodine Hill sorely needed. In return, the Church would continue to be allowed to congregate in the building on Sundays.
At its start in 1879, the Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church was the Dayspring Presbyterian Church. When Westhab purchased the church building, the name was changed to the Dayspring Community Center to pay homage to the building’s history—and to signal that it was a new day and that a new light is shining on Nodine Hill.
The Vision Expands—Dayspring Commons
In 2016, Westhab seized the opportunity to purchase the parcel of land adjacent to the Dayspring Community Center, and the vision for the adjoining properties quickly grew to include Dayspring Commons. Together, the Dayspring Community Center and the Dayspring Commons residential building will become the Dayspring Campus—an anchor for the community and a catalyst for further community development.
The Dayspring Campaign (for the Dayspring Community Center)
After purchasing the Good Shepherd Presbyterian church building in late 2015, Westhab began a capital campaign to raise the funds necessary to transform the space into the full-service, state-of-the-art, Dayspring Community Center. In the first phase of the campaign, more than $1 million in gifts and pledges was raised from private individuals and foundations. In 2019, the Dayspring Campaign was transformed when the innovative plan to fold the financing for the bulk of the renovation of the Dayspring Community Center into the Dayspring Commons residential project was put in place. This exciting development allowed Westhab to relaunch the $5 million campaign as an effort to close the remaining capital gap for the renovation (approximately $2 million) and to build a program fund so that Westhab will have the resources to run state-of-the-art programs when the state-of-the-art Dayspring Community Center reopens in the fall of 2021. As of October 2019, Westhab has raised $1.7 million for the community center from private individuals and foundations.
Shovels in the Ground
In a few short weeks, construction of the Dayspring Commons residence and the renovation of the Dayspring Community Center will begin. A groundbreaking ceremony is planned for late November where Westhab will recognize the government partners, corporate partners, and private individuals and foundations that have helped make this dream a reality.
To read a recent Journal News article on Dayspring click HERE.
To watch a video about the Dayspring Community Center and learn more about the Dayspring Campaign click HERE.