While Morris Park, Pelham Parkway and other surrounding nabes have long-established civic associations, Allerton has been an orphan – until now.
A group of locals has formed the Bronx Park East Community Association, whose first goal is to address burgeoning crime north of Pelham Parkway.
The group is the brainchild of Kenny Agosto, Democratic District Leader for the 80th Assembly District, and fellow Pelham Parkway neighbor and designated leader Raphael Schweizer.
Schweizer has worked to make the group known, attending Community Board 11 and 49th Precinct Community Council meetings, as well as mass emails and postings on social networking sites.
Schweizer’s no stranger to local activism, serving the Pelham Parkway Neighborhood Association, rallying folks for several beautification projects.
“We want people to become more engaged and empowered,” Schweizer said.
Their inaugural meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 28 drew forty people, from which the group picked its nine-member executive committee. That included Agosto, Schweizer and Hazel Miura, a housing specialist for Allerton-based Neighborhood Initiatives Development Corp., which offers after-school and housing assistance.
Miura is also part of the neighborhood patrol, working with the police department to keep an eye out on the streets. It’s that unit Schweizer wants to bring into Allerton, an east Bronx neighborhood where crime peaked over the summer.
“The whole area between Williamsbridge Road and Bronx Park East, with approximately a population of 40,000, has no neighborhood patrol,” he noted.
He and Agosto gave the BPECA a test-run in late summer, organizing a successful block party on Thwaites Place to promote community involvement.
The group’s formation was sealed on Election Day after Schweizer learned about a Chinese food deliveryman hit by a stray bullet in broad daylight.
“That was the last straw,” recalled Schweizer, who reached out to Agosto to officially launch BPECA, which meets monthly at Centerlight at 2401 White Plains Road.
“We can’t put our heads in the sand like an ostrich,” said Agosto. “We want to protect our neighborhood.”
But fighting crime is just one aspect of the group, said Schweizer, who wants schedule cleanup events around Bronx Park East.
“We want to complement and add to the patchwork of neighborhood groups that work to improve the quality of life,” noted Schweizer.
David Cruz can be reach via e-mail at DCruz@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 742-3383