The money will come from the city council, King’s capital budget, as well as the capital budget of the Bronx borough president’s office.
Over $1 million will go to installing security cameras at the Gun Hill Houses and Eastchester Gardens, while another $700,000 will go to renovating a playing field at the Boston Secor Houses. An additional $18,000 will go to maintaining the senior center at the Secor Houses.
On Tuesday, King, who represents northeast Bronx, toured the Secor Houses with Shola Olatoye, chairwoman of the city’s public housing authority, NYCHA (New York City Housing Authority). They spoke with residents and visited the senior center and a residential building at 3555-3565 Bivona St.
Bronx council member Andy King at a press conference held at the Boston Secor Houses in northeast Bronx, New York on Tuesday, Aug. 19, 2014. Additional funding from the city council was recently given to North Bronx public housing projects to install security cameras and do repairs. (Annie Wu/Epoch Times)
King noted that NYCHA staff needed to improve their response time to residents’ requests for maintenance and repairs.
“There needs to be a commitment to make sure this development won’t be neglected,” King said.
Stacey Carpentier, president of the tenant association at the Secor Houses, said residents’ needs “went unanswered” for many years.
NYCHA staff is supposed to respond by the following day after tenants submit a request, but that often doesn’t happen. The most common problems were mold and broken tiles and walls, she said.
— Councilman Andy King (@AndyKingNYC) August 19, 2014
State senator Ruth Hassell-Thompson, who also represents the northeast Bronx area, said at the press conference that the security cameras will help reduce criminal activity at the public housing projects.
Rosetta Archible, who has lived at the Secor Houses for 45 years and is now captain of her apartment building, said she recalls the buildings being in better condition when she was younger. Hallways are now filthy and elevators often don’t work properly, she said.
Archible used to play softball at the Secor Houses playing field, now overgrown with grass and without markers for the bases.
“I want to make sure my kids and grandkids get what I had,” Archible said.
She hopes different ball courts can be constructed on the field so that children from the neighborhood can play sports together.
King did not indicate a timeline for when renovations will begin on the playing field, but said he will ask for residents’ feedback on how they want to fix up the space.
This funding news comes ahead of recent revelations that NYCHA is currently in dire financial straits. Its latest operating plan says it needs over $6 billion for major capital projects and has a budget deficit of $191 million for fiscal year 2014.