BP celebrates decade of improvements in the Bronx
By David Greene
BRONX- Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., delivered his 10th, “State of The Borough” Address to a cheering crowd of supporters who turned out at the Health, Education and Research (HERO) High School at The Samuel Gompers Campus on Southern Boulevard, on February 21.
Touching on his 10 years in office, Diaz touted the significant drop in crime– now averaging fewer than 100 homicides a year in borough, the $70 million poured into local public school projects and the more than $15 billion that created 36,000 new housing units across the borough.
Diaz told residents, “We believe in the American dream, and we want nothing more than a chance to prove it. It is the government’s responsibility to present them with the opportunity to do just that.”
The borough president continued, “We are creating new jobs and building new housing, so that when those children graduate and become adults they can build their lives in the same communities where they came of age.”
On the issue of public housing, Diaz told the crowd, “Many would say that the worst landlord in New York City is New York City. I agree,” as he recently launched a citywide campaign on Twitter, shaming the New York City Housing Authority into making needed repairs.
Diaz explained, “If social media shaming is the only way to get results, then we’re going to shame them.” He continued, “How does the city propose a new department to protect residents from bad landlords, if the city is depriving its own residents of their human rights to heat and hot water?”
Looking to the future, Diaz said he was in favor of closing the Rikers Island jail, but would like to see it at the current Family Court building.
Diaz also stated he would like to see control of the New York City Transit system returned back to the city.
Diaz also touched on several projects currently underway, including the dismantling of the Sheridan Expressway into a boulevard, a new Metro North Railroad station, the construction of a new YMCA in the Edenwald section and the rehabilitation of the Orchard Beach Pavilion.
During the address Diaz announced the collaboration between Governor Andrew Cuomo and the State Department of Parks, in the creation of “Camp Junior,” a summer camp for underprivileged youngsters and teens, taking hundreds of kids out of the city each year, in honor of Lesandro Guzman-Feliz, who was brutally killed by gang members.
Most guests gave raves to Diaz’ speech, like Williamsbridge resident Barbara Gibson-Lagrant, who said of Diaz, “Our borough president has improved the Bronx in so many ways. I’ve been here for many years and when I travel through the Bronx, I’m proud to be in the boogie-down Bronx.”
William Stamford, Jr., of Van Cortlandt Village thought the speech was good, but noted, “He mentioned bringing the Metro North New Haven Line to this borough, no. That should be a subway train line, not a railroad train line, because that means we will have to pay a premium fare.”