Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr, New York State Governor Andrew Cuomo, and State Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie with the “check” for $10 million awarded to The Bronx for the Downtown Revitalization Initiative. / ©

Today, Governor Cuomo came to The Bronx Museum to announce that The Bronx will be the recipient of a $10 million award to, “develop  a downtown strategic investment plan and implement key catalytic projects that advance the community’s vision for revitalization.”

Under Cuomo’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative, the purpose is to transform, “…downtown neighborhoods into vibrant communities where the next generation of New Yorkers will want to live, work and raise families.”

The area in question ranges from 165th Street down to the East River, West to the Harlem River and East to St Ann’s and 3rd Avenue capturing Melrose, Mott Haven, parts of Port Morris and the Lower Concourse which, in my opinion, is too large of an area for a “downtown” and it is incorporating neighborhoods and areas too far from the actual legitimate downtown neighborhood of Melrose where you have the concentration of courthouses located and other government offices. 

“Working collaboratively to revitalize our downtowns is the cornerstone of forward thinking economic development policy. The Governor’s initiative, combined with the work of local Bronx officials and South Bronx community based organizations, like the Third Avenue Business Improvement District, strengthens the economic fabric of our neighborhoods and provides an entry point for small businesses to thrive.” said Michael Brady, Executive Director of the Third Avenue Business Improvement District which sits at the busiest intersection outside of Times Square with over 200,000 pedestrians traveling through each day. 

Brady added, “The Third Avenue District is the heart of the South Bronx commercial corridor and is delighted to have the opportunity to work hand in hand with State and Bronx leaders to transform the Bronx’s oldest commercial district. The Bronx deserves equity in resources and investment.”

Governor Andrew Cuomo at The Bronx Museum today ©

According to Governor Cuomo, over 100 applications were received by the state for the Downtown Revitalization Initiative so instead of selecting just one finalist, 10 were chosen to each receive $10 million. (you can view The Bronx’s PDF application here). 
“How do we work to continue to make sure that The Hub continues to be the Times Square of The Bronx?” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. 

“This award will help us do that.” he added. 

While this is a good thing for our community to receive such funds to chart our future, the question becomes why now? Why didn’t we get something like this earlier when we really needed it? 

We know the answer to that and the face of The Bronx is slowly changing as developers are pushing gentrification upon us. 

Money ultimately talks. 

Now we need to make sure that these monies are put to good use so that our residents are the ones who benefit and not some hypothetical future gentrifier. 

PS. The Bronx never went anywhere so I don’t know why they say The Bronx is back. 

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