By Cliffe Stone
New York residents are savvy enough to know when their cities and towns are being over built. They understand when developers are taking advantage of communities by creating business models that bleed them rather than infuse sustainable life in them. Whenever there is an over abundance of retail space that’s not scaled to the purchasing power of a community, and where no new jobs are being created – that community will hemorrhage and die. Mega malls and big box stores serve a purpose in some strategic locations, but in densely populated urban communities like the Bronx they snuff out the lives of neighborhood businesses while overwhelming their infrastructure. So on Thursday, July 19, on a very warm summer morning at 10.30 am, Bronx residents turned out in numbers for a rally in support of development that will benefit their respective communities.
Leading the charge, with residents representing a broad spectrum of Bronx diversity, including grandmothers, their children and grandchildren, millennials, gen xers and boomers, Council Member Andy King representing district 12 in the Bronx, reassured residents that the Community Board and the City refused support for the Mega mall idea, but there is still danger ahead. He warned that unless residents remained vigilant and demanded better, bad ideas will again flourish, he is confident that his office in partnership with the community will actively identify the type of development that will enhance their neighborhoods.
Who wants more garbage, more traffic and the pollution that goes with it, who wants less breathable space, low paying jobs and a further strain on their water and power reserves? These were some of the questions posed by King as he led his followers with the chant, “No more traffic, no more profit over people – no more traffic!”
The thoughtful residents of the Bronx told Whereitzat that the site at which they were demonstrating represents 12 acres of City owned land, located at ……Gun Hill Road for which the MTA holds the lease rights; once the site of a now failed golf driving range and the intended site of an unwelcome Mega Mall. Way before that bad idea, a more thoughtful and community conscious developer created one of the most modern malls built in many years. The Mall at Bay Plaza is a stand out in modernity and design in the most strategic location between traditional Bronx and Co-op City, the largest cooperative Housing complex in the world.
So Bronx residents ask “who needs another megamall? We need businesses that create job opportunities, technology incubators, schools, office buildings, and/or any development that brings industrial and technological improvement to our community.