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Statement of Needs

Manhattan Community Board 10

District Needs Statement for Fiscal Year 2016

Manhattan Community Board 10 encompasses the neighborhoods of Central Harlem, an area of approximately 1.5 square miles of relatively flat land. Three of the District's four major boundaries are natural features: Harlem River to the north, Central Park to the south and the Fordham Cliffs to the west. The District's eastern border, Fifth Avenue, is its only boundary that is not a natural feature. According to the 2010 Census Data, Central Harlem has a population of approximately 118,000, an increase of about 11,000 over the past ten years.

Harlem has witnessed a phenomenal amount of social and physical change over the past few decades. The development of hundreds of vacant lots and buildings has brought a more diverse population to the community. Presently, African Americans make up approximately 63% of the District’s population, followed by Hispanic at 22%, White at 10% and Asian at 2%.

Due to its long history as a center for arts, culture and social and political activism, Harlem is regarded as the cultural center for African Americans throughout the world, and one of New York City’s top tourist attractions.

ARTS & CULTURE

Presently, there is no Performing Arts Center (PAC) in Central Harlem.  While there are dance theatres and museums, there is a strong need for funding from the federal government and other sources to secure a home for such.  Community Board 10 would like to see the creation of a PAC that would help to solidify its long cultural standing in the world as a center for the arts and culture. 

A PAC would help the economic revitalization of Central Harlem and serve as a center to help ignite the resurgence of the arts, since one of the best ways in which to raise the awareness of a community is through the arts.  Such arts centers can include dance, theatre, music, and smaller venues would include the visual arts.

Community Board 10 is in need of a Community Recreation and Cultural Center (CRCC) to provide a cohesive force for our community, where young people can play and learn and grow; adults can find personal growth through educational programs for continuing education objectives and personal development initiatives; and seniors can find opportunities for health and wellness, and intellectual stimulation.

While there are several smaller community centers throughout Central Harlem, there are no existing CRCC’s presently that can provide access to and stimulation for all groups of a community.  Nevertheless, it is these smaller cultural centers that need funding to continue to exist in order to provide free services to our community. 

Community Board 10 wishes to put together a task force to address these issues and partner with other Central Harlem-based arts organizations to examine the feasibility of such projects, while pulling together smaller organizations to form a broader coalition of art advocates.

There are two major institutions of higher learning in Central Harlem, Touro College and the College of New Rochelle, Rosa Parks campus, which sits above the Studio Museum of Harlem.  They draw hundreds of students, professors and staff members to our community.  The Arts & Culture Committee would like to partner with these and other institutions to expand the scope of our Committee to include “letters” and other scholarly work, both spoken, to, for and about our community, and written as well.

Community Board 10 is very excited that the construction of The Africa Center is nearing completion at One Museum Mile on Fifth Avenue and 110th Street, since is it uniquely situated to bring Central Harlem and East Harlem together, both serving the local community while speaking to a global audience.  We look forward to this interesting chapter in Community Board 10’s future.

ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT

While Harlem has a significant economic base, the economic potential of the area is not currently maximized. Harlem is predominantly zoned for residential development with limited commercial overlay. The high level of unemployment in the area is unlikely to be addressed if Harlem remains a “bedroom community” for the rest of Manhattan. The Economic Development Corporation of the City of New York measures the total existing commercial development in Harlem as 4.8 million square feet, which makes it one of the smallest major business districts in New York City. Even with the limited commercial zoning that exists, the economic potential of the area has not been optimized. The area suffers from limited public sector investment, untapped retail potential, a dearth of non-retail for-profit businesses rental rates on the predominant 125th Street corridor that are prohibitive to local businesses and a chronically high unemployment rate. Additionally, residential and commercial property rental increases due to current real estate market interest have increased financial pressure on local families and small businesses in Harlem.

A significant portion of the commercial office space in Harlem is occupied by non-profit organizations and government agencies, which are unlikely to experience significant growth in job creation, and in fact are exposed to long-term job reductions. New local businesses in Harlem, particularly small businesses, are an important source of new job creation. Successful economic development of Central Harlem requires the addition of new dynamic business clusters. Potential areas of new business development include digital media and technology, health related sectors, as well as the tourism industry.

In the past, going "Uptown" meant an evening spent at a nightclub listening to jazz at legendary clubs such as The Cotton Club or The Savoy. At present, the existing attractions still draw evening crowds and interest in area is improving with recent additions such as Red Rooster and Harlem Tavern. With its heralded history, access to mass transit, iconic cultural institutions and its existing and emerging attractions, Central Harlem has the potential to recapture its former position as a premier arts and culture destination in New York City for both local residents and tourists.

Community Board 10 has identified the economic development needs of the District as follows:

• A coordinated effort by City and local development agencies, in collaboration with the business community, to document and market the continued untapped retail potential in Harlem;
• Addressing the low public investment in Central Harlem relative to other commercial districts in New York City; 
• Re-establishing the prominence of Harlem’s grand avenues and the creation of a critical mass of local businesses; and
•  Development of an overall Harlem tourism promotion strategy to maximize potential tourism revenues.

Addressing the Deficit in Public Investment

The stimulation of economic development in Harlem will require both additional public and private investment. In recent decades, public investment in Harlem has focused on improving the housing stock and transitioning abandoned buildings and property back to the private market. As the inventory of vacant housing has declined, it is critical that the public sector focuses on stimulating local commercial development. While recent efforts have been made to spur job creation in Harlem along the 125th Street corridor, including the construction of a Whole Foods supermarket, Bed Bath and Beyond, Burlington Coat Factory, and other large retail businesses, there are no major commercial developments being contemplated in Community District 10 outside of the 125th Street corridor.

Tapping the retail potential

According to the Harlem Community Development Corporation, the approximately 550,000 residents of Upper Manhattan have an annual gross income of $5 billion and purchasing power of $2 billion, indicating clear evidence of the untapped retail potential in Central Harlem. The demands for goods and services in Upper Manhattan neighborhoods currently exceed the available supply. Despite this underutilization of the area's economic base, there remain significant levels of retail vacancy. A recent Community Board 10 study identified nearly 250 vacant storefronts in the area, with the vacancies occurring throughout the major boulevards. These high levels of retail vacancy occur despite availability of important public infrastructure, including extensive public transportation service from subways and buses as well as attractive wide avenues.

To address the untapped retail potential in Harlem, it would be valuable to have a coordinated strategy to market the area by local and citywide development agencies in collaboration with local small business networks.

Supporting the development of small businesses

The economic revitalization of Harlem has focused on attracting large established retailers. While the success of these initiatives has been critical to addressing the chronic lack of services in the community, we believe that large retailers will not be the primary source of business and job creation over the next decade for a number of reasons:

•   Historically, small businesses are the leading source of job creation in New York, as well as nationwide;
•   Small businesses produce a higher economic impact on the local neighborhood than regional chains, as the income and profit generated is more likely to circulate in the neighborhood, creating an economic multiplier effect;
•   There is a declining number of suitable sites for big box retailers, particularly with the development already completed or planned along the 125th Street corridor.

The availability of cost-effective real estate for small business owners and emerging entrepreneurs is critical to the progress of job formation in the Harlem marketplace. Especially given the interest in the commercial real estate market in Harlem, it is still cost-prohibitive for small businesses. Finally, there is a growing sense in the Harlem community that the time has come for a new Harlem technology renaissance, not only in residential development but across a range of commercial and economic development activities. The City needs to establish a coordinated Central Harlem technology business district development plan.

Strengthening Harlem’s Grand Avenues 

Much of the focus on the commercial development of Harlem has focused on the 125th Street corridor, but little development attention has been placed on Harlem’s historically grand avenues. The 125th Street corridor is a regional shopping and commercial street and serves as a cross-borough thoroughfare that provides direct connections to major regional transportation arteries. 125th Street was rezoned in 2008 with an increase in the residential and commercial density, particularly in the central core between Malcolm X Boulevard and Frederick Douglass Boulevard. The economic potential of the 125th Street Corridor is well-established in the marketplace, and consequently, its premium rental rents are generally unaffordable to local businesses. Other areas in Central Harlem with significant commercial zoning include the other East-West corridors of 116th, 135th and 145th Streets. These corridors have also experienced increased economic activity in recent years and are achieving a critical mass of businesses.

The grand avenues in Central Harlem have fallen from their historical prominence in part due to limited public investment. Currently, the commercial potential of the avenues is not being realized. The avenues offer the most significant potential for small business formation. Frederick Douglass, Adam Clayton Powell, Jr., and Malcolm X Boulevards, as well as St. Nicholas Avenue are widely recognized as some of the most striking avenues in New York City. Their revitalization would be a significant benefit to the neighborhood and the City. Most avenues have a C1 commercial overlay designation, with a few exceptions. The C1-2 zoning designation is designed to accommodate the retail and personal service shops needed in residential neighborhoods. As a consequence of the zoning, the avenues are mainly comprised of residential buildings with ground-floor commercial space. Some existing building types along the corridors are not designed with retail space and thus serve as gaps to the corridor's retail continuity.

The low density of commercial development coupled with the limited amount of ground-floor retail available (average size of 600 square feet per store) positions the avenues to accommodate local neighborhood goods and services that are geared toward the local resident population. The avenues are also generally more affordable for small business owners than major east-west corridors. Recent business launches have highlighted the economic potential of the avenues, including the introduction of commercial landmarks of the Red Rooster on Lenox Avenue, Aloft Hotel and Harlem Tavern on Frederick Douglass Boulevard, and Minton’s on St. Nicholas Avenue. However, sizable vacancies continue to exist on the avenues and further work needs to be done to increase the visibility of the existing businesses on these corridors to local and citywide consumers.

Maximizing small business visibility and traffic

The Economic Development Committee of Community Board 10 has heard consistent feedback regarding the difficulty of small businesses on the avenues in garnering visibility from local residents as well as other New Yorkers and tourists. In order to increase traffic and visibility of small businesses along the avenues, key strategies need to be developed including streetscape improvements and neighborhood marketing.

While Frederick Douglass Boulevard has emerged as the primary north-south commercial corridor, there has been little public investment in upgrading the streetscape. While a business improvement district (“BID”) exists on 125th Street to strengthen the commercial corridor, it is unlikely that a BID can be created for the Frederick Douglass Boulevard corridor due to the limitation of commercial development to only the ground floors of predominantly residential buildings. It is also incredibly difficult for individual property owners to make streetscape improvements given the complications resulting from major subway lines running close to street level. Public investment can play a critical role in giving visibility to Frederick Douglass Boulevard as a commercial destination and hub for emerging local businesses. Investments could include the following:

  • Improved street lighting and façade illumination;
  • Repair and replacement of broken sidewalks;
  • Median improvements;
  • Improved pedestrian safety signals and signage;
  • Pedestrian-friendly street furniture; and
  • Neighborhood markers, including flag posts.

While the density of commercial activity along the avenues of Central Harlem is not adequate to support the formation of a business improvement district, the potential for neighborhood marketing can be best facilitated through the formation of district marketing organizations to support these corridors, similar to the Meat Packaging District Initiative and the Soho Partnership. Community Board 10 played a formative role in the creation of Harlem Park to Park, which supports and markets small businesses south of 125th Street, but more work remains to be done. Programs of the Department of Small Business Services should be leveraged to create an overall marketing plan for Harlem’s great avenues.

A Strategic Plan for Tourism

Tourism in Harlem remains an untapped opportunity to grow local small businesses. The tourism industry is one of the largest industries in New York City, generating in excess of $58.7 billion dollars of spending in 2013 alone. However, Harlem businesses are unable to fully capitalize on the level of tourism spending locally at least partially due to the lack of lodging facilities in the neighborhood to anchor tenants to the local economy. The opening of the Aloft Hotel in winter 2010/2011 was the first new hotel development in Harlem in decades. Due to the lack of an established lodging infrastructure, it is not surprising that tourists generally traverse the area by tour buses, but do not get off the bus or only do so briefly at a few well-known destinations.

In addition to the deficit of lodging facilities, the reasons for low levels of tourism revenues for the area also include retail spatial fragmentation and a lack of tourism-related business coordination and visibility. A focus on the revitalization of Harlem's grand avenues would also serve to maximize tourism revenue to Central Harlem, as it would attract visitors to walk through the neighborhood in addition to visiting the iconic cultural anchors of the Apollo and the Studio Museum of Harlem on 125th Street, the Schomburg Center on 135th Street, or more recently established cultural institutions such as Maison D’Art.

While it is helpful that plans for a new tourism information center are included in the redevelopment of Mart 125 as a digital media and cultural center, we think it is critical that a robust strategic plan be developed, articulated and implemented to optimize the tourism potential of Harlem. While NYC & Co. has increased its coverage of Harlem, more work remains to be done to promote the neighborhood in local and international markets. Current plans for the development of the vacant Victoria Theater as a major hotel venue would significantly benefit local businesses.

DEPARTMENT OF EDUCATION

Two Community School Districts reside within the boundaries of Community Board 10—Districts 3 and 5, which serve Central Harlem. School District 5 mostly serves Community District 10; the area north of 122nd Street, while a small portion of School District 3 covers 122nd to 110th streets. The majority of Community District 10’s schools are located in School District 5. The schools that fall within the boundary of Community District 10 comprise Region 10 (parts of District 3 and District 5). In addition to twenty-four public schools, Central Harlem has eleven charter schools, and nine private and parochial schools. The vast majority of Community District 10 schools are included in this school district. Community Board 10 continues to support the efforts of the local school district to obtain funding for additional classroom space. We also support after school programs and the use of schools for afternoon and evening community use.
With the recent increase of local charter schools, the Board has supported all local school efforts, whether public, private or independent, to provide the best educational opportunities for this community’s youth. However, the Board defined its position regarding the use of public school space for charter school purposes in its unanimous resolution against charter school applications which pursue co-location as their campus facilities as this practice often pits co -located schools against each other for scarce resources, and disrupts the educational processes of non-charter school students. Additionally, the non-charter school students of co-located schools can be subjected to unequal access to educational resources, including but not limited to libraries, computer laboratories, physical education facilities, educational programs, extracurricular programs, special education programs, performing arts spaces, continuous space, flexibility of operations, and meal service and times.

Recommendations:

  • Support the Mayor’s community challenge to accept the President’s “My Brother’s Keeper” initiative to ensure optimal educational, social and career ready outcomes for school age children from prekindergarten to after they graduate from high school.
  • Promote efforts to dismantle the “School-to-Prison Pipeline,” in which school discipline codes and public safety policies push students out of school and into the criminal justice system. This system disproportionately targets youth of color and youth with disabilities. Inequities in areas such as school discipline, policing practices, high-stakes testing and the prison industry contribute to the pipeline.
  • Support all efforts to provide vocational educational opportunities through career and technical school opportunities, as well as encourage general equivalency diploma program support.
  • Support all efforts to encourage equity in educational opportunities, resources and funding for all students within this community.

HEALTH AND HUMAN SERVICES

HEALTH

As reported in the 2011 Department of Health study, Central Harlem has the highest death rate in the City. Central Harlem ranked first in the City for cerebrovascular diseases, has the second highest rate of cancer deaths, third highest rate for drug-related deaths and sixth for HIV. The death rate in Central Harlem remains higher than both Manhattan and New York City overall with cancer, heart disease and HIV-related illness as top causes of premature death. Other key health issues include smoking, obesity/physical activity, health insurance/ access to care, mental health and drug abuse.

Manhattan Community Board 10 continues to support the ’Take Care New York’ health policy (TCNY). Its goals mirror the Harlem Hospital Community Needs Statement from December 2010. Both examine the health needs of the community and emphasize the unique challenges facing this diverse community.
The key to surviving cancer is early detection. Women in Community District 10 are slightly below the target for breast cancer mammograms and nearly meeting the TCNY target for PAP tests for cervical cancer. Early screenings provide opportunities for treatment. Unfortunately, only 50% of residents aged 50 and older have had a colonoscopy in the past 10 years.

Risk factors for cardiovascular disease include hypertension, diabetes, high cholesterol, cigarette smoking and poor diet. Community District 10 has an alarming prevalence rate of all these health issues. Diagnostic and treatment services are mostly long-term management programs and require continuous funding and expansion due to the growth of the neighborhoods.

Wide disparities exist in HIV across New York City communities. Sadly, HIV diagnoses and rate of people living with HIV/AIDS in Central Harlem is twice that of New York City overall. Statistics from the Office of Minority Health indicate racial and ethnic minorities accounted for almost 71% of the diagnosed cases of HIV and AIDS in 2008. With African Americans and Hispanics comprising approximately 86% of Central Harlem the expense of this special population places a huge burden on Harlem Hospital and the AIDS Service/Community-Based organizations.

The obesity epidemic in Central Harlem has been exacerbated by the lack of healthy food choices, largely due to access and cost. Community Board 10 continues to support the City’s efforts to address food deserts. The Board supports farmer’s markets and the City’s efforts to provide affordable healthy food options, and encourages the City to continue to explore creative options, like the recently launched FRESH Bodega initiative. In addition, we implore the community to participate in and the City to support innovative programs such as Central Harlem Health Revival, Hip Hop Healthy Eating and Living in Schools, Harlem Healthy Living, Harlem Walk it Out and Shape Up NYC.

As evidenced by the Community Board’s resolution on Harlem oil boiler conversions, we are passionate about the respiratory health of our children. We strongly urge the City to work on a program that will eliminate the old No. 4 and No. 6 oil burning boilers from all City-owned properties. In addition, the expansion of child health clinics (school and community based) is vital to maintaining the health of Manhattan Community District 10 children.

Narcotic and drug abuse in Central Harlem has been a problem for decades. While the death rate due to drugs and alcohol has dropped, the rate is still more than twice as high in Central Harlem as in Manhattan and NYC overall. The same holds true for alcohol and drug related hospitalizations. Drug treatment centers have long been part of the Harlem community. However, proper oversight and management is required to ensure a high quality of life for those residents living next to these facilities.

Teen pregnancy rates have declined over the past few years; however the birth rate for teenage mothers remains higher in Central Harlem compared to other NYC communities. Therefore, the demand for obstetrical resources remains. Programs that provide education and prevention of early and unwanted pregnancies must be funded. Family planning services are also needed to identify appropriate foster families and adoption options. In addition, prenatal care is imperative for the prevention of low birth weight babies and infant mortality.

The health needs of the elderly are great and the percentage of elderly within Community District 10 is 33% of the population. A greater percentage of this population lives below the poverty line, limiting the accessibility of health care to Medicaid and Medicare. The wide spectrum of services delivered to this population is essential. The Department for the Aging and the Human Resources Administration require sufficient funding in order to continue home-care, housekeeping and nutrition programs to this growing cohort.

HUMAN SERVICES

The state of the economy has had a harmful impact on the overall quality of life for the communities in District 10. Unemployment rates are far greater than the national and state average. Currently, one of every three persons in the District is receiving some form of public assistance. The Board is committed to working with agency partners to ensure that there are adequate health and human services to address the needs of Central Harlem residents. An extraordinary number of families which have relocated to Central Harlem through the City's shelter system/social services programs are in need of social services.

The Welfare Reform Act of 1996 turned over primary responsibility for administering the welfare system to the states. It required recipients to find jobs within two years of first receiving welfare payments and limited welfare payments for a total of no more than five years. In addition, states are allowed to establish "family caps" that prevent mothers of babies born while the mother is already on welfare from receiving additional benefits. These federal mandates have placed a higher responsibility on State and City funded programs to provide relevant job training, job placement and childcare options.

There are nineteen senior centers operating within Community District 10, including a new nursing home and a 200-bed long-term rehabilitation center. This facility relocated from Roosevelt Island and occupies part of what was once North General Hospital. Many senior centers have comprehensive programs for Central Harlem's senior population. Outreach efforts need to be expanded to offer these home healthcare, exercise and social activities, home/shelter assistance and nutritional and support to qualified senior citizens who don’t yet benefit.

THE ELDERLY

In 2000, eleven percent of Community District 10's residents were age 65 and older. More than one-third of this population of Harlem has incomes below the poverty line. Accessible and affordable health care is an important service for this sector of the population, as they tend to be on fixed incomes. There is a need to increase the total spectrum of services delivered to this population through the Department for the Aging and the Human Resources Administration, including home care, housekeeping and free meals programs.

Eighteen senior centers operate within Community District 10. Most have comprehensive programs to address a variety of needs within Central Harlem's senior population. Other smaller centers specialize in specific programs such as nutrition or emotional support. There are also a number of residential health facilities and senior housing facilities, many of which are Section 202 Supportive Housing for the Elderly.

Improved outreach efforts are needed to identify senior citizens who are living in relative isolation and without their basic needs being met, such as adequate shelter, nutritional and utility support, are necessary. According to reports from senior services providers, there remain a significant number of elderly persons in Central Harlem who are eligible for available services but do not take advantage of them. Identification of this “at risk” population is of critical importance.

Housing services for seniors has diminished due to the needed focus on housing for middle and upper income families in Community District 10. As a result, the need for housing for the elderly is becoming more pronounced.

Approximately 33% of the elderly are living alone, thus the need for home care has increased. We support alternative private and public programs to fill this need.

YOUTH

Community District 10 has suffered tremendously from the selection process and general disorganization of the Summer Youth Employment Program. The number of slots that Community District 10 has received for summer jobs underestimates the number of children in this community who could benefit from this program. Furthermore, the Board feels that the children should be accommodated on a “first come, first serve” basis, rather than a lottery system.

Children in Central Harlem are in desperate need of the experience, money and job training that summer employment provides, and this program is a lynchpin to their efforts to obtain that employment. Among youth between ages, 16-25, the rate of unemployment is greater than 50%. The alternative to the positive experience of employment is far too often a “lost summer” for our youth, spent on the streets engaged in idle behavior that will invariably lead to criminalization for many of them.

SOCIAL SERVICES

Adequate social services continue to be a great need in Community District 10. A large percentage of the population is unemployed, more than twice the borough rate and twice the City rate. Currently, one of every three persons in the District is receiving some form of public assistance.
Support and Distribution:

Many of the people who relocated to the Harlem community through the City’s social services programs are not from the community, thereby distorting the numbers and increasing the need for social services. The extraordinary number of families relocated to Harlem thorough the City’s shelter system has created a pressing need for additional social/support services in the area.

Most of these families continue to face many of the same problems which initially led to their homelessness: anti-socia1 behavior, substance abuse, inadequate incomes, and battered spouse syndrome. Simply re-housing these families does not solve their complex social problems. In order to meet the needs of these families, additional resources must be committed. Other communities must bear their fair share of relocated families and all communities must receive an increased funding for social programs to support relocated individuals and families.

Federal Mandates:

An estimated 38,000 people are scheduled by mandate to be terminated from the federal welfare rolls. Neither, the City or State has created a supportive net that must be in place to avert a social disaster. It is imperative that programs be put in place to provide counseling, meaningful and relevant job training, and job placement. This District has a large population which will be impacted by the Welfare Reform Act.

Foster Care Support

Resources must be made available for preventative family assistance to stem the flow of children into foster care. Programs which provide education and prevention of early and unwanted pregnancies must be funded. Programs to work with families to remove their children from foster care must be given priority. In addition, programs that work with children and families, especially adolescents and their children must be supported.

HOUSING

Harlem’s rich history and culture, together with its accessibility to public transit and neighborhood amenities, make it an attractive destination for an estimated 115,723 longstanding and new residents, as evidenced by a population increase of 8% from 2000 to 2010; however, housing opportunities have only increased by 4.2%.

The origins of Harlem's struggle to maintain affordable and decent housing are rooted in dynamic social and economic forces that have brought a range of public and private interests into the District’s housing arena. Today, a slower, yet enduring rate of deterioration, coupled with the current trends of investment, revitalization, and rent deregulation characterize the fundamental forces currently affecting housing conditions and population change.

As noted in Mayor de Blasio’s Five Borough, Ten-Year Plan for Housing in New York,  “For the first time in decades, more people are moving to or staying in the City than leaving: our older residents are aging in place rather than moving after retirement; our young families are remaining in the City rather than moving to the suburbs when their children reach school age; empty nesters are returning to the City after their children are grown, and people are moving to the City from all over the United States, as well as all over the world.” This reality can be felt within the Village of Harlem, which has historically offered below-market real-estate options and parcels of underdeveloped private and city owned land. 

As the population of Central Harlem continues to grow, we believe affordable housing opportunities must remain available for existing residents. In addition, critical to achieving neighborhood stability in Central Harlem will be housing and land use policies to encourage new affordable rental and affordable home ownership options for segments of our community which identify as being extremely low, very low, low, moderate, and middle-income households.

Statistical Snapshot:

The majority of residential buildings in Central Harlem were constructed in or before 1939.  Currently, there are 16 New York City Housing Authority developments and over 305 subsidized housing developments within the District, which house tens of thousands of residents.  Unfortunately, many of these properties, including several newly constructed developments within the last five years, will approach deregulation between 2015-2020. 

The rate of deregulation is especially concerning since Central Harlem has a poverty rate of 22%, which is higher than the rate citywide. 47% of households within the District pay a monthly gross rent ranging from $1,000 to $1,499 (median of $856), which accounts for over 35% of their income for rent; thus, many are considered to be rent-burdened households.

Mayor de Blasio’s Five Borough, Ten-Year Plan suggests that households best served by available financing programs have annual incomes between 50 and 60 percent of AMI or $41,951 to $50,340 for a family of four; however, the median income for households in the District is significantly lower. In addition, the private market does not currently produce enough affordable housing for moderate and middle-income households within the District.

As of the 2010 Census, 87.5% residential units, or 43,479 units out of 49,670, were rental occupied; reports also suggest a higher vacancy in Central Harlem-South (below 125th Street) vs. Central Harlem North (Polo Grounds). The majority of these units are single person households occupied by an individual between 25 and 44 years old, followed by single person households between the ages of 45 and 64.  The majority of family rental households are female-led households with no husband/partner present (27.1%), 62% of which have related children under the age of 18.

From 2000 to 2010 the number of units owned by residents of Central Harlem increased by 106%.  The majority of homeowners’ home value ranges from $500,000 to $999,999 with a median home value of $613,900. 

Lastly, according to the 2010 Census, 26.6% of the District is zoned for Residential/Commercial (21.6%) and Commercial/Office (5%) space.  The majority of these areas are located in densely populated clusters, including the 125th Street Corridor, and along the District’s grand boulevards. 
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Affordable Housing Recommendations:

The Housing Committee believes that the preservation of existing affordable housing stock in Harlem is a key priority. As existing affordable units within the District expire, the City must continue to create more affordable units at varying rates of affordability. 

The City and its Department of Housing Preservation and Development (“HPD”) have traditionally worked with local non-profit community development groups and the private sector to finance and develop thousands of affordable housing units throughout the City. This multi-sector approach should be encouraged as a model within Central Harlem, and not exclusively for luxury developments with limited affordable units. 

Affordable Rental Recommendations:

  • The City should encourage more subsidies for housing programs for the lowest income populations (i.e. 30 to 50 percent of AMI) and/or cross subsidize those populations through mixed-income programs that target households earning up to 165 percent of AMI. This will allow us to serve a wider range of households within the District.
  • Considering the increase of younger, lower-to-middle income families, it is important that the City implement an affordable housing plan that encompasses the projected population growth for Central Harlem.  Sufficient planning for SRO, two-bedroom, or larger units is needed, and developments should include community-gathering spaces for residents and families.

Affordable Homeownership Recommendations:

The majority of affordable housing options in the community are rentals. We know that home ownership is often one of the pillars of community investment; however there are few opportunities for residents of Central Harlem to own homes. We believe additional opportunities should be extended including:

  • Programming options such as the Housing Development Fund Corporation:  Create and preserve new incentives for properties that are not served by existing programs but are in danger of converting to condos or exiting rent stabilization. 
  • Tenant Interim Lease Apartment Purchase Programs
  • Examine the role of lenders and support financial sustainability resource programs for District residents.

 Homelessness

The Department of Homeless Services (“DHS”) works tirelessly to address the critical needs of our community. Manhattan Community Board 10 has been the recipient of housing programs for the homeless for a number of years. Thousands of families have been relocated within the City's hotel shelter system within Central Harlem. This has resulted in the District being oversaturated with housing for the homeless that are not accompanied by adequate social service support. The City and DHS should work to ensure that the City’s Fair Share policy includes the placement of such homeless facilities, and ensure that funds are allocated to provide adequate social service support.

Seniors

The senior population of Central Harlem is a vibrant and growing community. The Department of City Planning estimates that from 2010 to 2040, the number of New Yorkers who are age 65 and older will increase by 40 percent, to more than 1.4 million. Increasing the supply of affordable housing and enhanced support and services for seniors in Central Harlem will become even more important over the next decade.
Community Board 10 supports the Senior Citizen Rent Increase Exemption (SCRIE) program, which protects eligible seniors from rent increases; however, increased efficiency and more robust outreach by the Department of Housing Preservation and Development and the Department of Finance is needed to ensure this program becomes more user-friendly for tenants and landlords alike. 
Furthermore, as the neighborhood’s senior population grows and many areas are classified as Naturally Occurring Retirement Communities (NORCS) where a sizable proportion of the residents are elderly, there must be coordination with other city agencies such as the Department of Transportation to ensure a safe and accessible neighborhood.

Sustainability

Following the events of Hurricane Sandy, sustainability is an issue of great importance to our community. Ensuring that the District’s housing stock is prepared to handle environmental emergencies is key. It is also important that residents are able to fully participate in sustainable activities in their buildings such as recycling and composting programs. With the increased amount of development within Central Harlem, the City can help our District to become a model community for sustainability by incentivizing programs that advance key environmental policy goals, such as building system upgrades that are environmentally sustainable and in line with the City’s other green building initiatives; however, these initiatives should not take precedence over existing concern for the severe deterioration of city owned properties which are often in violation of city codes.  Going forward, new affordable housing developments should be encouraged to incorporate green building practices and amenities including community gardens.

LAND USE

Manhattan Community Board 10 has experienced a development boom, both residential and commercial, over the past decade. Between 2002 and 2006 home prices in Harlem rose 89.7 percent, while Harlem condominiums have almost tripled in price over the last 20 years, according to the Furman Center for Real Estate and Urban Policy at New York University. In 2008 the City Council approved a comprehensive rezoning of the 125th Street Corridor between Broadway and Second Avenue, which the New York City Economic Development Corporation noted would foster public and private investment along Harlem’s “Main Street,” and support the growth of 125th Street as a premier arts, culture and entertainment destination, encouraging repeat visitation to Harlem.  This has resulted in additional services becoming available in the Central Harlem community which have been long-neglected. An alarming trend, however, has been the loss of local businesses as landlords end the leases of long-term tenants in favor of new restaurants and bars, upscale retail and chain stores who can pay much higher rents. As market pressures continue to increase the cost of Harlem residential and commercial real estate, this Committee’s focus will continue to be identifying solutions to the problem of maintaining a balanced mix of local businesses which provide services the Harlem community needs.

Land Use Affordable Housing Recommendations

The Land Use Committee recognizes that substantial governmental intervention is required to slow the change in Central Harlem from one of the more affordable and historically significant communities to a neighborhood that is increasingly stratified and upper income.  To make certain that long-term residents can remain in local affordable housing, the following recommendations include:

  • An increase in mixed-use communities, in which housing, quality-paying employment opportunities and retail support the vitality of the Central Harlem community to create a more sustainable quality of life and path towards financial stability and economic vitality for both residents and local businesses;
  • The use of 501(c)(3) bonds to finance affordable housing developments to encourage commercial and community facility components of mixed-use projects to include not only restaurants, but other nonprofit health, wellness, arts, and cultural organizations which offer community-based programs and services;
  • Zoning changes which encourage more adaptive reuse projects for affordable housing; this could decrease the warehousing of dilapidated commercial and privately-owned spaces (with structures and without) which blight our District;
  • Development of more vacant, city-owned land parcels with homeownership opportunities, and incentivize owners of private land developments to participate in programs that support affordable homeownership.

To that end, the Land Use Committee has supported the following recent affordable housing development applications within the District:

  • Abyssinian Development Corporation’s Innis Francis Development 160-unit project;
  • Harlem Dowling Westside Center/Childrens Village’s 10-story development project; 
  • Lemor Reality Corporation’s mixed-use facility including 130 units of affordable residential rental units, and commercial and community space;
  • Housing Congregations for Community Improvement and L+M Development Partners’ project including 51 units of affordable housing, a 10,000 sf daycare facility and a new 6,000 sf central office for HCCI;
  • Women In Need, Inc.’s project to renovate and convert a family shelter into permanent supportive housing for formerly homeless families.

Harlem Historic Districts

In response to the growing concerns of the Community regarding preserving Harlem’s rich heritage, in 2012 Community Board 10’s Land Use and Landmarks Committee developed a Comprehension Preservation Plan (CPP) that explores various methods in preserving historic buildings and the built context of the District. This planning document outlines the purpose, the context, and the benefits of designation. Acknowledging that Harlem as a District is under-designated, the goal of this planning document is to ensure new developments are consistent in vernacular and scale and existing buildings are protected. The recommendations put forth in the CPP represent a collective vision of the community and includes recommendations for future contextual re-zonings. The Landmarks Committee recommended four Study Areas from the CPP for consideration for Request for Evaluation by the City’s Landmarks Preservation Commission. In response, the Landmarks Preservation Commission has proposed an extension that is smaller to the one proposed in CB10 Study Area 7 (Mount Morris Park Landmark District) which does not include Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Blvd. The next steps for the continued preservation of Harlem’s rich architectural history include:

  • Submitting the CPP to the NY State Historic Preservation Office for consideration in the Nationals and State Registers of Historic Places;
  • Coordination with City Council Members and the Department of City Planning to initiate a comprehensive zoning study of Community District 10 with the primary goal of implementing contextual zoning;
  • Coordination with state elected officials to create legislation for a Harlem State Heritage Area with a focus on the themes of the Harlem Renaissance, architecture, arts and culture, and social and political activism;
  • Conduct informational/educational seminars inclusive of the community in conjunction with historic preservation agencies and non-profits with a focus on:
  • General historic preservation education
  • Financial programs for restoration and repair
  • Federal and state tax incentives
  • Continue to monitor progress and review the plan for future additions

Resiliency

There is a critical need for a Central Harlem River Coastal Flooding Resiliency Plan, which would include a levee or similar preventive measure to stop Harlem River flooding in the area of W. 147th St. and Lenox Avenue as occurred during Hurricane Sandy in October 2012, where over 125 cars were destroyed when the Harlem River flooded the Metropolitan Transit Authority's Lenox Terminal Rail Yards and spread into the lower level of a garage, buckling asphalt, and picking up and moving cars. Manhattan CB 10 recommends EDC conduct a study of a levee concept to protect Central Harlem from the risk of continued flooding from the Harlem River. This effort should evaluate the engineering, environmental, legal, and financial feasibility of developing this type of flood protection infrastructure along a portion of the Harlem River waterfront. In addition, City Planning should develop flood resiliency while preserving affordability in the Central Harlem community. The goals of this plan would be to strengthen coastal defenses, upgrade buildings and amend the building code to strengthen new construction, protect existing infrastructure and services, and make this part of Central Harlem safer and more vibrant.

Rezoning

Addition of Commercial Overlay Zones to sections of St. Nicholas Avenue from 110th to 124th Streets:

The Harlem Community Development Corporation has presented a proposal to overlay a C1-4 commercial zoning district to sections of Saint Nicholas Avenue.  Currently, sections of Saint Nicholas Avenue between West 113th and West 115th, as well as between West 116th and West 120th, are zoned as residential under the 1961 zoning resolution. The proposal is to extend a C1-4 commercial overlay, which already exists along the rest of Saint Nicholas Avenue between 110th and 125th Streets, to these blocks.  Under the 1961 rezoning, existing commercial spaces in the affected blocks were grandfathered in as non-conforming uses. Upon a two-year vacancy in these spaces, they can no longer be used for commercial purposes and are left vacant. As non-conforming users, existing businesses have difficulties receive financing from banks to upgrade and invest in their stores, a problem which also affects new businesses moving into vacant spaces that have been vacant for under two years. The proposal would bring non-conforming businesses, mostly “mom and pop” stores, into conformity with the zoning, enabling them to receive financing from banks.  Additionally, the proposal would also allow new businesses to operate out of spaces that are currently vacant, and would not allow for any added development rights. 

Important ongoing large-scale developments within the District include-

The National Urban League Civil Rights Museum:

This development will be located at 121 West 125th Street between Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard and Malcolm X Boulevard. The National Urban League (NUL) is the nation’s oldest and largest community-based organization devoted to empowering African Americans to enter the economic and social mainstream through programs, advocacy, and research. The NUL will create its national headquarters, a civil rights museum, a conference center, and affordable housing through a $225 million dollar redevelopment project which consists of approximately 466,000 square feet (sf) mixed-use development that will include approximately 66,000 sf of retail, 75,000 sf of office, 55,000 sf of community facility, 24,000 sf of museum and 56,000 sf of conference center space, as well as 114 residential units (50% of the units affordable for low and moderate income households) and 89,000 sf of parking (225 spaces).

The Victoria Theater Redevelopment Project:

This development will be located at 233 West 125th Street between Adam Clayton Powell, Jr. Boulevard and Frederick Douglass Boulevard. According to the Empire State Development Corporation, the Victoria Theater, designed by Thomas W. Lamb, was originally constructed as a vaudeville house in 1917. There was a prior design proposed for the project site—in 2007 Danforth Development Partners was conditionally designated by HCDC as the preferred developer for the site. The program proposed at that time was similar to the current proposal—it included cultural space, a hotel, residential uses, retail, and below-grade parking totaling approximately 360,000 gross square feet. However, the previously proposed building was taller than the current design; additionally, the current program for the proposed project contains an affordable housing component larger than the previous design. Finally, all housing units, whether market rate or affordable, will be built on-site.

Green Space Projects-

Bradhurst Plaza Farmers Market:

In 2013, Harlem Community Development Corporation (HCDC), Harlem Congregations for Community Improvement (HCCI), Bradhurst Merchants Association (BMA), and HERBan Farmers’ Market formed a new partnership and have submitted a formal proposal to the New York City Department of Transportation (NYCDOT) through its competitive citywide NYC Plaza Program to create a plaza and host a farmers’ market on Frederick Douglass Boulevard between West 149th & West 150th Streets. Their goal is to transform a traffic island at the intersection of Frederick Douglass Boulevard and West 150th Street into a new plaza by closing off a portion of Macombs Place to vehicular traffic. Within one block of the plaza site, there were thirty collisions resulting in five injuries from August 2011 to June 2013, according to NYPD data. The intended effects are to improve safety for both pedestrians and drivers, provide a shared public space for community events and a daily farm stand, and attract local businesses to invest in vacant retail space.


LIBRARIES

Community Board 10 urges the continuation of funding to allow libraries to maintain services six days a week. The four neighborhood library branches and Schomburg Center for Black Culture research library need to remain open at least six days a week to provide learning opportunities to a continually underserved resident population. There is also a strong need to maintain adequate hours of operation during the morning and evening hours, adequate levels of staffing, a safe and clean library environment, and security for library materials and facilities at all times. Manhattan Community Board 10 supports the request for an increase in funding sufficient for adequate staffing, books, materials and electronic databases, and updated computer networks for our libraries to insure their proper operation and ability to offer services very much needed by this community.


With the increase in housing and population, there is a critical need to provide full spectrum library services for this community, particularly for many residents who rely on local libraries as a primary source of educational support. Libraries have incorporated important social service components to their original mandate, and currently assist this community through the provision of internet services and instruction, employment services, parenting classes, youth and senior specific programs and a myriad of other training services. This community’s libraries play a vital role in complementing the educational environment of all residents in this community, and are often the primary recreational and educational resources local children have available after school. They are the knowledge base of this community and its future.


Community Board 10 continues to recognize its branch libraries as important educational resources in the District. We support capital budget requests supporting library services within our district. Macombs Bridge Library: The Chair of the Board, in collaboration with the Education Committee, is compiling data which will support capital budget funding for an appropriate site selection and a full-size replacement branch for Macombs Bridge Library. The present facility is only 685 square feet and is the smallest branch within the New York Public Library system. This is the only library facility available to Central Harlem residents north of 136th Street up to 155th Street, highlighting a severe need for a much larger facility. Its current capacity is twenty five; it has ten laptop computers, four staff and sixteen chairs available to service the thousands of residents in that immediate area. This is a top concern of this Board and community and will remain so until an appropriate replacement branch is constructed.


PARKS AND RECREATION

In addition to their tangible contributions to youth development, employment opportunities, and public health, parks help build and strengthen ties among community residents by bringing people together, including those who are otherwise divided by race or class, and by helping them work together on common projects.  These ties, often labeled “social capital,” represent subtle but important assets for a community.  They provide avenues through which information, values, and social expectations flow, and they empower people to tackle community-wide problems, embark on collective actions, and advocate effectively for their community.
Central Harlem is surrounded by six major parks: Central Park on the southern border, Morningside Park, St. Nicholas Park, Jackie Robinson Park and Highbridge Park on the western border, and Marcus Garvey Park and Harlem River Park on the eastern border. In addition to these parks, Central Harlem has seven playgrounds (two jointly operated), twenty community gardens, six triangle plazas, one boulevard mall, one parkway, five neighborhood parks, one community park, one recreation/field court and one recreation center.
In the last decade, there has been an increased understanding of how green spaces improve the environmental quality and public health in densely populated, heavily constructed communities like Central Harlem.  The foliage from trees captures and breaks down air pollution—particulate matter and toxins that both cause and exacerbate our chronic issue of asthma. Trees and vegetation in parks and along sidewalks also reduce ground surface temperatures in summer, thus helping to reduce the “heat island” effect. Trees and green spaces help to reduce storm water surges and flooding that plague parks and boulevards in Manhattan Community Board 10 (CB 10).


Parks and gardens also provide a needed network of recreational and learning spaces for our youth who suffer from an alarming rate of obesity, diabetes and asthmaMost CB 10 residents come from moderate to low income families who must make the most use of their local parksWhile CB 10 does have 23.6 acres of parkland, we cannot ignore the fact that it still ranks 34th in the City in terms of its open space ratio (open space acres per thousand residents).


Parks can provide excellent opportunities for children of all ages to build the skills and strengths they need to lead full and rewarding lives.  The latest thinking about youth development makes a powerful case that children and adolescents are best served by a constellation of community-based activities that helps them build essential skills, knowledge, and aptitudes.  The assets children and youth need for healthy development fall into four major categories; physical, intellectual, emotional, and social.  Parks can offer programs that are not only fun, but also help youth acquire assets in one or more of these areas.  Our local area youth would benefit from development of docent programs to engage youth around the historical significance of Central Harlem parks that have been named for events and people.  School and youth groups can be convened to design permanent horticultural displays; learn gardening, exercise critical and creative thinking skills in team environments as they develop models and determine a budget.  Parks can coordinate with local area schools and community groups to teach basic anatomy and wellness principles and provide interactive fitness activities.  These activities can lead to self-esteem building for which teamwork and mutual support are essential.


Youth have long found summer employment in parks as camp counselors and lifeguards.  For many young people, these jobs introduce the world of work, close to home and in a relatively protected setting.  Parks can also offer longer-term jobs for community residents, as well as valuable training opportunities that equip both young people and adults to enter the workforce with marketable skills and experience. 
Parks are generally a free and excellent way to engage in healthy exercise.  Park programs can be particularly useful in promoting healthy exercise among youth and the elderly.  CB 10 parks should be used to (1) help youth choose rewarding paths to adulthood by providing programs and opportunities to build physical, intellectual, emotional and social strength, (2) help new entrants to the workforce find productive jobs by offering decent, entry-level employment opportunities in the community, (3) help community residents improve their health by providing a place to enjoy fresh air and exercise and (4) help citizens join together to make their communities better by encouraging them to participate in park planning and management.
Central Harlem has been plagued by rogue dirt bike riders who pose a constant disturbance to the CB10 community.  The bikers are reckless and tend to startle drivers and pedestrians when they least expect it.  In addition, they pose a uniquely complicated problem when their ability to tightly maneuver through city streets often prevents police from apprehending them.


This community is extremely concerned with public safety and the overall disturbance created by this situation, but even more importantly the tragic deaths and injuries that have been associated with this activity.  There is public sentiment that a facility is needed for these riders, although there are major hurdles to overcome, such as legislation to legalize the motor vehicles. This would include registration and insurance and safety education as well as the establishment of trust that riders will respect this community by adhering to traffic regulations and ride responsibly in the designated facility. The opportunities that could derive from positively engaging at-risk youth who are otherwise disconnected from prevailing local area youth programs and traditional sports should be explored.  The numbers of youth who are passionate about the urban dirt bike riding phenomenon are growing.  Youth are opting to engage in the sport rather than become involved with gang violence.  Dirt bike riding should be safe and in a designated and supervised environment where riders can practice the sport safely and without endangerment to community residents.

Recommendations:

  • Upgrade the fields at Colonel Young Playground to include both baseball and football uses
  • Install NEX turf on the ball park field of Colonel Young Playground
  • Continue to provide programs that promote community-based park-partnership activities and events
  • Provide programs to create green space and gardens in the vacant areas in the district
  • Identify and provide resources to support the development of a designated dirt bike facility which will promote safe and responsible riders
  • Provide an immediate and temporary designated riding bike park facility in the interim of the development of a permanent facility
  • Install playground amenities and equipment to assist the disabled
  • Increase the exercise equipment and area in Colonel Young Playground 
  • Provide additional maintenance staff for park comfort stations in CB10
  • Provide additional PEP Officers to serve Manhattan CB10
  • Provide staff and materials to run recreational programs for children during the summer months
  • Provide additional staffing of park management
  • Provide staff positions for playground associates for CB 10 playgrounds
  • Provide additional staffing of park seasonal maintenance staff
  • Provide additional maintenance equipment vehicles
  • Provide biographical plaques and installation to commemorate park namesakes in CB 10
  • Provide enhanced lighting for Jackie Robinson Park
  • Install dog stations around the Colonel Young Playground park perimeter
  • Provide programs for educational components to facilitate school and community groups to engage youth in ecological studies in CB 10 parks
  • Provide community gardening and programming in CB 10 parks
  • Refurbish the comfort station at Colonel Young Playground
  • Repave the run around the ball park perimeter of Colonel Young Playground to enable walking and jogging exercises
  • Install a grill/picnic area in Colonel Young Playground

POLICE AND PUBLIC SAFETY

Manhattan Community Board 10 continues to support community policing and would like to see additional police officers on the streets, not only on the commercial corridor along West 125th Street, but also on the major avenues and in-between various blocks where there has been an upsurge in crimes such as drug trafficking and other illegal activities. 

The sale and use of narcotics is a major contributing factor in our efforts to combat a high rate of violent crimes including robberies, burglaries and assaults. Although the crack cocaine epidemic appears to have subsided, Community Board 10 is extremely concerned about the re-emergence of heroin sales, as well as the illegal distribution of prescription drugs such as oxycodone throughout the Central Harlem area. We need more police resources dedicated to preventing the sale and distribution of these drugs into our community.

The 28th and 32nd precincts, PSA5 and PSA6 need additional police officers, civilian personnel, new technology and updated facilities to assist the rank and file within the Police Department in order to provide this community with adequate police services. Many officers have retired, transferred, or left for other reasons, while not being replaced. The additional resources are necessary due to the rapid development and growth of both commercial and residential development experienced in Central Harlem, as well as increased local tourism. Therefore, the need for additional police officers is vital.

Listed below are some of the problems that need immediate attention, especially on and within the vicinity of our major economic corridors and avenues.

  • Grand Larceny - Theft of Property
  • Loitering by methadone clinic clients
  • Limited Re-Entry Programs and Services
  • Mentally Ill Offenders

There has been an increase in the following that also warrants immediate attention.

  • Identity Theft
  • Grand Larceny - Auto
  • Robberies
  • Burglary
  • Felonious Assault

Community Board 10 requests that additional police officers be assigned to the 28th and 32nd Precincts, local housing PSA 5 and PSA 6, and local subway transit facilities to mitigate the new challenges this community is faced with not only on the streets, within the local public housing developments, and in local subway facilities. We are in need of additional police officers for all three working shifts, due to the increase of these crimes at various times of day and night. It would be helpful for law enforcement to create or expand an incentive or abatement program to get more local businesses and homeowners near troubled blocks or areas to install surveillance cameras on their properties, which would be crucial in deterring and solving crime.

SANITATION 
Street Pickup:
With the redevelopment of City-owned properties and an increase in the residential population and commercial establishments, the Community Board believes that Sanitation staffing has not kept pace with the need to process the additional waste tonnage. Staffing allocations must be increased to adjust for the increases in population, as well as increased basket service.
Many of the complaints received by the Community Board concern the condition of the District’s streets, particularly during the weekends. Area residents, churches and other community organizations continue to complain about the excessive street litter and overflowing litter baskets, which they witness on Sundays especially. Additional pickups are needed in the high tourism / commercial areas to accommodate increased foot traffic, as Harlem’s visibility grows evermore and as a common sense means of addressing the ongoing rodent problem. Therefore, increased basket service is strongly recommended.
Vermin Control:
The rodent problem in residential and commercial areas has become unbearable. The New York City Health Department must assign additional rodent control resources to address the issues impacting the residents of Community District 10.
There must also be a coordinated effort on the part of Department of Health, Department of Buildings and the Department of Sanitation to maintain vermin control on vacant properties, and issue fines to neglectful landlords. Often debris/trash is allowed to sit on pavement in front of vacant lots/ buildings for long periods of time. Better efforts between responsible agencies are needed to clean vacant lots, repair broken fences, and maintain vacant properties. These conditions will otherwise create breeding grounds for rodents and other vermin, thereby creating a serious health problem for this community.
The Board also supports the following:

  • Additional sanitation workers to operate mechanical sweepers
  • Additional basket and dump trucks
  • Motorized litter patrol
  • Additional pest control inspectors.
  • Additional Sanitation enforcement officers.

VISION ZERO

This Task Force collaborates with City agencies and the community in an effort to implement Mayor Bill de Blasio’s commitment to Vision Zero. Vision Zero is a traffic safety project which aims to achieve a street safety system with no fatalities or serious injuries in road traffic. Community Board 10’s Task Force is at the forefront of this initiative and is working vigorously with City agencies and the community to map out the areas in Central Harlem which are unsafe to motorists, cyclists and in particular, pedestrians. From its involvement in the 2016 New York City Office of Management and Budget Public Hearing CB 10 has prioritized the following requests:

Dedicated Bus Lanes and Select Bus Service:

CB10 requests to obtain advance notice of NYC plans to alter streets scrapes as well as be provided the formal process for soliciting public input through a training process for community boards. Being directed to the appropriate websites along with samples of letter templates to the borough commissioner as well as sample letters of best practices from other community boards are examples of collaborative partnerships between the Board and the agencies that are working on related projects.

Traffic Congestion Data / NYC Freight Map:

Currently there are no federal or local funding sources available for ADA accessible bridges or a borough-wide traffic study; however CB10 is still very much needs further information regarding congestion along major arterial roads and corridors such as 125th street, Adam Clayton Powell Boulevard, 145th Street east to west, and 138th street. CB10 must also be included in formal discussions regarding the NYC Freight map and plan since the arterial and corridor linkages have such a high negative effect on the health of this community. 

New York City Department of Transportation Vision Zero Crash Data Map:

CB10 recently submitted its survey results as part of the work of the Task Force where information was collected through the community inputs such as the Kennedy Senior Center; a six question safety pedestrian survey; and NYPD highest incidents and crashes data collection efforts to the New York City Department of Transportation Vision Zero Crash Data Map. CB10 also plans to participate in the New York Metropolitan Council (“NYMTC”) Transportation Coordinating Committee executive meetings; the NYMTC provides a collaborative planning forum to address transportation-related issues, develops a regional plan and makes decisions on the best use of federal transportation dollars.