Sunday, June 26, 2005

Bronx Community Meeting on Redevelopment

We had the pleasure of attending a meeting of the Mid Bronx Council and its Neighborhood Advisory Council. The Council’s organizer Lydia Sierra put the meeting together with the help of Greg Bell, chair of the Bronx Voices for Equal Inclusion. The meeting was attended by Assemblywoman Aurelia Greene, State Senator Jose Serrano and Councilmembers Foster and Arroyo.

The focus of the get together was the Yankee Stadium and Bronx Terminal Market developments. Green and Foster were particularly concerned that these projects might, through gentrification, lead to the expulsion of long time residents who had stuck together through all of the hard times in the community. Foster also expressed outrage over the treatment of the Terminal Market merchants. She has been a true righteous leader on this issue and will no doubt continue to be outspoken at tomorrow’s City Council hearing.

One could persuasively argue that the gentrification and expulsion of the Bronx Terminal Market is a harbinger for the entire community. It goes hand-in-glove with the Bloomberg push for “highest and best use” for city property. Perhaps the mayor is also planning to evict all of the public housing tenants at the Jacob Riis Housing Project on the Lower East Side. After all, that land is too valuable for the quality of the tenants in the public housing.

Transparency Lacking in the Southwest Bronx

The elected officials at the community meeting also questioned the lack of transparency in the Gateway Project. In fact Helen Foster, contrasting the Yankee Stadium project to the Gateway development, praised Yankee president Randy Levine for his openness and willingness to talk about minority contracting and job training. All of this just makes the issue of accountable development that much more compelling.