Ten years ago next month, the city announced a plan to jump start economic revival in the Hunts Point neighborhood of the Bronx. A little over a week ago, a children’s advocacy group declared the neighborhood the riskiest place to raise a family in New York City. Cassandra Basler reports.
BOY: Okay. Um. Oh, my turn.
Outside, it was snowing. Inside, kids were counting cold hard monopoly cash at Hunts Point Alliance for Children.
BOY: She got the things?
These kids are at risk according to advocacy group Citizen’s Committee for Children (CCC), which released the report. 60 percent of them live in poverty. Their parents have a harder time finding housing and jobs. And they face a lot of health risks, including asthma.
But the neighborhood has come a long way since the Bronx was burning in the ‘70s. And with good times on the horizon, these kids may have the right idea.
KIDS: ONE. TWO. THREE. FOUR.
BOY: You wanna buy that?
The neighborhood improved because of that project that the city announced ten years ago. It began with upgrades to the nation’s largest fresh fruit and vegetable market, which is in the neighborhood.
Today, a new Metro North train station is on its way. And just a few blocks from the children’s center a restored printing plant just sold for more than $100 million dollars–triple its value in just 8 years. That may be happening more often as property developers eye the neighborhood.
SALAMANCA: They want to build developments, housing, there’s a crossing. A mall that’s coming in.
Rafael Salamanca Jr. is Community Board Manager for the neighborhood. He says none of this would be possible without ten years of investment from the city.
But because Hunts Point seems to have such a bright future, Kelly Terry got serious when the C-C-C said growing up in the neighborhood was bad for kids.
TERRY 1: That’s unacceptable to us.
Terry is executive director of a community development organization called The Point. Since the neighborhood has gone through so much and come so far, she worries new developments will threaten to push out current residents.
TERRY 2: The fact that we can have all these great things invested in our physical infrastructure, we’re looking to move the needle on our social infrastructure. Because when you don’t, that’s when displacement happens.
Gentrification is still probably a long way off. For now, Terry thinks the same effort put into redeveloping the neighborhood the past ten years, now needs to go into helping Hunts Point children.
Cassandra Basler, Columbia Radio News.