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Bronx gets bigger slice of city budget pie

Bronx Times

Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. happily found himself with a bigger slice of the city budget pie this year.

In spite of all the threatened cuts, the city’s final Fiscal Year 2013 budget increased for borough presidents, who share a percentage.

The Bronx, which received $13 million in capital funds last fiscal year, received $23 million this year.

“Last year was a very dire year for the budget,” said Diaz spokesman John DeSio. “This year it’s going to a good smattering of projects across the borough.”

The main spending focus was on economic development, housing, education and parks.

“Each year, my office is proud to support dozens of amazing schools, community organizations and development projects across the Bronx,” Diaz said in a statement.

The largest allocation—roughly 24 percent—went towards funding local housing developments. That included 110 units of mixed-use housing in West Farms as well as a solar thermal project to green existing buildings through partnerships with community organizations.

Diaz also put 22 percent of his funding into several crucial economic development projects. That includes $3 million towards site remediation at the Hunts Point Produce Market, $1 million towards the creation of an alternative fueling station in Hunts Point and another $1 million towards site remediation at the Harlem River Rail Yards.

“Our borough’s economy continues to grow, and these projects will ensure that we continue to see considerable job creation and retention in the Bronx,” said Borough President Diaz.

Education also reaped a significant share, with funding going to a total of 29 projects at education institutions. That includes funding for a green roof installation at the long awaited future Highbridge Middle School, an auditorium upgrade at P.S. 91 in University Heights, gymnasium upgrades at P.S. 119 in Castle Hill and technology upgrades at a number of schools across the borough.

Higher education also , with new handicapped entrance ramps and a renovation of Ohio Field on the campus of Bronx Community College, a roof replacement at the Savoy Building at Hostos Community College and the development of a One-Stop Student Services & Transfer Center at Lehman College.

“Education remains an important focus of my administration, and my office will continue to provide the necessary funding that Bronx students at all levels need to succeed,” said Diaz.

Parks got $3.4 million of the green stuff - or 15 percent - that will go to, among other projects, a new dog park at Soundview Park, renovations to the hockey rink at Bufano Park in Waterbury-LaSalle and basketball courts at Orchard Beach.

Diaz also funded libraries, health providers and other important institutions, including upgrades at the Spuyten Duyvil and Wakefield branch libraries and new dental equipment at both Lincoln Hospital and the Union Community Health Center.

Three Bronx public housing developments—Betances Houses, Mill Brook Houses and the Soundview Houses— will be getting security cameras, while other funds will go to renovate BronxNet’s current studio at Lehman College and create new tennis courts for the New York Junior Tennis League.

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