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Commerce, community outreach and schools among top priorities for youngest Bronx

New CB 6 District Manager looks to ready area for future growth

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At 27-years-old, the newest Bronx district manager is also the borough’s youngest district manager. And with all the plans he has for the area, he may soon be the busiest.

Community Board 6 district manager John Sanchez was hired in early August.

He has been busy getting to know how to best provide services and funding for area residents.

A Bronx native, Sanchez grew up at 167th and Walton and later 184th and Park Avenue and currently resides in Parkchester.

After attending New York University’s Stern School of Business he worked as a personal trainer before a volunteer gig with a local elected sent him down a different path.

“I decided to volunteer on the campaign of (Assemblyman) Michael Blake,” he said. “I then became a paid intern, and then I became the field organizer for the campaign and then the deputy chief of staff. All in a span of two months.”

Sanchez worked with Blake for about a year before being hired by the Northeast Charter School Network where he served as a New York City advocacy manager before landing his current job.

Sanchez has already assembled a pool of 15 interns who will begin training next week to help address the needs of the district, of which he said there are many.

The interns come form several northeast colleges, including several from nearby Fordham University.

“Community Board 6 ranks number one in unemployment in the entire city, and number one for families living under the poverty line – 44 percent,” he said.

Another goal is to create a business improvement district, or BID, for the East Tremont business corridor to help lure more retail, better restaurants, a new community center, better public transportation and maybe even a movie theater to replace the one the neighborhood lost.

“What people don’t want is more 99 cent or discount stores,” Sanchez said.

In addition to the Bronx Zoo and the New York Botanical Garden, Sanchez’s district also includes Little Italy in Belmont that brings in significant tourism dollars to the district.

Sanchez said two separate robberies of elderly residents in recent days showed that more can be done to make the area safer.

“Safety is always going to be a concern,” Sanchez said. “We don’t want people to stop coming here.”

Another long-term concern for Sanchez is the need for school in the area to accommodate the children who will live in hundreds of units of new housing planned for the district.

In the next 10 years, there is slated to be over 2,500 units constructed in CB 6, Sanchez said.

Of the 1,500 student seats planned to be built, about 900 of them are funded but are not in the design and scope phase.

“There is going to be a great need,” Sanchez said. “There is already a bunch of housing going up. You can’t have 2,500 new apartment units without a school.”

Sanchez replaces Ivine Galarza, the longtime DM of CB 6 who retired recently after more than two decades in the position.

Reach Reporter Arthur Cusano at (718) 260-4591. E-mail him at acusano@cnglocal.com.

Posted 12:00 am, September 3, 2016
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