SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Plans to revitalize the vacant Casino building in Schenectady’s Central Park have taken a step forward. The city received $500,000 in state funding to turn the 80-year-old building into an environmental education center.

It will give local children and other community members a chance to learn about climate change and environmental justice. Local leaders said it will help address quality of life concerns in the area.

“And once the building’s occupied, the more people you can get in using the park and around here, the more that’s self re-enforcing,” Tom Carey of the Upper Union Street Neighborhood Association said. “That will reduce the vandalism and some of the less desirable behavior we sometimes see and let the park be a more enjoyable place for everyone.”

Two local nonprofits will run the center, and they’re partnering with the city school district to develop the educational programming.