The east Bronx waterfront, one of the most neglected and underserved waterways in New York City, has a new friend in the Metropolitan Waterfront Alliance.
Cortney Worrall, chief operating officer of the MWA, attended and spoke at the Bronx Council for Environmental Quality’s meeting on Wednesday April, 13 at American Legion Post 2879 on Buhre Avenue.
The purpose of Worrall’s visit was to open a dialogue between her agency and east Bronx community organizations that are working for cleaner, more accessible waterfronts.
The MWA serves as a conduit to over 500 community organizations from all five boroughs and New Jersey that have an interest in the New York City waterfront and local government.
As vice president of the Bronx Council for Environmental Quality and founder of Friends of Ferry Point, Dorothea Poggi is passionate about the east Bronx waterfront. She likes what the MWA is trying to do.
“They’re reaching out at least,” Poggi said. “Nobody in the Bronx is doing it.”
City Planning released a “Comprehensive Waterfront Plan” in mid March. The plan named eight different spots in the east Bronx called “Reach 9,” from Belden Point on City Island, down to Soundview Park for development and improvement.
The plan includes creating “opportunities for public view points at waterfront street ends,” in Throggs Neck, “revitalizing the shipping and barging industry,” in Eastchester.
The MWA sees its roll as making sure community desires are accounted for as these plans are carried out.
Worrall did say “the Bronx got gypped a little bit in the plan.” Unfortunately, she said, that is nothing new for the borough.
“The Bronx is generally neglected and underutilized, and that area even more so,” she said. “I think it’s high time for examination of that area. It has potential of all types.”
According to Poggi, the organization is filling a need.
“They’re bridging a gap between the people who design in an office and the grassroots. That’s an important gap,” she said. “And it seems elected officials want to cut ribbons but they don’t want to get into the nitty gritty of the waterfront.”
As with almost any public development plan in the country right now, lack of funding is probably the biggest challenge in revitalizing the east Bronx waterfront.
According to WFA President Roland Lewis, the more Bronxites work with his organization now, the better positioned they will be when waterfront projects do get underway.
“Resources are scarce, but we can make plans now to help the waterfront,” he said. “When times are better and there is a little money in the coffers, we can have a solid game plan to recreate the waterfront of the east Bronx.”
©2011 Community News Group