No-Show at Hearing Infuriates Carrion
By JORDAN MOSS
Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion chastised Mayor Bloomberg and other city officials for backing out of attending a Nov. 19 hearing on the Kingsbridge Armory at the last minute.
Carrion said officials at the city’s Economic Development Corporation (EDC) left him a message the day prior to the meeting that they weren’t coming.
“I’m highly insulted by their absence,” Carrion said directing his comments
The hearing, held at the office of the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation (BOEDC),
was the only public meeting on the fate of the landmark armory held since the National Guard turned over the keys to the city about a
The hearing was intended to influence the city’s development of a request for proposals (RFP), which the EDC expected to complete this fall.
Also notably absent at the hearing were Council Member Maria Baez and Assemblyman Jose Rivera, both of whose districts include the armory. Rivera did not return several calls requesting comment.
According to EDC spokeswoman Janel Patterson, their absence,
Patterson said the city is in the process of “rescheduling” the hearing and that
Carrion said he wanted to hold the hearing to get input from the grassroots. “We know the best kind of development happens from the bottom up,” he said. “I thought it was important that we have a public process.”
The borough president contrasted the process he said he’d like to see with a plan former
Mayor Rudolph Giuliani favored to use the armory mostly for retail and
Despite EDC’s absence, community leaders and local residents set out their
Most speakers agreed that the priority was including public schools in the mix of development.
“We have a consensus from the neighborhood what is needed,” said Myra
But with 575,000 square feet and the probability that public schools will be relegated
to the perimeter of the facility, few of the other suggestions seem
Gary Axelbank, a spokesman for Monroe College, said his school’s sports teams do not currently have a permanent home.
“Considering its proximity to our Bronx campus, which is five buildings
Several speakers stressed that whatever retail stores are eventually included in the project should not compete with the area’s bustling commercial district on Jerome Avenue and Kingsbridge Road.
Rev. Katrina Foster, pastor of Fordham Lutheran Church, said there
Carrion and BOEDC Executive Director Ray Salaberrios laid out some guidelines for potential developers. They should have experience dealing with landmarked properties and working with the federal historic tax credit. Carrion said the ability to establish private and public partnerships was also paramount.
Carrion also said his office was talking with the Olympics 2012 Committee about
The only other elected official present, State Senator Efrain Gonzalez, offered his vision to move the city’s Police Academy to the armory, reviving an idea that dates back to the Dinkins administration. (Mayor Giuliani killed plans for moving the Academy to the Bronx soon after taking office in 1993.)
Many community members who spoke at the hearing objected to Gonzalez’
idea. Gonzalez said afterwards that if people’s objections were based on their concerns
Carrion agreed. The end result should be a “package of uses that makes sense for the community [and] addresses the spectrum of life from cradle to grave,” he said.
Click here for
Copyright © 2003 Norwood News. All Rights Reserved.