A former “beat up traffic triangle” in the heart of the Fordham Road shopping district is about to be transformed into a green oasis, complete with a possible ‘Shake Shack’ type of concession stand.
The transformation, thanks to a mix of new funding, was revealed at The Fordham Road Business Improvement District’s recent annual meeting May 31.
One of the highlights of the meeting, at the Bronx Library Center on East Kingsbridge Road, was the announcement of $2.5 million in mostly federal grant money for the redesign of Bryan Park, a triangular area were East Kingsbridge Road, East Fordham Road, and a slip ramp to Fordham Road meet.
When the project is completed, there should be a green area that will include a plaza and much improved parkland, and should include some sort of concession that should be something fairly unique to the area – such as a food concession that sells smoothies, said Daniel Bernstein, the BID’s deputy executive director.
No concessionaire has yet been selected, he added.
According to the plans, when construction is complete, the park should include new street trees, a plaza, a decorative granite seat wall, stainless steel fencing, solar trash bin, drinking fountain, and other amenities.
Bernstein said the district received a $2 million Federal Highway Administration grant for the project, but needed to raise 20% in matching funds.
Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. and Councilman Joel Rivera each provided $250,000.
Partnering with the city Department of Parks and Recreation and Department of Transportation, the project is expected to begin sometime in the summer and be complete in 2013, Bernstein said.
“When I got here, it was just a beat up traffic triangle,” said Bernstein. “We worked directly with the Parks Department to put more plantings in the area, and held our Holiday Tree lighting ceremony there.”
A number of other events – including health screenings – are now held in the park, he noted.
Keynote speaker at the meeting, Small Business Services commissioner Robert Walsh, announced his agency will be opening a new workforce development center near the BID sometime around Labor Day.
Also speaking at the annual meeting were Comptroller John Liu, Borough President Diaz, who said that he remembered shopping on Fordham Road when he was a young man and now takes his children shopping there, and a representative from Councilman Joel Rivera’s office.