SERIES | Community Briefs: CB3: Workforce, maximizing Crotona Park

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Crotona Park is one of the institutions highlighting Community District 3.
File photo

On Dec. 30, all 59 of New York City’s community boards will kick off the 2022-23 budget process when, along with local agencies, they examine their capital and expense needs before submitting budgetary requests to Mayor Eric Adams for inclusion in his preliminary budget. Over the next two months, the Bronx Times will explore the needs of each of the borough’s 12 community districts in our short-form series “Community Briefs.”

Community District 3

District neighborhoods (population): Morrisania (37,607), Melrose (42,651), Claremont (24,553), Crotona Park East (30,158), Bathgate (32,002) and Woodstock (6,708)

District boundaries: North by the Cross Bronx Expressway and Crotona Park North; to the east by the Sheridan Expressway, East 169 Street, East 167 Street and Prospect Avenue; East 159 Street and East 161 Street to the south; and to the west along Park and Webster avenues.

Workforce development

In South Bronx-based community districts 1, 2 and 3, which span the neighborhoods of Melrose, Hunts Point and Morrisania, 38 homeless shelters and facilities are sited within 6 square miles.

A chunk of the Community District 3 non-Crotona Park land use has gone toward homeless shelters, and since 2014, the district has seen a rise in homelessness in the area, hovering above 5% of the city’s homeless population.

District residents are grappling with interconnected issues such as high unemployment rates and rising homelessness, beset by the highest number of shelters per capita in the Bronx. Bronx Community Board 3 members say they are challenged with connecting people with resources, opportunities and assets, and promoting job training and job readiness opportunities for growing in-demand industries.

CB3 wants funding for workforce development programs related to job training/development for the formerly incarcerated and those youth aging out of foster care (14-25 years of age), aimed at preventing incarceration and increased rates of recidivism of the formerly incarcerated. Additionally, the board is also looking for local employers in the area to create incentives for prospective employers to hire formerly incarcerated adults and offender.

The construction of the incoming Morrisania Metro-North train station could also stimulate the district, as they gain easier access to Manhattan’s commercial corridor by 2026.

Recreation

Diverse in its forestry and a highlight of recreation, Croton Park takes up 127 acres of Community District 3, and much of its future is being reimagined through a master plan that includes lake restoration, a conversion for Crotona Park Pool access to be year-round, and more recreational space by 2034.

On Oct. 1, Crotona Park hosted an international soccer competition — the inaugural NYC Consulate Cup — where Burkina Faso defeated Mexico in the finals. Crotona Park received a revitalization of its soccer fields through a $3 million initiative to create and maintain 50 mini-pitches throughout the city and expand free soccer programming for New York City youth.

There is funding allocated for more soccer fields in the park’s future, on Playground No. 4 in Crotona Park East on East 175 Street and Southern Boulevard.

In the meantime, CB3 priorities for the park include increased staffing and funding for higher-quality recreational programming. Also, the district seeks a slew of improvements of several neighborhood parks, a request the Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget recommends should be forwarded to the district’s elected officials.

Leaders in the district also wants to renovate the Crotona pool spaces — there’s an outdoor pool on 173rd Street and Fulton Avenue — for year-round pool access for community youth members and a space for indoor events, a goal outlined in the Crotona Park Master Plan 2034.

A sewage drain is clogged causing flooding on a corner street in the Bronx. Photo courtesy Getty Images

Flooding

According to riskfactor.com, which assesses multi-year flood risks across the nation, 9,690 properties in the Bronx are likely to be severely affected by flooding over the next 30 years.

CB3 has proposals to install a stormwater line and catch basins along Claremont Parkway between Crotona Park East and Crotona Avenue. Citing a need for infrastructure to address stormwater run off, the board says that the area of focus has faced significant flooding after heavy rainfalls.

Other areas with flooding concerns in the district include the intersection of Crotona Avenue and Claremont Parkway, at the center of Crotona Park. The response from the Mayor’s Office of Management and Budget is for an investigation to look into the district’s flooding risks.

To read the previous installment, Community District 3, of our 12-part series on the Bronx’s 12 community districts click here

Reach Robbie Sequeira at [email protected] or (718) 260-4599. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram @bronxtimes

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