Monday, July 11, 2005

Bronx Terminal Project to be Certified Today

Alexandra Ochoa, in today’s Hoy, confirms that the Related Companies’ application to redevelop the Bronx Terminal Market will be certified today much to the chagrin of community leaders. These leaders of various South Bronx community-based organizations feel like this is a done deal that is being fast-tracked to circumvent true community input.

Though the Department of City Planning’s spokeswoman Rachaele Raynoff says that there will be plenty of opportunities for public input in the next 7 months, the track record so far doesn’t inspire too much optimism. First we have the deal to bring in Related which was done in secret, without any competitive bidding and involves, without public oversight, the swapping of city-owned land. Second, the scoping hearing for Gateway's Environmental Impact Statement was only attended by 5 community members outside the Community Board. Third, we have the fact that, as Ochoa points out, very few people in the South Bronx know the details of the Gateway project despite the fact that Related has promised a Community Benefits Agreement and has had this project in the works for years. And then there’s the question of why the project is being quickly certified in the summer when the Community Board is in recess and will, as a result, only have about a week to consider the application when they return in September.

Again, we call on the Related Companies to withdraw their application until the fate of the current Terminal Market tenants is negotiated and the community is brought to the table for a concrete benefits discussion.