Thursday, November 21, 2013

Bronx Borough Board Meeting - Re Kingsbridge Armory Vote

  Today was the November Bronx Borough Board Meeting. There were three things on the agenda for today's meeting.
  Item #1 - A presentation by the Taxi & Limousine Commission in the new "Green Outer Boro Taxi"
This presentation was given as it has and will be at the local community board level. there were minimal questions as to which fare would be cheaper. The current flat fee or the new metered fare. Mr. Gordon of TLC Policy Affairs said that most likely it is the metered fare as most trips are short. Another question was the timing of how the new taxi's is going to be. 6,000 each year over the next three years, and 20 percent to be wheelchair accessible. Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. commended the TLC on this new Green taxi program saying that he was one of many people who had input into the process.
  Item #2 - Was a presentation by Mr. Ricky Wong if the NYC Department of Consumer Affairs on Information and Tips for Holiday Season Shopping. Mr. Wong handed out a pamphlet with 10 points to know going over a few such as the Store Refund Policy, when a receipt has to be given, credit card limits, and to go to the DCA website at for more information. BP Diaz asked if the DCA handles the current Shop And Frisk issue in some stores, and was told that is handled by the Department of Human Rights. Councilman Oliver Koppell complimented DCA on the hand out, but said that while the outside of the hand out is in normal size print the inside is in much to small print for someone like him to read. Koppell joked that it was as big as the printing on the recent ballot on election day that was to small for most people to read.
  Item #3 - A vote by the Bronx Borough Board on the agreement between  the NYC Department of Economic Development and the Kingsbridge National Ice Center (KNIC) for a 99 year lease of the Kingsbridge Armory as a hockey and Ice Skating Arena. 
  An overview presentation by Ernesto Padron of NYCDEC of the proposal led to a discussion of the benefits to not only the area of the Kingsbridge Armory, but the entire borough of the Bronx. Councilmen Andy King, Oliver Koppell and Fernando Cabrera were in attendance and each spoke on the proposal. BP Diaz spoke of his visits to Philadelphia where a similar program was started by a former professional hockey Player that has given minority children chances of learning how to ice skate and play ice hockey that they never had the opportunity to have. Diaz continued on how the children and their parents adhere to the rules, such as good grades, good attendance, and good behavior so the children can play on the ice. 
  Councilman Andy King thanked BP Diaz for his leadership in this project, and said that he use to go to the old ice skating Rink on Broadway in the Riverdale area in his youth. King added that he is a Knick fan no matter how you spell it. King said he was voting for the KNIC proposal for the Kingsbridge Armory.
  Councilman Oliver Koppell said that this is the most exciting proposal for the Bronx in his 40 years of elected office, and that while he is the neighboring district that he had wanted a sports complex to be places in the armory for many man y years. Koppell said that he would be voting yes on the proposal. 
  Councilman Fernando Cabrera was much more subdued in his comments by saying only that he would vote yes on this proposal today and encourage his fellow council members to vote yes when the proposal comes before the City Council as a final step to approval.Up to this point Councilman Cabrera was the lone holdout on the KNIC proposal.

Left - Councilman Cabrera and Community Board 8 Chair Robert Fanuzzi chat as Councilman Oliver watches in the background.
Right - Councilman Cabrera speaks and then quickly leaves after the vote is over.


Left & Right BP Diaz speaking about why this proposal for the Kingsbridge Armory should be approved. 

  Diaz would say after the vote by the Borough Board 
“Today’s vote will facilitate the construction of a world class skating, community and educational facility that will be the catalyst for positive redevelopment not just in the surrounding community, but across the borough,” said Borough President Diaz.

The 10-0 vote of the Bronx Borough Board included three City Council Members—Fernando Cabrera, G. Oliver Koppell and Andy King—who attended the meeting to offer their support for the project in person.

“The Kingsbridge National Ice Center promises to not only bring living wage jobs to the community, but also provide world class facilities that will benefit our youth here in the Bronx, the City of New York and the surrounding region. As I have said numerous times, this project is going to have a tremendous positive impact on not just the Northwest Bronx but the entire borough, and I am proud to support the development of the Kingsbridge National Ice Center,” said Borough President Diaz.

The Community Benefits Agreement has been signed by dozens of neighborhood organizations and community partners representing thousands of residents in the Northwest Bronx that support the project.

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