Major controversy surrounds the Cromwell-Jerome Neighborhood Study area and Crains New York just issued an article on it. The proposed 73 block study area was the topic of the recent 2nd Annual Bronx Gentrification Conference at the Bronx Documentary Center this past Saturday.
In the article, Bronx Borough president, Ruben Diaz Jr’s damaging rhetoric of the “New Bronx Mantra” appears — this mythical place that does not exist — rears its ugly head as our borough president is more focused on white-washing The Bronx than actually working in retaining the residents we have.
Crain’s New York wrote:
“The bulletin board just inside the door at the New Settlement Community Center on Jerome Avenue hints at the shifts underway in the surrounding area of the South Bronx. A flier offering help to runaway youths is sandwiched between a notice on how to sign up for a winter farm share and a schedule for upcoming ballet classes taught by members of the Alvin Ailey dance company.
The two-year-old community center and its bulletin board reflect what Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. fondly refers to as the “new Bronx.” But just outside the front door runs a street that looks far more like the old model, one lined with auto-body shops in the shadow of the elevated tracks of the 4 train.
It’s that juxtaposition of new and old that is inspiring community leaders and city planners alike. That includes many within the de Blasio administration, which is in the early stages of formulating a rezoning plan for a narrow, 57-block-long corridor along Jerome Avenue. (Note: It’s since been increased to 73 blocks).
It will be designed to bring new businesses and thousands of units of affordable housing.
The first step is completion of the Cromwell-Jerome Neighborhood Study, expected by the end of this year. It will draw on what Mr. de Blasio has begun to do elsewhere, most notably in impoverished East New York, Brooklyn.
In the Bronx, the aims will be similar, but the means will likely differ. City officials and local leaders acknowledge that the needs of the five neighborhoods that make up the Cromwell-Jerome corridor—Highbridge, Mount Eden, Concourse, Mount Hope and Morris Heights—differ from many others in the city. All agree that community input will be vital to figuring out what can be done in a section of the city that has a median household income of $26,934, roughly half the citywide median of $52,223.
“This will be part of the new housing plan, but it’s not just about housing,” said Carol Samol, director of the Bronx Office at the Department of City Planning. “This is a big area with a diverse, long list of needs, so we’re looking at it holistically.”
Read the rest as well as quotes from the autobody shop workers and owners who will be directly impacted by these changes if they were to happen.
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