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New ramps installed at 3555 Bruckner Boulevard

Bronx Times

If it’s broke, it will be fixed. That is the motto for the recently formed Tenant Association at 3555 Bruckner Boulevard.

After a long list of problems the tenants in the building have experienced, including the inconvenience of their gas service being turned off in early October, an abandoned propane gas tank left in the garage, and various problems with the condition of the garage, the association has been working with the New York City Housing Development to ensure its concerns and problems are addressed.

The tenant association’s most recent victory has been the installation of new handicap ramps at the entrance of the building on Wednesday, February 29.

“No disabled tenant, no tenant in a wheelchair, and no tenant walking with a cane, should have to struggle through an obstacle course to enter their own home,” said Ritchie Torres, director of housing service for Councilman Jimmy Vacca.

According to Torres, when Vacca’s office began fielding complaints from disabled and elderly tenants, they told him the front entrance was too inaccessible.

“They were saying that the steps were too steep,” Torres said. “Upon entering the building, disabled tenants would have to descend one set of steps and then ascend another set of steps before reaching the elevator.”

According to Torres, getting the ramps installed was not something that was easily done.

“Tenants, who for decades had to go up and down steps, finally have a ramp that enables them to move smoothly from the front entrance to the elevator,” Torres said. “The ramp came only after months of aggressive advocacy by the councilman, myself, the tenant’s association of 3555 Bruckner Boulevard, and the Human Rights Commission, which requires accommodations for disables tenants of multiple dwellings.”

Frank Melendez, a disabled tenant living at 3555 for over 25 years, said he is very thankful to Councilman Vacca and his office for pushing to have the ramps installed.

“I would like to thank Councilman Vacca and his staff for acquiring the ramps for our building’s lobby,” Melendez said. “I have a back and leg problem and now with the ramp I don’t have to keep going up and down the stairs which can be a real chore at times. I am sure that others with disabilities also feel gratitude for having these ramps as well.”

Vacca said he was happy to work on this with his staff along with the landlord of the building in order to make things easier for senior tenants living there.

“Many tenants came to me and pointed out that senior citizens had difficulty entering the building because there were no access ramps,” he said. “This was an issue that my office and residents of the building worked on with the landlord to have handled as quickly as possible, and I am glad that we were able to help the seniors.”

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