Two More South Bronx Elected Officials Doubt FreshDirect
Two More South Bronx Elected Officials Doubt FreshDirect
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Mychal Johnson, email@example.com 212 810-0562
Monxo Lopez 646 388 1857 firstname.lastname@example.org English and Spanish
South Bronx Waterfront Won’t Handle Polluting Trucks From Fresh Direct
Two more South Bronx elected officials have joined the call for a moratorium on further industrial development on the South Bronx waterfront, where the controversy continues regarding the efforts by FreshDirect to obtain $130 million in public grants and tax breaks and almost rent free public land.
State Senator Jose M. Serrano and his father, Congress Member Jose E. Serrano, added their voices to a growing chorus of critics of the proposal to relocate Fresh Direct to the Bronx. They state that “FreshDirect’s proposed relocation will add close to 2,000 additional daily vehicle trips through one of the most congested traffic corridors of the South Bronx, increasing truck emissions in an area that already has the highest rate of asthma in the country.” They conclude by requesting “that the DOT (NYS Department of Transportation, which owns the land) review the lease for this property, and place a moratorium on all new development at Harlem River Yards...”.
“We are encouraged that more elected officials are realizing what the community has said from the get go.” said Dirk Ewers, a local parent. “We cannot afford to give Fresh Direct $130 million to take over the last of our public waterfront when we are cutting schools and hospitals and add to the asthma epidemic we have here in the South Bronx.”
The FreshDirect proposal relies on a 1993 Environmental Impact Statement that simply did not contemplate the last twenty years of land-use changes, greenway initiatives, revitalization and other changes in the character of the community.
Local resident Libertad Guerra said, “FreshDirect wants New Yorkers to think they are green, but they have not even done a full environmental impact study of this scandalous project. That is just one of the reasons why we ask everyone to honor the boycott of Fresh Direct.”
More on the boycott here: http://www.boycottfreshdirect.com
“Our neighborhood has changed from 20 years ago. The area is re-zoned with hundreds of residential units right next to the site.” said Mychal Johnson a local homeowner and member of the local Community Board. “We have been fighting for open space and waterfront access and real economic development for years. The City had an international competition for creative and innovative uses of Roosevelt Island, is having an RFP at the Kingsbridge Armory and we need the same kind of open competitive process here.” Mr. Johnson said.
Documents obtained through the Freedom of Information Law reveal that by FreshDirect's own analysis it is cheaper for FreshDirect to remain in Long Island City and that they do not need the entire $130 million of taxpayer monies offered them.
“The Governor seems to be trapped by the ties of his father with the Galesi Group (the principal of the leaseholder for the land FreshDirect proposed to relocate to)” said Harry Bubbins, director of a local environmental organization. ”Then Governor Mario Cuomo leased 100 acres of prime public real estate New York land to one developer for 99 years at a pittance and all that developer has done is bring in one polluting industry after another to our waterfront while paying 1% of the market value of the land. [Former Governor Cuomo's] son can stop that now and make amends by declaring them in default of the lease.”
“I am sure there are many developers that have an interest in creating affordable housing with mixed use commercial ventures that provide green space and public access to the waterfront, but are locked out by the Galesi Group that wants to protect it’s very questionable deal with the NYS Department of Transportation and they are scared of the Mayor.” added Harry Bubbins.
Despite the efforts to represent the proposed relocation as a done deal, much of the subsidies have not been finalized. State Senator Serrano also wrote to the New York State’s Empire State Development inquiring about the State subsidies that have not been allocated or approved, “In a February 7, 2012 press release, the ESD reported that it proposed giving a $9 million grant and a $1 million loan to Fresh Direct. But as we understand it, no additional information has been made public, a public hearing has not been held and the ESD board has yet to vote on the project. We are unclear if a General Project Plan for the project has been drafted or when it will be made available to the community.”
Read the letter here from State Senator Jose M. Serrano and Congress Member Jose E. Serrano:
Read State Senator Serrano’s Letter to the NYSESD:
The entire southern shore of the Bronx is owned by the public under the auspices of the New York State Department of Transportation. In 1993 an unprecedented 99 year lease was granted to the Galesi Group’s Harlem River Rail Yards Ventures, an Albany insider real estate firm that distributes political contributions to both major parties despite litigation from the South Bronx Clean Air Coalition. Francesco Galesi was a member of the Audit Committee for Worldcom which signed off on years' worth of cooked books that the misstated $3.9 billion in costs as revenue.
Background on Mr. Galesi:
http://www.baltimoresun.com/bal-wboard11,0,348796.story <http://www.baltimoresun.com/bal-wboard11,0,348796.story> <http://www.baltimoresun.com/bal-wboard11%2c0%2c348796.story <http://www.baltimoresun.com/bal-wboard11%2c0%2c348796.story> >
Leaked documents with relocation cost comparison:
https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B8qEdzX5fireVU8xcmpiNjlRdDZDRVNVSzhuQU9zZw/edit <https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B8qEdzX5fireVU8xcmpiNjlRdDZDRVNVSzhuQU9zZw/edit> <https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B8qEdzX5fireVU8xcmpiNjlRdDZDRVNVSzhuQU9zZw/edit <https://docs.google.com/file/d/0B8qEdzX5fireVU8xcmpiNjlRdDZDRVNVSzhuQU9zZw/edit> >
South Bronx Unite | Stop FreshDirect is an alliance of South Bronx residents, organizations, and allies.
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