Press Releases

For Immediate Release
March 22, 2019

Contacts:
Rachaele Raynoff, Joe Marvilli – press@planning.nyc.gov (212) 720-3471

DCP, HPD, Parks, SBS, DOT and City Council Members Gibson and Cabrera Hail Progress on Jerome Avenue Neighborhood Plan One Year After Approval

750 affordable homes preserved, 11,000 tenants protected, and construction coming soon on elevator to the 4 train at West 170th Street

Rendering of Jerome Avenue

NEW YORK - Department of City Planning Director Marisa Lago, together with the Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD), NYC Parks, Small Business Services (SBS), and Department of Transportation (DOT), and Council Members Vanessa Gibson and Fernando Cabrera today announced progress on the Jerome Avenue Neighborhood Plan, which was adopted by the City Council one year ago today.

The Plan is bringing more than $189 million in capital projects and services to the Bronx neighborhood in new and improved parks and playgrounds, pedestrian safety improvements near the Cross Bronx Expressway, business assistance and new schools. The City is continuing to make significant investments in affordable housing in the area, preserving 750 homes since the plan was adopted on top of 5,500 units that were preserved during the planning process, and seeking proposals for new affordable developments on city-owned sites.

After years of community-based planning, we’re now hard at work preserving and building affordable housing, jobs and businesses in this transit-rich corner of the Bronx. Hats off to our hard-working partners in the Jerome Avenue community and their elected officials who continue to guide needed investments in their neighborhood,” said DCP Director Marisa Lago

“On the one-year anniversary of the passage of the Jerome Neighborhood Rezoning, it is important to reflect on how much we have accomplished and highlight the work that remains to be done. A significant amount of affordable housing has been preserved, brand new parks and schools are in design, and a range of programs to assist tenants, local business owners, and the surrounding community are rolling out. This neighborhood plan is a true testament to what can be accomplished through a partnership between community and government,” said Council Member Vanessa Gibson. “We remain committed to the communities’ involvement throughout the implementation process through the work of three task forces, the Jerome Public Health Taskforce, the Southwest Bronx Housing Taskforce, and the Local Hiring and Responsible Contracting Taskforce. Through our ongoing work, we will continue to ensure that the Jerome Neighborhood plan is implemented in a responsible and timely manner.” 

“Jerome Avenue is a major part of the commercial life of my district and I’m proud of the work we did to build a bright future for the West Bronx. One year later we are already seeing progress. Community School District 10, one of the most overcrowded school districts in the city, will get a brand new 458 seat primary school which will include a youth community center to house an after-school program. The bid process is underway for the PS 33 annex, which is scheduled to open in September 2021. The design phase for the new school will begin in July. The SBS’s new free services for small businesses are being offered in my district office. Our investments in affordable housing are already benefitting our communities, with units preserved and units to be constructed, providing stability for numerous families,” said Council Member Fernando Cabrera. “This progress affirms the collaborative process we used to create a shared vision. One year later, I still believe that our process for the Jerome Avenue Neighborhood Plan is a prototype for all future rezoning projects. We set a high bar and are living up to it.”

The plan is enabling Jerome Avenue to grow as an active, safe, healthy and vibrant corridor. It covers a 2-mile stretch of Jerome Avenue, roughly from 167th Street to 184th Street.

It promotes housing, including permanently affordable housing, schools, and other community facilities where none were permitted under old zoning. The plan also encourages more diverse commercial development to better meet the needs of the surrounding neighborhoods and ensures that newly mapped parks replace underutilized, vacant lots with green open space.

“The Jerome Avenue Neighborhood Plan exemplifies the model of community engagement that is guiding investments across the city. One year later, we are making good on our promises with more than 2,000 affordable homes either financed or underway, aggressive enforcement of the housing maintenance code, an expanded Certification of No Harassment program to protect tenants, and a new Partners in Preservation program to harness local community organizations to develop and implement a comprehensive anti-displacement strategy for the area,” said Acting HPD Commissioner Eric Enderlin. “I thank the Mayor, our colleagues across City government, and especially Members Gibson and Cabrera for their leadership throughout the process to ensure this community continues to thrive for generations to come.”

“I am excited that our goal for the Jerome Avenue Neighborhood Plan, to transform underutilized open spaces into vibrant parkland for members of this community, is progressing,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver. “Through projects like the expansion and reconstruction of Grant Park, and others, we will greatly improve access to open spaces that will benefit multiple Bronx neighborhoods for years to come.”

“The Department of Small Business Services is committed to helping create economic security for all New Yorkers,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “We will continue to help Jerome Avenue thrive by ensuring that our free services, which include commercial lease and navigating government assistance, are accessible to local entrepreneurs through our dedicated Jerome Avenue program manager, our Mobile Outreach Unit, and our NYC Business Solutions Centers.”

“We are proud to be working with City Planning and our agency partners to bring these exciting changes to Jerome Avenue,” said DOT Commissioner Polly Trottenberg. “As DOT has seen along McDonald Avenue in Brooklyn as well as along Jamaica and Roosevelt Avenues in Queens, elevated tracks over busy commercial streets present serious challenges to both planning and safety, challenges that this new plan addresses. Alongside this plan’s critical efforts around zoning, affordable housing and schools, we are keeping Vision Zero in mind. We plan to implement new safety designs - including additional lighting, safer intersections, and reconstructed sidewalks - that will better serve residents, whether they are visiting a local merchant or rushing to the 4 train. As we implement these improvements to the streetscape, we want to especially thank Council Members Gibson and Cabrera for their relentless push for a better and safer Jerome Avenue.”

In the year since adoption of the Jerome Avenue Neighborhood Plan, significant progress has been made on priorities identified during the planning process.

Affordable Housing

  • The Department of Housing Preservation and Development (HPD) has preserved more than 750 homes in addition to the 5,500 units preserved during the three-year planning process and hosted several events to assist tenants and property owners. That is enough housing to enable more than 12,000 residents to stay in their homes.
  • Free legal services have been provided to 11,000 individuals and 2,700 tenants were connected to a range of City resources to help them remain in their homes.
  • HPD has launched the Partners in Preservation initiative, which will award $490,000 to the Northwest Bronx Community & Clergy Coalition and New Settlement Apartments/CASA to develop and coordinate anti-displacement strategies.
  • A Certification of No Harassment program has been launched to require property owners seeking permits to demolish or alter their buildings that they have not harassed tenants.
  • More than 16,000 housing inspections have been done, resulting in roughly $700,000 in emergency repairs.
  • Roughly 1,300 new affordable, supportive or senior homes are proposed on half a dozen sites, with specifics subject to approvals by City housing agencies.
  • An RFP has been issued for the development of affordable senior housing at 97 West 169th Street, with submissions due by April 4.


Community Improvements

  • The intersection of Jerome Avenue and the Cross Bronx Expressway has been made safer for pedestrians and reconstruction of the Clifford Place Step Street will wrap up this spring. These projects are part of a broader DOT strategy to enhance safety and foster a more hospitable and distinctive streetscape along the corridor.
  • Coordination is underway between the capital agencies planning for street improvements at 170th Street and Jerome Avenue and the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) on the MTA’s ADA accessibility project. This includes construction of an elevator to the 170th Street station of the 4 line expected to begin later this year.
  • Design is advancing for parks and playgrounds - the community has been active in helping to guide design of Bridge Playground and Corporal Fischer Park.
  • NYC Parks continues to improve and increase access to Aqueduct Walk. Construction is well underway on a new Plaza at West 181 Street which was renamed for Capt. Roscoe Brown, Jr., a decorated air force veteran, community leader and former president of Bronx Community College.  
  • Design work is also advancing at Morton Playground as the City continues to explore ways to improve access in this area.
  • Design is underway for a new 478 seat elementary school in District 10 at 2355 Morris Avenue as well as a gym for PS 246. A new 572 seat elementary school in Community School District 9 has been sited at 1302 Edward E. Grant Highway and will begin design in 2019.

 
Local Business and Job Assistance

  • A dedicated “Jerome Program Manager” has been hired by the Department of Small Business Services (SBS) to provide a central contact point for businesses seeking assistance of all kinds and to help connect people seeking jobs to businesses and construction projects in the corridor. The Jerome Program Manager works out of Council Member Gibson’s district office on the first and third Mondays of every month and at Council Member Cabrera’s district office on the second and fourth Tuesdays. Businesses are encouraged to contact their local Council member’s district office to schedule an appointment.
  • The SBS Mobile Unit has been regularly conducting workforce recruitment and training events as well as providing business services such as financing and commercial lease assistance via workshops. Twenty local businesses have enrolled in the commercial lease assistance program, which provides a range of services including guidance on new leases and lease renewals, assistance with breach of contracts/landlord harassment, support with unwritten leases and support with lease terminations
  • Following an SBS financing workshop that provided an overview of capital access services, more than two-thirds of the business that attended have since had private consultation with SBS’ partnering micro lenders.

Additional updates will be posted in June on the City’s Rezoning Commitments Tracker.

The progress detailed today demonstrated the City’s ongoing work to ensure that as neighborhoods grow as a function of planning initiatives, they do so fairly and equitably, improving lives and creating opportunity for all who live there.