Diaz targets housing with city budget funds

Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr, pictured here at an event earlier this summer, allocated over $9 million in capital funds to Bronx projects in the city’s latest budget.
Photo by Walter Pofeldt

An east Bronx library branch and Throggs Neck housing project ballfield are among the recipients of the borough president’s round of budget allocations this year.

Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. used his annual share of the city budget to dole out $175,000 for a “technology room” at a yet-to-be-named library branch somewhere in the east Bronx, and steered $100,000 toward installing and furnishing light poles at the NYCHA Throggs Neck Houses ballfield.

Together, the Beep distributed over $9 million in capital funds to 25 projects around the borough. That’s less than half of the over $22 million the borough president was allowed to allot last year — but Diaz did not let that dampen his excitement for the projects he did get to fund this time around.

“This critical funding helps keep our cultural institutions vibrant, our schools strong, our parks clean and our neighborhoods safe,” crowed Diaz. “Funding like this is critical to our ‘New Bronx’ agenda, and I am proud to have funded so many important projects in every corner of our borough.”

The city’s five borough presidents collectively are allowed five percent of the city’s budget each year to use as they please. The Mayor’s Office then decides how to divy that pot up between the boroughs, based on a formula involving borough population and total geographic area, according to the city Independent Budget Office.

The biggest chunk of the Bronx borough president’s allocation this year was in the housing sector, where he doled out $2.75 million across five projects, creating what he says will be 600 units of “affordable housing.”

Diaz’s largest allocation went to JCAL Development Group LLC, who received $750,000 toward building a housing complex on Summit Avenue by the Major Deegan Expressway near Yankee Stadium. Diaz’s office also steered budget money toward west Bronx housing developments on Webster Avenue and another on Creston Avenue.

Last year, the Beep’s main focus was on parks, as Diaz funded over $7 million in Bronx green space. This year’s parks funding includes a new mini pool at the Edenwald Playground and new playground at the Ogden Plimpton playground in Highbridge.

But the borough president says that housing was his priority this budget season — both building new units and making public NYCHA housing safer.

Along with the $100,000 earmarked for the NYCHA Throggs Neck Houses is another $440,000 toward security cameras at Morrisania’s NYCHA Forest Houses.

Reach Reporter Ben Kochman at (718) 742–3394. E-mail him at bkochman@cnglocal.com. Follow him on Twitter @benkochman.

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