Thursday, December 15, 2011

Bronx comes out on top in State awards

Here's another story that didn't make this week's Bronx Press.

By Brendan McHugh 

For once, the Bronx came out ahead of the other boroughs in something positive. 

In Governor Andrew Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council (REDC), 13 Bronx and borough-related projects were tapped as top development priorities and therefore will receive funds nearing $37 million. 

Throughout the entire city, $66.2 million has awarded. This includes $29.5 million that will be used for the redevelopment of the Hunts Point Produce Market, as well as smaller grants for other borough projects. 

“I am extremely gratified that both Governor Cuomo and our State’s economic development leadership understand the importance of the Hunts Point Produce Market not only as a transformative economic engine for the Bronx, but for the entire region,” Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said in a statement. “Investing in the market and building a new 21st century facility will both preserve and create jobs here in the Bronx while also expanding opportunities for upstate farmers.” 

The New York City Economic Development Corp., which worked with Diaz and other Bronx officials to help keep Hunts Point from moving to New Jersey, said they will continue to fight for the redevelopment of the produce market to take place in the borough.

Jump below for the full story.
“We will continue to work with our local, state and federal partners to come up with the significant funds that it would take to renovate the market and we are optimistic a long-term solution will be reached that will best serve the buyers, sellers, and taxpayers,” said Kyle Sklerov, an EDC spokesperson. 

Other projects selected include $1.125 million to the New York City Department of Parks & Recreation for the St. Mary’s Recreation Center “Green Streets & Green Roots” project, as well as $1 million each for the Praxis affordable housing development on White Plains Road and an affordable housing development on E. 144th Street. 

In total, $785 million was awarded through the REDC initiative, continuing Cuomo’s efforts to redesign the way state government works in order to drive economic growth and create jobs. 

While the news was good for the Bronx, in comparison to the rest of the state, New York City as a whole did not fare so well. 

The city received about $40 million less than each of the winners. Central New York “won” $103.7 million and the North Country received $103.2 million. 

According to reports, Cuomo, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver and state Senate Majority Leader Dean Skelos all agreed to repeat the contest next year, to give all the regions another shot at the funds. 

Announced in July, Regional Councils represent a fundamental shift in the state's approach to economic development from a top-down development model to a community-based, performance driven approach, which empowers individual areas to develop comprehensive strategic plans that invest in regional solutions to create jobs and economic growth. 

The state held more than 100 meetings and public forums. Lt. Gov. Robert Duffy alone attended 59 meetings statewide. 

"Regional collaborations and planning is a roadmap to get New Yorkers back to work," Cuomo said in a statement. "The plans submitted by all ten regions were truly extraordinary. For the first time, we are putting the power of the State Government behind the innovation of our people, giving them the tools to rebuild our economy."

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