Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg announced today the Hunts Point Vision Plan and an initial investment of $27 million to implement this comprehensive initiative aimed at promoting a competitive business environment and sustainable community on the Hunts Point Peninsula in the South Bronx. Mayor Bloomberg made the announcement at the opening of Hunts Point Works, the City’s new employment and training center which will serve local job seekers and businesses in Hunts Point. In addition to committing more than $27 million in capital funds to carry out the Vision Plan’s initial goals, the City has already invested $110 million at the Hunts Point Fish and Produce Markets. Mayor Bloomberg was joined in announcing the Administration’s comprehensive plan to spur business and employment growth in Hunts Point by Deputy Mayor for Economic Development and Rebuilding Daniel Doctoroff, Economic Development Corporation (EDC) President Andrew Alper, Department of Small Business Services (SBS) Commissioner Robert Walsh, Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion, City Council Member Maria del Carmen Arroyo, Executive Director of the Hunts Point Economic Development Corporation Josephine Infante, CEO & President of the Wildcat Service Corporation Amalia Betanzos and Executive Director of Sustainable South Bronx Majora Carter.
“The Hunts Point Peninsula employs well over 10,000 people and is home to one of the most important food distribution centers in the world,” said Mayor Bloomberg. “But it is also true that this part of the City can be doing better. This new vision of Hunts Point, coupled with the opening of our new workforce development centers, will attract and grow businesses, put people to work and make the community a more vibrant place to live. I can say with confidence that the future of Hunts Point has never been brighter. I want to thank all of the Task Force members, elected officials, and businesses and community groups who have contributed so much time and effort to this extremely important initiative.”
The goals of the Hunts Point Vision Plan includes developing new waterfront parks, improving traffic safety, upgrading street lighting, repaving streets and improving the rail freight lines serving Hunts Point. Additionally, the Vision Plan will better link workers to anticipated new jobs through collaboration with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority to provide new bus service to the Hunts Point area.
Borough President Carrion is contributing $1 million toward streetscape improvements in Hunts Point. Other elected officials making financial contributions for streetscape work are Assembly Member Carmen Arroyo ($850,000) and Assembly Member Ruben Diaz Jr. ($319,000). Congressman Jose Serrano is adding $700,000 towards restoration of the Hunts Point waterfront.
“I would like to thank Mayor Bloomberg and his administration for accepting our invitation to explore the incredible potential that exists in Hunts Point,” said Bronx Borough President Adolfo Carrion. “Many city agencies were made available to the task force and as a result we have created a blueprint for community redevelopment. This truly was a cooperative process. Development only works when environmental, social and economic factors are all equally addressed. I believe the Hunts Point plan has achieved this.”
“The creation of the Hunts Point Vision Plan is an extraordinary achievement that will advance Mayor Bloomberg’s economic development goals of making the City more livable, business friendly and economically diverse,” said EDC President Alper. “It will guide us as we move forward on a number of initiatives to enhance Hunts Point’s capacity as a center of commerce, with a number of new developments in the Food Distribution Center including the opening of the $85 million Fulton Fish Market at Hunts Point this spring and the already developed $25 million Produce Market.”
Mayor Bloomberg formed the Hunts Point Task Force in 2003 to provide a forum for addressing critical concerns about Hunts Point. The Bloomberg administration worked closely with community leaders, particularly Borough President Carrion, to identify a diverse group of business owners, local constituents, elected officials and government agencies to create and implement the Vision Plan. Over the course of a year, the Task Force met more than 20 times to explore important issues and identify solutions.
The Task Force’s recommendations include a number of initiatives to improve land use options on the peninsula. City Planning will rezone the area to encourage the growth and expansion of the food-related industry. The rezoning is also intended to protect the adjacent residential neighborhood while discouraging the expansion of waste-related uses in sensitive areas. Depending on the final recommendations of the Comprehensive Solid Waste Management Plan, the City will work with the Task Force to identify a re-use plan for the Marine Transfer Station site, which is currently closed. In addition, EDC will market the remaining vacant parcels within the Food Distribution Center to attract new food-distribution and manufacturing companies for the food markets.
As part of the effort to create better traffic conditions on the peninsula, the City’s Department of Transportation has already implemented new truck routes to provide a more efficient and safer circulation pattern. In addition, the City will improve critical intersections, install large truck way-finding signs, and reconfigure Food Center Drive to allow for intersection improvements, one-way circulation and a new bike lane. EDC and DOT will make streetscapes and sidewalks more pedestrian-friendly by improving lighting, landscaping and paving surfaces. And EDC is evaluating the existing rail freight network to identify improvements that will serve businesses on the peninsula.
To improve connections in Hunts Point, the City will continue to work with the MTA to provide new bus service in Hunts Point, particularly on the peninsula’s western sector. Gateway markers are planned for the peninsula’s major entry-points. The Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation will work to start up a commuter van service to help local residents get to work. And DOT will improve crossings to the new waterfront parks under construction.
The Department of Parks & Recreation will soon start construction on the new Barretto Point Park at the southern end of Tiffany Street, which will offer waterfront access for the peninsula’s western shore, and construction of Riverside Park is currently underway offering a link to the Bronx River. To complement these initiatives, EDC, in partnership with the Point Community Development Corporation and Sustainable South Bronx, is advancing the revitalization of the waterfront through the development of the South Bronx Greenway.
The Hunts Point Economic Development Corporation, in partnership with Wildcat Services Corporation, will manage Hunts Point Works, the new employment and training center at 647 Bryant Avenue which is under contract with SBS. For businesses, the center will recruit and screen potential employees and coordinate training programs that teach specialized skills such as fish-cutting. For job seekers, the center will provide evaluation, referrals to training, job placement assistance and other services. Community-based organizations will play a central role in this program, both in referring individuals to the center and in receiving referrals from the center for training and other services. The center will also work extensively with the Bronx Workforce1 Career Center.
“Simply put, Hunts Point Works is about getting jobs for New Yorkers,” said Commissioner Walsh. “As a central part of the Mayor’s emphasis on diversifying the City’s economy, the relocation of the fish market and creation of the Hunts Point Vision Plan will bring growth to the South Bronx. This growth means jobs—and this center is perfectly positioned to recruit, train and deliver good workers.”
The Hunts Point Peninsula has an area of roughly 690 acres, with almost half made up of the 329-acre Food Distribution Center. Much of the New York region is fed by the Food Distribution Center, which has more than 115 wholesalers that generate revenue of more than $3 billion a year.