Nearly 400 guests celebrated the 45th anniversary of the Bedford Stuyvesant Restoration Corporation as it gave its highest honors to three New Yorkers, including New York City Housing Authority (NYCHA) Chairman John B. Rhea. Mr. Rhea was honored at the June 28 benefit for NYCHA’s efforts to serve public housing residents in the Central Brooklyn community. The event, called Restore Brooklyn, celebrated both individual and cooperative efforts to positively develop neighborhoods in the area.
This year, Restoration awarded its Jacob Javits Achievement Award to Chairman Rhea in recognition of NYCHA’s commitment to borough revitalization. Other honorees at the reception included Peter Meyer, President of New York City Market for TD Bank, and Marjorie Moon, Executive Director of the Billie Holiday Theatre. CNN anchorwoman Soledad O’Brien acted as the mistress of ceremonies.
NYCHA Chairman John B. Rhea with fellow honorees. (Photo by LETICIA BARBOZA)
“Your presence in the community for over 45 years is invaluable and one that so many of us have come to count on and respect,” said Chairman Rhea. “Your efforts throughout the years have changed the landscape of Central Brooklyn- both literally and figuratively for the better.”
The Chairman acknowledged the work NYCHA has done to provide Brooklyn with affordable public housing, chief among them the re-development of Prospect Plaza. When completed, this mixed-finance effort in the Ocean Hill and Brownsville neighborhoods will include 360 affordable rental units; 80 public housing units; a community facility; and retail stores. All buildings at Prospect Plaza will have the latest green building technologies. With our partners, we will invest $370 million over the next four years.
In keeping with the spirit of the evening, the Chairman also highlighted the importance of cooperation in community development. He pointed out that “In the past, far too often, NYCHA has worked in a parallel universe with a comparable mission, rather than in partnership with others. Now, we realize that meeting challenges requires resources and support from all stakeholders and public/private partners such as Restoration.”
Moving forward, NYCHA intends to expand and strengthen its collaborative efforts. Plan NYCHA, the Authority’s strategic roadmap moving forward, emphasizes the critical role of cooperation in improving residents’ lives. “In order to meet today’s challenges and shifting realities, we must not only reach financial stability and preserve public housing, but work collaboratively to foster job and career opportunities for our residents,” said the Chairman.
Restore Brooklyn is an annual benefit intended to celebrate the anniversary of Restoration, which was the nation’s first community development corporation. In addition to housing initiatives, the corporation also seeks to improve the local economy; physical landscape, arts and cultural opportunities; resident empowerment; and educational programs.
By Ryan Dicovitsky
July 3, 2012