HACKENSACK, NJ -- After almost two years of renovations, Mayor John Labrosse and the entire Hackensack City Council held a ribbon cutting ceremony to unveil the new and improved Mellone and Mariniello Recreation Center on Monday.

The so-called "M&M" building was built in the 1970's thanks to the community organizing efforts of Joseph Mellone and Joseph Mariniello. In recent years, the community somewhat outgrew the old space, which didn't have much natural light, or updated facilities. 

The center, which formally opens August 12, can now house a total of 17 programs, featuring a new full-sized basketball court as its main attraction. This basketball court can also double as two half-sized courts. Additionally, there is now a space dedicated for seniors, and a game room for teens.  

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“The ‘M & M’ recreation center has been a cherished landmark for decades, but in recent years, members of the community have expressed concerns that the facility wasn’t providing all it could, so we vowed to improve it, and after thorough renovations, I am proud to welcome this great recreation center to Hackensack,” said Mayor John Labrosse. “With new additions like our full-sized basketball court and a senior programming center, this will be a great space for people of all ages to recreate.”

“From my experience leading youth sports, I know how critical having adequate recreation space can be in the development of our city’s youth. I am so proud of the way all parties, from our contractors, vendors, and the City Manager’s office, came together to restore the Hackensack Mellone-Mariniello recreation center to a top-notch athletic facility,” said Deputy Mayor David Sims. 

Members of the Joseph Mellone and Joseph Mariniello families were on hand to commemorate the center’s renovations Monday, as was Deputy Mayor Kathleen Canestrino, Councilman Leo Battaglia, Councilwoman Stephanie Von Rudenborg, Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly, Board of Education member Lance Powell, Superintendent of Schools Robert Sanchez, Assistant Superintendent of Schools Andrea Parchment, former Superintendent Patricia Ruggiero, members of the Fairleigh Dickinson University Men's Basketball team, a representative for Congressman Josh Gottheimer, and Rev. Father Brian Laffler of St. Anthony Padua, who gave a blessing.