February 21, 2016
By Stephanie West
Bronx, NY – Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. delivered his annual “State of the Borough” address on Thursday February 18th, his seventh since becoming borough president in 2009. Since 2009, the Bronx gained more than 23,000 new units of housing and over 68 million square feet of total development. He also noted that unemployment has been cut nearly in half to 6.9 percent and more than 100,000 Bronxites are employed today than when he first took office. The borough saw over $2 billion in new investment in 2015, an all-time record.
“It’s not just about new development, new jobs and new housing. It’s about a new mindset and a new image,” said Borough President Diaz in his speech. “We are changing how people feel and think about this borough. We are elevating expectations in all facets of Bronx life.”
Borough President Diaz proposed that the Department of Education, and not the students themselves, should be responsible for the cost of remedial classes for public high school graduates at the City University of New York.
“We also need to do more to keep our college students from accumulating unnecessary debt,” said Borough President Diaz. “If you earned a public high school diploma, shouldn’t you be prepared for college? What does it mean when high school graduates are force to pay for their own remedial classes at CUNY?”
Diaz called for for the City to consider using underutilized NYCHA community centers for UPK programs. He called on all sides of the education debate to remember that children are the top priority in our schools. He also announced that his office would take the lead on the redevelopment of the historic Orchard Beach Pavilion, and committed $10 million of his own capital funding to the effort.
“Remember, the education of our students is not about the grown-ups, or anyone’s particular ideology. It is about the children,” said Borough President Diaz. “All students must be treated equitably by the Department of Education, whether they are in a traditional public school or a public charter school.”
Borough President Diaz mentioned his office has directly funded nearly 7,000 units of low and moderate income housing since 2009 and has been working hard in numerous areas to fight displacement.