The Bronx River Alliance has a new leader that is a familiar face at the public-private partnership.
Maggie Scott Greenfield, an alliance employee since 2005 and its deputy director since 2010, is the new executive director of the organization dedicated to greenways, ecology and event programming along the Bronx River.
She will also concurrently be the NYC Parks Department’s Bronx River administrator.
Greenfield filled the positions that were formerly held by Linda Cox, who retired on Thursday, March 2.
Cox was at the helm of the alliance for 15 years.
Greenfield’s top short-term goal is to open the Bronx River Greenway River House, a community educational facility under construction at Starlight Park’s riverfront, she said.
“With the opening of River House, we are looking to deepen and expand our educational programs,” she said. “We will have this beautiful new facility that is going to be very innovative and green.”
The new building will provide space for people to access the water, and give school groups a chance to see river ecology and to test water quality, she said.
“It has the potential to be a tremendous environmental education center, a place for hands-on science learning for kids,” said Greenfield.
Another short-term goal is to complete a part of the Bronx River Greenway between Concrete Plant Park and Starlight Park, she said, linking the two relatively new parks near the southern terminus of the 23-mile long river.
For that project, millions of dollars have already been raised, said Greenfield, adding that for the most part, the river north of East 180th Street to the Westchester County line is already greenway accessible.
Other projects BRA is spearheading are an effort to repopulate the river with alewife herring and an installation of ‘river broom’ along the county line to catch debris, including Styrofoam and plastic bottles, before it enters the borough.
Greenfield sees the alliance’s strength in its knowledgeable board and dedicated employees, five of whom have been with the organization for a decade or more, she said.
The new executive director and administrator had words of praise for her predecessor, Linda Cox, calling it a “true honor to succeed” her.
She said that Cox was really someone who turned around what had been a negative view of the river 15 or 20 years ago. Today, said Greenfield, the river is viewed as an asset to the borough and the region.
“She really did so much to harness the vision of local leaders for the river and to harness community support to achieve that vision,” said Greenfield of Cox.
In a statement, Mitchell Silver, NYC Parks commissioner, said that Greenfield has demonstrated devotion to the river. “Over the years, I have watched Maggie rally up neighborhood residents for a joint and committed effort in making the Bronx River one of NYC’s most valued resources,” said Silver.
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