As we approach 2009, it would be useful to discuss some of the community issues that the board has been involved in 2008. Through positive negotiations, the board was able to persuade the Postgraduate Center for Mental Health to shave a floor off its planned building at Lyvere Street, obtain a commitment to have the property set back ten feet from the street and to erect a vestibule with an above ground street entrance, eliminating the proposal for a sunken lobby. Further commitments were made to include foliage around the property. All of the above was done to provide the residents of Lyvere Street with a positive addition to their streetscape. Working with our elected officials, the board was able to obtain traffic calming devices such as speed humps and new signals on several streets throughout the board’s service areas. In other areas of transportation, the board was able to secure new bus shelters at several locations. The Board has also advocated for the renovation of the Pelham Bay, Buhre Avenue, Middletown Road and Westchester Square stations along the #6 line, and protested the planned cancellation of the BX 14 and City Island Express bus routes. Recently, the board joined with our elected officials in calling upon the Mayor and the FDNY Commissioner to cancel plans to close the City Island fire house, during evening hours. In the area of public education, the board hosted the first ever Education Summit at Lehman High School to address security, academic and occupational concerns.
One of our board’s most precious resources, are its parks. In 2008, the board has advocated for improvements to the dog run in Pelham Bay Park, the track and fields of Pelham Bay Park, Pearly Gates Park on Tratman Avenue, Ferry Point Park, inclusive of the planned golf course, Veterans Memorial Park, Hawkins Street Park on City Island, Colucci and Buffano and Keane Square Parks in Pelham Bay, and Owen Dolen ins Westchester Square. The board has also hosted informational sessions for these parks, where the architects and the administrators offer presentations, solicit input and answer questions about planned improvements to these parks.
The board performed with all due diligence, its function of advising the city’s central administration on the municipal budget, both capital and expense, and provided advisories on zoning and land use matters. In the area of constituent assistance, the Board has helped many people negotiate the maze of city bureaucracies, particularly in the areas of housing, city service deliveries and eligibility for entitlements. The board is particularly proud of its outreach to area senior centers, assisting people in their efforts to receive benefits under the Enhanced Star, Senior Discount and Veterans Discount plans.
Additionally, the board brings the community information concerning different programs and employment opportunities through this column.
In the future, the board will be active in the areas of protecting the community against the massive budget cuts that are expected to befall certain city services, will continue its efforts to disseminate information concerning laws and regulations, and providing quality ombudsman services.
The New York Public Library will be conducting free English as a Second Language (ESL) classes at the Westchester Square Library. Registration and testing will take place on January 7, at 6 p.m., and classes will begin on Wednesday, January 14, operating on subsequent Mondays and Wednesdays from 66 to 8:30 p.m., until March 30. The library is located at 2521 Glebe Avenue. For additional information about this and other Bronx Library locations, please contact (212) 340-0918.
With the heating season upon us, the New York State Public Service Commission has published a booklet and informative pamphlets on energy conservation, consumer tips and protection. Additional information can be obtained by contacting 1-888-Ask-PSC-1 or www.ASKPSC.com. The New York State Consumer Protection Board has published an informative pamphlet for customers, who use oil and propane for heating their homes.
The pamphlet entitled “What Consumers Need To Know” describes different purchasing strategies, contractual information, conservation tips, assistance programs and complaint resolution. Additional information can be obtained by contacting the board at 1-800-697-1220 or at www.nyconsumer.gov. The New York State Energy and Research and Development Authority (NYSERDA), through its HeatSmartNY program also offers energy savings tips.
The board office is ready to assist you with any problem or concern that you may be having with a City agency. Our Office is opened from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily. Our phone number is (718) 892-1161, fax number is 718-863-6860 and our e-mail is BX10@CB.nyc.gov.
Happy New Year!