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Meeting minutes of Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Members present:
Jannie Armstrong, Virginia Bird, Evonne Capers, Leticia Cintron, Claudette Coles, Diana Diaz, Margarita Espinosa, Maria Garcia, Robert Holiday, Marie Howse, Sara N. Logan, Magdamari Marcano, Isabel Matias, Floretta A. O’Brien, Rosa Peraza, Rev. Hiram Ratliff, Wendy Rodriguez, Alexis Thorton, Lissette Torres and Perquida Williams.

Members absent:
John Colangelo, Annette de Jesus, Dior Doward, Frank J. Franz, Yesenia Graciani, Dr. Helene Jones, Thomas J. Murray, and Denise Sleigh-Bradley.

Elected officials’ representatives
Aurea Mangual, representing Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.,
Katrina Asante, representing State Senator Gustavo Rivera
Helen Reyes Jacome, representing State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr.,
Rafael Moure Punnett, representing Council Member Ritchie Torres


The June 11, 2014 meeting of Bronx Community Board #6 was held at the Fordham Towers Apartments, which are located at 480 East 188th Street, Bronx, New York; and was called to order at approximately 6:40 p.m. by Board Chairperson Wendy Rodriguez.


The meeting’s invocation was delivered by Rev. Hiram Ratliff, Bronx Community Board #6 member and Senior Pastor of the New Tabernacle Baptist Church.

Honorable Ritchie Torres, Honorable Maria del Carmen Arroyo,
City Council Member, 15th Council District City Council Member, 17th Council District


The following individuals requested to speak as part of the meeting’s community period:

Ms. Confesora Castoire, representing Unique People Services

Ms. Castoire informed us that Unique People Services provides housing and case management services to individuals with special needs, including those who are living with HIV/AIDS. Additional information about Unique People Services may be obtained by telephoning Ms. Castoire at (718) 741-0600.

Mr. Paul Fortunato, representing the Crotona Center/Rosedale Center

Mr. Fortunato informed us that he represents a non-profit organization that provides youths with low-cost tutoring and educational services. The organization’s local office is located in our community at 843 Crotona Park North. Additional information about its services may be obtained by telephoning Mr. Fortunato at (718) 861-1426.

Ms. Carmen Rivera, representing VIP Community Services

Ms. Rivera informed us about the new hours of operation for VIP’s health services component at 1910 Arthur Avenue, Bronx, New York. Ms. Rivera also announced that on July 16, 17th and 18th, VIP will accept registrations for its evening GED, English as a Second Language, and adult education classes. The classes will being in September 2014 and will be provided in partnership with the Eagle Academy for Young Men that is located in our community at Third Avenue and East 176th Street.

Mr. Carl Conde, representing SBH Health Systems (St. Barnabas Hospital)

Mr. Conde invited us to take advantage of SBH Health System free, health promotion workshops. These workshops are provided on-site at the offices of local community-based organizations for the benefit of their staffs and clients. Mr. Conde also asked that we remember St. Barnabas Hospital for all of our health care needs.

Ms. Cheryl Pfeiffer, representing the Bronx River Art Center

Ms. Pfeiffer invited us to attend the Bronx River Art Center’s groundbreaking ceremony that will be held on Thursday, June 26, 2014 at 1087 East Tremont Avenue. Individuals interested in attending may RSVP by emailing or by telephoning (718) 589-5819.

Mr. Cliff Tucker, Esq, from The Law Office of Richard M. Henny

Mr. Tucker introduced himself as a personal injury and civil rights attorney who is available to assist us on a wide range of community and personal legal matters. Mr. Tucker may be contacted by telephone at (212) 421-0300.
Ms. Sylvia Burnett Fordham Towers Tenants Association

Ms. Burnett announced that she recently turned 90 years old. She also stated that she wishes to see the Fordham Plaza Mall cleaned more frequently and thoroughly.

In response to Ms. Burnett’s latter statement, District Manager Ivine Galarza reported that the Department of Transportation has contracted with a vendor who is responsible for cleaning the plaza mall every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.


Copies of Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.’s report were distributed by his community liaison, Ms. Aurea Mangual. She then summarized key portions of the report, including the following:

● Borough President Diaz’s has completed the 2014 community board member appointment process. He thanks those former members who chose not to reapply for membership for their past service to their respective community board.

● Bronx Week and the Bronx Week Walk of Fame induction ceremony was a success.

● Borough President Diaz recently joined Assemblyman Jeffery Dinowitz and State Senator Jeff Klein at a ceremony where the two of them announced plans to introduce state legislation that, if enacted, will result in Jerome Park being officially designated as parkland.

● The Hunts Point Resilience Plan has been awarded $20 million dollars in funding through the department “Rebuild by Design” competition.

● New York State will direct up to $46.5 million dollars of community development block grant disaster relief funds to a project that will strengthen Roberto Clemente State Park’s waterfront and protect parts of the Morris Heights neighborhood from future disasters such as Super storm Sandy.

● Borough President Diaz will celebrate Old School Game Day on Saturday June 14, 2014; Caribbean Heritage Month on Thursday, June 19, 2014; and LGBTQ Pride Month on Wednesday, June 25, 2014.


State Senator Gustavo Rivera

Senator Rivera was represented by his Deputy Chief of Staff, Ms. Katrina Asante, who announced that on June 25, 2014 the senator will sponsor a “clinic” for small businesses. Additional information about the “clinic” may be obtained by telephoning the senator’s office at (718) 933-2034.

City Council Member Ritchie Torres

Council Member Torres was represented by Mr. Rafael Moure Punnett who informed us that the New York City Council recently adopted a resolution calling upon the New York legislature to change the law so that youth as young at 16 year to age will be eligible to be appointed to their respective community board.

Mr. Punnett also informed us that Council Member Torres will sponsor a housing forum on June 18, 2014 at the Bronx Library Center where representatives of the New York City Department of Housing Preservation and Development and the New York State Division of Housing and Community Renewal will be present to answer our questions on current housing and tenants’ rights issues.

Lastly, Council Member Torres will attend a rally at City Hall on June 12, 2014 in order to lobby for funds for New York City Housing Authority community centers.

State Senator Ruben Diaz Sr.

Senator Diaz was represented by Ms. Helen Reyes Jacome who invited us to contact the senator’s office with our concerns at (718) 991-3161. Ms. Jacome may be contacted directly by email at .


Ms. Galarza’s district manager report included the following information:

● The community board’s district office has received numerous noise complaints against Ruguva Restaurant, which is located at 621 Crescent Avenue. These complaints have been referred to the police department and the New York State Liquor Authority. Ruguva has received 29 violations.

● The community board is working closely with the New York City Department of Parks and Recreation regarding security issues at our local parks. We are asking the department to ensure that all of our parks are closed daily at dusk.

● Board member Virginia Bird, Ms. Galarza and representatives from Operation Green Thumb recently toured all of our local green thumb community gardens. We continue to monitor and work with the gardens’ caretakers in order to insure that they gardens are well maintained and in compliance with applicable rules and regulations.

● Fire hydrant spay caps may be obtained from a local fire house by anyone over 18 year of age. Opening and closing of the hydrants will be performed each day by workers from the city’s Department of Environmental Protection.

● St Thomas Aquinas Church will conduct a “Family Day” event from 12 noon to 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, June 14, 2014.


A roll call attendance was taken, verifying the presence of a quorum of twenty (20) members.


Ms. Rodriguez and Ms. Galarza then presented Bronx Community Board #6 Community Service Awards to board members Claudette Coles, Sara Logan, Jannie Armstrong, Marie Howse and Robert Holiday for having maintained a perfect attendance record for all of the community board’s monthly general meetings that were held during the period of September 2013 to June 2014.

A community service award was also given to Ms. Sylvia Burnett in special recognition of her advocacy on behalf of our community.


Law Enforcement Committee: Ms. Claudette Coles, Committee Chair

Ms. Coles reported on the business that was conducted at the May 20, 2014 meeting of the 48th Police Precinct’s community council. At that meeting, the council was provided with our community’s updated crimes statistics. The council was informed that overall crime in our community has diminished during the past year.

Housing & Land Use Committee: Ms. Sara N. Logan, Committee Chair

Ms. Logan reported on the Housing & Land Use Committee’s meeting of June 5, 2014. At that time the committee met with representatives of Comunilife and received an update on the organization’s construction the El Rio Residence, a senior citizens supportive housing project located at 2064 Boston Road.

Parks & Recreation Committee: Ms. Margareta Espinosa, Committee Chair

Ms. Espinosa urged us to be vigilant when visiting our community’s parks, and reminded us that the parks close at dusk.

Transportation Committee: Ms. Magdamari Marcano, Committee Chair

Ms. Marcano reported on the Transportation Committee’s meeting that was held on June 5, 2014. At that meeting, the committee received a presentation from representatives of the New York City Department of Design and Construction (DDC) regarding the city’s plan to reconstruct East 177th Street and Devoe Avenue, and to make improvements to that area’s infrastructure (DDC Project # HWPXP2007).

Ms. Marcano informed us that although DDC wished the committee to recommend that the community board issue a letter in support of the project, the committee was of the opinion that the department should return to make a presentation to the full community board and the West Farms community before the possibility of issuing a support letter is contemplated.

Youth and Education Committee: Ms. Perquida Williams, Committee Chair

Ms. Williams invited us to attend the Youth and Education Committee’s upcoming karaoke event that is to be held on Thursday, June 12, 2014 at the Belmont Branch Library, which is located at 610 East 186th Street, Bronx, New York


At this point an election for the community board’s executive officers for the two year term of office that begins July 1, 2014 and concludes on June 30, 2016 was held and produced the following results

Board Chair…………....Wendy Rodriguez
1st Vice Chair…………..Sara N. Logan
2nd Vice Chair…………..Claudette Coles
Treasurer……………….Thomas J. Murray
Parliamentarian………...Robert Holiday


1. A motion to adopt the minutes of Bronx Community Board #6’s meeting of May 14, 2014 was made by Ms. Virginia Bird, seconded by Ms. Williams, and unanimously adopted by acclamation.

2. A motion to table the matter of issuing a letter in support of New York City Department of Design and Construction project # HWXP2007 until such time as the department presents the project to full community board was made by Ms. Floretta O’Brien, seconded by Ms. Diana Diaz, and adopted by a vote of twenty (20) in favor, zero (0) opposed, and zero (0) abstentions.

DDC Project HWXP2007 includes the reconstruction and re-alignment of portions of Devoe Avenue, East 177th Street, and East Tremont Avenue as part of the Bronx Greenway Project. The project will also improve the area’s traffic flow and pedestrian safety. Water mains, storm sewers, traffic signals, street lighting and signage in the project area will also be updated.

3. A motion to issue a letter acknowledging receipt of VIP Community Services’ letter of May 22, 2014 informing the community board of its 22.5 million dollar New York State funded capital project consisting of a new building that is to be constructed at an existing VIP site currently located at 770 East 176th Street was made by Ms. Maria Garcia, seconded by Ms. Espinosa, and adopted by a vote of nineteen (19) in favor, zero (0) opposed, and zero (0) abstentions. Ms. Bird was not eligible to vote on this motion due to her affiliation with VIP.

The letter is to also acknowledge that VIP Community Services made a presentation on this matter to the community board’s Health and Human Services Committee on June 4, 2014.

4. A motion to issue a letter reiterating the community board support for the Wildlife Conservation Society’s (the Bronx Zoo) Intermodal Transportation Facility was made by Ms. Espinosa, seconded by Ms. Marcano, and adopted by a vote of twenty (20) in favor, zero (0) opposed, and zero (0) abstentions.


Ms. Evonne Capers, Bronx Community Board #6 member

Ms. Capers invited us to attend a hearing of the Rent Guideline Board on Thursday, June 12, 2014 at Hostos Community College.


There being no other business to discuss, the June 11, 2014 meeting of Bronx Community Board #6 was adjourned at approximately 9:00 p.m.

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