Continuing his 2017 State of the State proposals, Governor Cuomo made an announcement this morning that the state would invest in six regional projects “to move New York City’s outer boroughs forward.” In addition to healthcare-related initiatives, these include: up to 3,000 new units of affordable housing in Brooklyn with wellness-focused amenities; permanent toll reductions on the Verrazano-Narrows Bridge for Staten Island residents; $10 million towards the Orchard Beach pavilion redevelopment; and $108 million in financing for the Kingsbridge Armory in the Bronx to be transformed to an ice center.
The health-focused projects included in the proposal are: $50 million set aside to expand affordable healthcare and research at the Montefiore Health System; a health and wellness initiative in central and eastern Brooklyn that includes the aforementioned 3,000 units of new affordable and supportive housing with amenities like exercise rooms, rooftop gardens, and health clinics, as well as a feasibility study of vacant and underutilized land that could be used for new community gardens and pop-up parks; and moving the Institute for Basic Research in Developmental Disabilities to CUNY.
Cuomo first announced a discounted toll rate on the Verrazano for Staten Islanders back in 2014, when he reduced the price to $5.50 for E-ZPass users, as opposed to the standard rates of $6.36 per toll for one or two monthly crossings and $6.00 for three or more. The new proposal will make this fare permanent.
Orchard Beach Pavilion via Friends of Pelham Bay Park
About a year ago, Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. committed $10 million to a $40 million restoration of the landmarked, Art Deco Orchard Beach Pavilion, once known as the Bronx Riviera. It opened in 1938 under Robert Moses. The Governor will provide an additional $10 million towards the work to completely rebuild the pavilion and add a performance space and concessions.
The plan to convert the Kingsbridge Armory into a the Kingsbridge National Ice Center began years ago (and is spearheaded by New York Rangers captain Mark Messier), but hit a snag this past summer when the city refused to transfer the lease to developers without them obtaining the full $158 million needed for the first phase of construction. It looks like things will move ahead now, however, as Empire State Development will provide $108 million in financing under Governor Cuomo’s direction.
In a statement, the Governor said, “New York City’s outer boroughs are too often ignored, and these projects will help transform them into vibrant centers of economic activity and community wellness, ensuring a better future for all.”
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Lead image: The Brooklyn skyline at sunset © Payton Chung