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Dr. Ian Amritt takes over as new chair of Community Board 2

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Community Board 2, arguably the Bronx’s most complex board, given the fact that it contains both large industrial and residential area, has a new chairman.

Dr. Ian Amritt took over as chairman of CB 2 in late September after his predecessor Orlando Marin was appointed to the city’s 13-person City Planning Commission by Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. Marin had been chair for a little over a year. The district includes all of Hunts Point, as well as a stretch between Bruckner Boulevard and Longwood Avenue.

Dr. Amritt is a psychiatrist and executive director of UNITAS, a Hunts Point-based community mental health organization for youth. He has worked in the Hunts Point area for the better part of two decades and been a member of the community board for the past six years. He ran for the position unopposed.

He will help oversee a community board that will have to advocate for both a large business community, made up largely of food distributors, as well as over 50,000 residents. Dr. Amritt said that dichotomy, combined with the growth the area has shown over the past decade, makes it unique not only for the Bronx, but for all of New York City.

“I believe this community is the most envied in New York City, because of what’s been going on here,” Dr. Amritt said.

While long-time issues such as crime, prostitution and poverty are not as severe as they used to be, it does not mean they have disappeared.

“I commend the 41st Precinct on the marvelous impact it has had on this community,” Dr. Amritt said.

“The amount of prostitutes, that were once the main attraction here, is reduced. Crime has gone down.

“There are quite a bit of small improvements that this community has experienced.”

The biggest issue facing the area, according to Dr. Amritt, is how to strike the proper balance between the interests of its residents, and the interests of its businesses, whether they be food distributors or mom and pop retailers on Southern Boulevard. And that issue often manifests itself through transportation, mainly how to funnel exhaust-spewing trucks in and out of the Hunts Point Market. The idea of de-mapping or razing the Sheridan Expressway in favor of green space has been discussed, but that would force trucks on to side streets. And it could even push the Hunts Point Terminal Produce Market, which only has three years remaining on its lease with the city, to the other side of the Hudson River.

“Whatever plan that is put in place has to be one that not only relieves traffic congestion but can also support traffic to out industrial area, because if not, we will lose the market to New Jersey,” Dr. Amritt said.

“(The Sheridan) serves a purpose. There are many reasons it should stay, and many it should be removed, but as a math and science major I can say the shortest line to a place is always the best.”

Dr. Amritt was born in England and raised on a farm in Jamaica. He also teaches at Albert Einstein College of Medicine.

Bill Weisbrod can be reached via e-mail at bweisbrod@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3394. Follow him on Twitter @bweisbrod

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