Since we first began discussing Cromwell-Jerome on Welcome2TheBronx and throughout various Bronx Facebook Groups, many residents have been disturbed by the idea of the rebranding of a neighborhood and the community not having input in even the proposition of the study area which was presented by Department of City Planning last month.
On Saturday, during the second tour of the study area which was hosted by DCP, Bronx residents disrupted the tour in anger. Welcome2TheBronx received calls and emails about what had transpired including their fear and anger at what they perceive is going on.
One thing which the agency insists is that this is something that is and will involve community input and they are giving residents the opportunity to shape the area. Unlike previous rezonings, this particular one is simply highlighting an area and we haven’t been presented with the Bloomberg-era two maps of the area: 1 which shows the area as it currently stands and the 2nd showing what it could be.
In conversations with Welcome2TheBronx, DCP insists that this is an effort from the ground up and that no planning has been done on their end other than laying out the study area and they are truly at the very beginning stages of the study. They are conducting these tours to get area residents input on what they envision their neighborhoods would look like. These tours will eventually be followed by larger community forums where residents can gather together under one roof and continue the discussion in reshaping their neighborhood.
DCP states they don’t know what the final form would look like; it could be more open space or employment centers if that’s what community input call for.
But many folks don’t buy that.
Because of the previous administrations, lack of community involvement, the anger surrounding this is very understandable. One thing for sure is that the Cromwell-Jerome name needs to go and it simply should be a study area. By calling it Cromwell-Jerome, the city is implying the rebranding of an entire neighborhood which already exists and is a conglomerate of several areas.
As citizens, we must exercise our rights to be heard and utilize the tools that which are provided by government. In this instance, we continue to be a part of the conversation and any planning that goes on in our neighborhoods and it seems that perhaps this is one of those instances where there will be true community involvement in the process.
Here’s what our friends at Curbed had to say:
“The city’s plan to create a new neighborhood in the South Bronx was shown to be a tough sell to locals over the weekend when residents disrupted a walking tour led by the Department of City Planning. The department wants to rebrand a 57-block corridor that is currently dotted with auto shops as “Cromwell Jerome.” New housing, both affordable and market-rate, would pop up along with new retail stores after a rezoning of the area. Seeking input on the existing swath for a new study, the DCP held its second walking tour Saturday, which focused on traffic and park conditions. But half of the dozen or so locals who showed up were more interested in discussing what they saw as a major move to gentrify the area—and they were dubious.
“Who’s going to be coming in when the project is done? That’s the question we have to ask,” said Jay Espy, an organizer with activist group People Power Movement. This calm reflection at Mullaly Park preceded a collective confrontation that would prematurely end the tour.”
Please read the rest over at Curbed: via Bronx Residents Disrupt Tour of Proposed ‘New Neighborhood’ – Gentrification Watch – Curbed NY.