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GENERAL BOARD MEETING COMMUNITY BOARD #9

Meeting Minutes For Thursday, February 18th, 2016

Present: Benigno Cuevas, Daniel Porro III, Dwayne Gathers, Felipa Manaiza, Henry Pelayo, Jr., Jennifer Ellison Lackard, Jesse Mendoza, Juan Torres, Justin Westbrook-Lowery, Linda Brown, Loretta Masterson, Michael Beltzer, Mohammed M. Mujumder, Nicholas Himidian Jr., Nicole Washington, Rogier F. van Vlissingen, Rosemary Ordonez-Jenkins, Reverend Dr. Sidney Hargrave, Sarwar Jahan, Venus Williams, William Rivera (DM)

Excused: Arthur Walker, Jaime Feliberty, Sabrina Ladson

Absent: Brandon Ganaishlal, Helen Foreman-Hines

Meeting called to order at 7:00pm

Public Session

1. Mr. Mohammed M. Mujumder, the 1st Vice Chair, was the first guest speaker. Mr. Mujumder announced the date for the International Mothers Language Day celebration. He added that he is displeased with violence being shared and spread through social media and that he encourages everyone to report to the NYPD if they see or know of anything.

2. Ms. Meiling Viera, from the Department of Health, was the second guest speaker. Ms. Viera announced that DOH is visiting all 59 districts in the City to properly inform the community of the Zika virus outbreak.

3. Mr. Lothar Krause, a resident, was the third guest speaker. Mr. Krause said that he spoke on behalf of the neighborhoods in the vicinity of Pugsley Creek Park. He reminded the audience about the ferry service that will be coming to the district. He said while they are in favor of the ferry service, they would like for the ferry service to include shelters for individuals that are

waiting for service while caught in a storm, to include more parking by extending bus lanes, and to make more of the parks accessible from the location of the ferry. Mr. Krause and the Pugsley Creek community also submitted a FOIL request to view all documents in reference to the ferry.

4. Ms. Julia Rodriguez, a resident, was the fourth guest speaker. Ms. Rodriguez came up to the podium and announced to audience that there will be a homeless shelter being placed at 2086 Bruckner Blvd. She was very upset that many people did not know about this and that she is tired of homeless shelters being placed in the Bronx. She wanted the audience to spread the word and help fight against this shelter.

5. Ms. Aurora Carrion, the President of the 43rd Precinct Council, was the fifth guest speaker. She spoke against the Samaritan Village homeless shelter being placed at 20186 Bruckner Blvd. Originally, she believed that the shelter was going to be placed in the vacant church on Bruckner Blvd. Ms. Carrion consulted the District Manager and she found out that the shelter would be placed in an empty lot. Ms. Carrion stressed that shelters should be placed in other boroughs aside from the Bronx.

6. Mr. Walter Nestler, a public member, was the sixth guest speaker. Mr. Nestler announced that he would be speaking about two topics. The first, had to do with veterans. He said that he comes to Board meetings and that it is customary to pledge allegiance to the flag. Mr. Nestler addressed a Board Member who is a veteran, Mr. Dwayne Gathers. Mr. Nestler presented Mr. Gathers with an American Flag.

Note: Mr. Nestler asked the audience to please stand for the pledge of allegiance.

Mr. Walter Nestler addressed that this month’s Land and zoning meeting was cancelled and that he wants the Board to keep to their schedules. He said that previously if a Chairperson of a Committee was not there to conduct a meeting, that either the Chairperson of the Board or the District Manager would conduct the meeting. Mr. Nestler also reminded the audience to be wary of who they elect to office.

7. Ms. Christina Rivera, from the Bronx Charter School of Excellence, was the seventh guest speaker. Ms. Rivera announced that the school is a free public charter school. She said that applications are open and available for the following locations: Parkchester and Morris Park. She invited the audience to an open house for both locations on March 5th.

Note: The District Manager came up to the podium and announced that the Fire Department will be making a 15-20min presentation due to recent fires happening in the district.

Business Session

1. Assemblyman Luis Sepulveda, was the first speaker. Mr. Sepulveda announced that he, Ms. Julia Rodriguez, and Senator Ruben Diaz Sr. would have a meeting regarding Samaritan Village. He said that while he has nothing against being homeless, but he does have problem with oversaturation in these communities. Assemblyman Sepulveda asked if this community is filled

with shelters, why they are building another one. Why not in Throggs Neck? Assemblyman Sepulveda addressed to the residents of Parkchester and announced that he knew of the proposed increase to the rent by 15.2%. He said that they have sought out an attorney to put in an injunction to stop this increase. The Assemblyman explained to the audience how local elected officials go about preparing and requests funds for the budget. He said that the budget is a three (3) chamber process. He explained that getting funds can be met with resistance by Republicans in certain items. Assemblyman Sepulveda stressed that when an individual says that the politicians are not doing anything, that’s not an accurate statement.

2. Ms. Helen Jerome, from Senator Ruben Diaz Sr.’s Office, was the second speaker. Ms. Jerome reported that the Senator was asked to meet with Samaritan Village and he refused because he did not support the Corporation that was backing Samaritan Village. She said he was very adamant and upset that this was going to be another homeless shelter. She reported that the Senator opposes the homeless shelter and that he is in support of affordable housing.

3. Ms. Taisha Guy, from Assemblyman Marcos Crespo’s Office, was the third speaker. Ms. Guy announced a Black History Concert being held at the Sonya Sotomayor Community Center. She said the event runs for 12pm-4pm and that there will be a jazz band, an art gallery, and food.

4. Mr. Tom Lucania, from Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.’s Office, was the fourth speaker. Mr. Lucania thanked the Board Members for their service to the community and he also thanked the fire department for their hard work in this community and the other communities throughout the Bronx. Mr. Lucania announced that the Borough President gave his seventh (7) State of the Borough Address. Mr. Lucania announced several highlights from the address. The Borough President reported that students who graduate from public high schools and go on to college are required to take remedial classes in order to be up to date in their freshman year of college. However, these students need to pay out of their pocket for the classes. The Borough President is proposing to the Department of Education that they be responsible for covering the costs of remedial classes. The Borough President proposed “decking” the train yard by Lehman College to add affordable housing and to extend the campus of the college. He also reported that he had ten (10) million dollars invested (in capital funds) to improve Orchard Beach. He is hoping that other elected officials will follow suit. The Borough President addressed the new Metro North stations and said that the Governor has been supportive of these projects and hopefully in this Legislative cycle, the full funding will be received to begin these projects.

5. Mr. Jose Rodriguez, from Senator Jeffrey D. Klein’s Office, was the fifth speaker. Mr. Rodriguez announced that he is the new District Director and that Mr. Andy Sales will be the District Representative.

Note: Mr. Justin Westbrook-Lowery commented that he has seen the process of moving a homeless shelter and the ramifications it can cause. He said that if they do move the shelter, that the battle is not done because they might move it to a different part of the community. He said that they should take the issue and address it at the departmental level.

Chairperson’s Report

Report was submitted. Nothing to report.

District Manager’s Report

The District Manager reported that the project for the Unionport Bridge replacement is happening sooner than later. The plans have been submitted and the project will begin soon. However, he feels that the project will take too long (4 years) and that it should be done sooner. The District Manager is concerned about the traffic that will develop while the project is going on. The District Manager reported that he had his monthly meeting with the Commanding Officer of the 43rd Precinct and that he is pleased with this new Commander because he is attending meetings, responding to complaints given to him by the Community Board. He announced the Nitelife meeting that’s coming up and it has to do with gathering businesses and meeting with them and going over safety protocols, etc. The District Manager said that he will be meeting with local elected officials at the Preliminary Budget hearings. He said that the committees are doing a great job addressing issues and that the responses are positive. The District Manager reported that he investigated the allegations of a homeless shelter replacing a closed church on 2094 Bruckner Blvd. He contacted the corresponding agencies and they said that nothing was filed and that nothing was in the works for the location. He said he received another address 1986 Bruckner Blvd and again the corresponding agencies said the same as before. However, when he contacted Councilwoman Anabel Palma’s Office, they reported to him that there was a proposed shelter coming in. The District Manager said that DHS has reported that Samaritan Village has not filed with homeless services yet. Once they do, they make a presentation to the Community Board and then the Board will have 30 days to reach out to local Elected Officials and voice their opinion. However, since most of the information has been released, the District Manager would like to meet with Samaritan Village before they officially file.

Committee Reports

1. Youth & Education Committee – Mr. Nicholas Himidian, Jr., Chairperson

The Chairperson announced the winners of the New York Yankees Community Council Youth Leadership Award. They were Ms. Tyiefah Sanders-Alleyne, Ms. Crystal Ortiz, Ms. Shellie Ainette, Ms. Irania Matos, and Mr. Kendall Johnson. The Chairperson also announced Mr. Justin Westbrook-Lowery as the sub-Chair and that he is working on the Community Board’s First Annual Youth Fair.

2. Public Safety Committee – Mr. Brandon Ganaishlal, Chairperson

Note: The Chairperson of the committee was not present. The District Manager would be making the report.

The District Manager reported on the Castle Hill Avenue Corridor Safety Improvements. The District Manager explained the proposed plan and that he agrees with some of the improvements and disagrees with others proposed improvements.

Note: Mr. Michael Beltzer put a motion on the floor to table the Cast Hill Avenue Corridor Safety Improvements project till the next General Board Meeting in which time Board Members can comment and make modifications to the project. The motion was amended by Mr. Justin Westbrook-Lowery. The amended motion was seconded by Ms. Rosemary Ordonez-Jenkins. Board Members discussed the motions and clarified the motions. Mr. Beltzer repeated the motion and the motion was seconded by Ms. Loretta Masterson. The Board Members discussed and came to the consensus to table the vote and request more information and be given more time to make modifications, ask questions, and give opinions about this project.

Note: The Chairperson reported that there was one more item to vote on. All other committee reports were tabled and the minutes were submitted.

3. Parks Committee – Mr. Jesse Mendoza, Chairperson

Note: Mr. Mendoza asked the District Manager to explain to the audience about Parks Without Borders and the upcoming vote.

The District Manager reiterated to the audience about “Parks without Borders”. He explained that the organizations goal is to make parks more accessible, to address problems in regards to parks, and to add amenities to Parks. The park/area that is deemed the viable choice is Hugh Grant Circle. The reason for this is because it serves as the Hub Station for Parkchester. Many residents utilize the train station and it would be ideal to beautify it.

Note: Mr. Nicholas Himidian, Jr. put a motion on the floor to elect Hugh J. Grant Circle/Virginia Park in the Parks Without Borders competition. The motion was seconded by Ms. Rosemary Ordonez-Jenkins. The vote was unanimous. The motion was passed.

Note: Multiple Board Members put a motion on the floor to adjourn the meeting. Multiple Board Members seconded the motion. The vote was unanimous. The motion was passed.

Meeting adjourned at 9:30pm.

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