Attendance at a community meeting
On September 12 I attend the Bronx Community Board Number 8 meeting held in Manhattan College. It was inside the Fischbach Room, it was busy a lot of people, there was a podium and long table with seats for the chair members.The group dynamic was strong, you can tell that many of the people attending knows how meetings like these go. But some of them were agitated, as if their voice wasn’t heard about a certain topic at the last meeting.
Chairman Padernacht opened the meeting at 7:35; he started by welcoming six new appointed Board members: Leonel Baez, Manuel Felix, Daniella Fuchs, Demetrious McCord, Joseph O’Brien, and David Toledo. Some of the new members went around a made their introductions; Fuchs, lives in Riverdale, and is an psychologist, O’Brien a formerly employed at the office of Congressman Eliot Engel; and Toledo, a Kingsbridge resident for 25 years, he’s also an investigator, and offered his assistance to the Board. Then the Chairman talked about the resignation of Board Budget Chair Brendan Contant. Because of his new work schedule he would not be able to continue as before. Chairman announced that there will be an election for a new Budget Chair at the October 14, 2014 Board meeting.
So the first issue to be discussed was dealing in the Parks & Recreation department. Renee Ehle, who is an advocate for Ewen Park, spoke on behalf of three neighbors concern about the 15 trees in Ewen Park marked for destruction next Friday, some of the trees marked are the oldest in the Park, over 100 years old. The group is asking the Department of Parks to halt the destruction long enough to allow review of the certified Arborist report to justify removal. The Ewen Park Advocacy want to see the Park preserved in its natural state; and there’s a petition that been signed by 200 neighbors opposing destruction of the trees. Assemblyman Dinowitz received complaints about the trees to his office and the Department of Parks claimed that the trees are not structurally sound and have carpenter ants, but was going to replace them.
Roberta Strugger read a letter talking about the overall handling of the construction project in Fort Independence Park dealing with the jogging path and park renovation. Basally to sum up what she said; Ms. Strugger was talking about how the community was not involved in the planning process in the park. The ‘jogging horseshoe’ is barely wide enough for one runner to run on. There is a lack of park worker to keep the park clean so the community has to do their job; they pick up after dogs, and leftover trash. Also a small area in Park that is open has poor maintenance and rodent problems.
Five different votes took place at the meeting in various topics as; traffic & transportation, renaming streets and passing New York State Liquor License for local Bronx businesses. Then there was a report from the Office of the Bronx Borough President, Andy Toledo and discussed different things. Borough President Diaz provided over $9 million to fund Bronx organizations. Some of the projects that were spending on were: $2.75 million to create over 600 new units of housing; $2 million to parks projects which will include construction of a new comfort station at Fort Four Playground. Governor Cuomo announced the launch of the New York Works Office in the Bronx, which is part of the Unemployment Strikeforce and will bring no-cost business services directly to Bronx companies looking to hire.