Amendola Plaza beautification project officially completed

Councilman James Vacca (c), NYC Parks Bronx Borough commissioner Iris Rodriguez-Rosa (3rd from r), District 10 manager Matthew Cruz (r) with the construction team, cement mason, blacksmith and other community members.
Photo by NYC Parks / M. Pinckney

On Tuesday, December 12, the ribbon was officially cut on Amendola Plaza to commemorate the completion of the beautification project.

Construction on the project began in October 2015.

The initial contractor defaulted and a string of other problems arose, causing the re-construction to slow, according to NYC Bronx Parks Commissioner, Iris Rodriguez-Rosa.

“The intent of this project was to design a space that communities and local residents can enjoy while waiting for their bus or train,” Rodriguez-Rosa said during the ceremony.

“This project converted a large expanse of formerly unattractive paving into a pedestrian friendly transportation hub. The design is both sustainable and maintenance friendly.”

The major components of the project required installing iron fencing around the gardens and finishing the cement work in the plaza, which slowed after the first contractor defaulted.

The project was funded by Councilman James Vacca.

The councilman said, “There were times I thought this project would never get through.”

Vacca allocated over $900,000 for green relief, according to the councilman and NYC Parks.

“I didn’t see this process from the beginning from the community board level,” said Cruz who replaced Kenneth Kearns after he retired in the spring of 2017. “It’s pretty important that this project came to a close.”

Amendola Plaza has thousands of commuters a day, and though the public transit hub is under the jurisdiction of the NYC Department of Transportation, the NYC Parks department has the ability to develop horticulture in certain areas, according to Rodriguez-Rosa.

Commuters that pass through the plaza agreed the project was appreciated.

“It looks nice. It’s about time they brighten up the area,” said John Rodriguez, a commuter admiring the gardens while standing near a bus stop.

“All you’ve got to see are the walls (that line the Bruckner Expressway), so it looks nice like this,” he added.

“The beautification looks nice, but I think it takes up some of the space that was used to wait for the bus, but otherwise I understand it. It’s nice,” said another commuter, Keke LeBron, who was walking by the gardens at the same time the ribbon was being cut.

Reach Reporter Sarah Valenzuela at (718) 260-4584. E-mail her at svalenzuela@cnglocal.com.

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