From The Mayor's Desk ...
In July, New York will host Major League Baseball's All-Star Game at Yankee Stadium - an event that will put the South Bronx in the national spotlight. And that's great news because the South Bronx is back - and ready for its close-up on the world stage. Over the past six years, we've done a lot of work to revitalize this area. As a result, the South Bronx is seeing some $3 billion worth of new investment that is supporting new housing development, new shopping centers, new mass transit infrastructure, and new schools.
Our Administration recently unveiled a vision for the South Bronx that will capitalize on these gains, develop strong neighborhoods, and create thousands of new jobs. We call our vision the South Bronx Initiative. It is a collaborative effort, created in consultation with the Borough President and other elected officials, as well as Bronx community boards and neighborhood organizations.
The Initiative will allow us to develop the last City-owned sites in the Melrose section of the South Bronx for affordable housing. This will add to the thousands of affordable homes already slated to be built here by the year 2010.
We'll also capitalize on the soon-to-open Gateway Center, and the new parks being developed along the Harlem River by encouraging a mix of office, retail, and residential development. Roadway and sidewalk improvements and new street lighting will help make the area even more attractive to private investment.
Finally, we'll maximize the potential of the area around the Lower Grand Concourse - the Bronx's 'grand' boulevard - by doing away with outdated zoning restrictions and creating new policies that makes sense for how Bronx residents want to use the space today. Historically, this area has been home to manufacturing and industrial businesses, and while it's important to preserve that use for the businesses that remain, we'd like to encourage development of new housing as well. We also hope to build a new walkway between the 145th Street and MetroNorth bridges that would improve the quality of life for residents and businesses alike.
We've already begun holding public meetings and hearings on these proposals to give South Bronx residents an opportunity to help shape the future of their home neighborhoods.
The South Bronx Initiative is part of a long-term plan to secure the economic future of the area. There's also a lot we can do to help residents who are struggling economically right now. That's why last week we opened a new Financial Empowerment Center within the Phipps Opportunity Center in Melrose. Bronx residents can go there to receive free one-on-one financial counseling from trained professionals. Our advisors will help residents create budgets, manage debt, and set important household financial priorities. All New Yorkers interested in these types of services can go to the City's website at www.nyc.gov . There, you'll find a searchable directory of financial education providers in all five boroughs. If you don't have access to the Internet, just call 3-1-1 and we'll provide you with a hard copy of the directory free of charge.