Several businesses have shuttered since construction began at Roberto Clemente Plaza and with the current condition of the site, landlords are having a difficult time leasing their spaces.

Four years ago when Mayor Bill de Blasio was running for office for mayor, he pledged hard to end the so called tale of two cities where communities and the services they receive were generally better in more affluent parts of the city.

But the mayor and his administration has failed miserably, particularly in the case of Roberto Clemente Plaza at The Hub in the South Bronx.

Although this is a project that began 8 years ago under Bloomberg, it is one that has been stalled for far too long costing the city more money at this point with all the delays than it should.

When Michael Brady first came on board as executive director of the Third Avenue Business Improvement District (of which I am a board member as of July of this year) last December, one of the many issues impacting the area which he focused on was to make sure that the plaza construction wasn’t delayed any further.

He brought together the necessary city agencies, DOT, NYC Council members to get concrete timelines on completion and at first it looked like things were finally getting done.

Pavers arrived, trees were planted and it looked as if it would be all ready by June of this year.

But then nothing happened.

Construction pretty much came to a stand still and a lot of it has to do with simply gross incompetence from the city. The wrong size power box which is to provide the necessary electrical connection to the plaza was ordered.

We were told that it would take about 3 months to rectify that problem.

In the meantime, pavers to line the plaza had arrived a month prior to that. They sat and sat there on the plaza with zero installation. We were then told that the wrong pavers were ordered.

What exactly is going on at DOT? How incompetent do you have to be for such continuous errors? How is it that a small plaza can take 10 years to construct, yet the Times Square pedestrian plaza in the madhouse that is midtown was able to be constructed in 7 years which spans 5 blocks and according to amNY spans about 2.5 football fields in size.

In a statement to Welcome2TheBronx, Michael Brady, said, “The Third Avenue Business Improvement District in partnership with the Bronx Borough President and Councilmember Salamanca have worked tirelessly to ensure this public infrastructure project comes to completion. The silence received from City Hall and lack of work undertaken by the DDC sends a very clear message to South Bronx residents, a message of neglect and inequity in services and resources. It is time that City Hall gets it together and delivers on broken promises for area residents and businesses. ”

“This project now in its 8th year is a symbol of the unfair and unjust treatment of South Bronx residents. After decades of community disinvestment, I would encourage the Mayor to get on board with the renewed community hope that is in our borough. The BID will continue to fight for equity in resources and services for the South Bronx and calls on City government to take action on the beleagered public works project. ” Brady added.

And he’s right. We aren’t second class citizens, we all deserve equal and fair treatment on all matters. We are just as important as the Upper East Side, TriBeCa, downtown Brooklyn, we do not matter any less.

“We will accept nothing less.” said Brady.

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