CB 4 approves letter of support for EMS station, community center and affordable housing plans

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The site of a newly proposed EMS station slated for 1257 Morris Ave., in the Concourse section of the Bronx.
Photo Adrian Childress

Plans to relocate a century-old South Bronx EMS station and replace it with a community center and affordable housing received unanimous support from Bronx Community Board 4 last week.

On Feb. 22, CB4 approved a Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) Application that would relocate EMS Station 17 and construct a community center and affordable senior housing in its place.

The FDNY is proposing to move EMS Station 17 from its current Highbridge location at 1080 Ogden Ave., to a new facility to be constructed at 1257 Morris Ave., in the Concourse section of the Bronx. The approximately two-story, 11,177-square-foot building proposal would be located on a 15,000-square-foot parcel. However, a special permit is required for the project from the city Planning Commission, as the use is not permitted under the proposed Development Site’s R7-1 zoning.

The city Department of Design and Construction (DDC) seeks to construct a building with a footprint large enough to house seven ambulances, as well as space for other necessary programs and operations such as training, storage, work areas and 22 below grade parking spaces.

“We’re very excited about this,” said David Harney, chief of staff to the Deputy Fire Commissioner for Support Services. “We will be continuing to work with DDC and are working to move this along as quickly as possible.”

A rendering of what the new EMS station, slated for 1257 Morris Ave., would look like. Photo courtesy FDNY

A replacement station is needed because the existing Ogden Avenue facility is in poor structural condition, has exceeded its useful life and lacks a sufficient amount of space required for effective EMS operations. The station was originally built to house an engine company in the early 1900s. As a result, the apparatus floor has experienced heavy deterioration and the facility does not contain enough space for EMS personnel to park, restock and maintain ambulances.

CB4 approved the new EMS site with conditions, asking that the city issue a request for proposals (RFP) for the 1080 Ogden Ave. site, which is city owned, to solicit interest in affordable senior housing and a community center that offers job training, programs, summer camps, a recreation center and more. CB4 is also requesting that the city make an effort to utilize Bronx businesses for construction of the project.

The plan has the full support of NYC Council Deputy Speaker Diana Ayala, who represents the area.

According to Jose Rodriguez, chief of staff for Ayala, the development of the community center is part of the commitment made by the previous administration regarding the Borough Based Jail Plan Points of Agreement. In October 2019, the NYC City Council voted to shutter Rikers Island, create four borough-based jails and build community centers and housing.

As part of that agreement, the city committed to invest in a new community center at 1080 Ogden Ave. Rodriguez said the project never called for housing to co-locate at the site, as it was deemed not a viable option, however. Still, the city plans to allocate $18 million in funds to support development of the project, although additional City Council, state or federal funding, as well as private funding would be needed, according to Rodriguez.

The design for EMS Station 17 is anticipated to be completed in spring 2022; procurement of a contractor will take nine months, with construction anticipated to begin in early 2023 and be completed in early 2025. Design was delayed by the COVID pandemic during the City’s pause on all non-emergency public building work.

Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson has 30 days to submit her recommendation to the city Planning Commission. The public review process for the proposal began in December 2021 and is expected to conclude in early summer after a public hearing and vote by the city Planning Commission, as well as a public hearing and vote at the City Council.

Reach Jason Cohen at jcohen@schnepsmedia.com or (718) 260-4598. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes.

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