Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. used his State of the Borough address to tout a plunging murder rate and economic growth, but also said that there is still work to be done. NY1's Erin Clarke filed the following report.
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said in his State of the Borough speech Tuesday that through a dramatic increase in economic development, the Bronx is moving forward.
"We are seeing significant progress in our efforts to make the Bronx even a greater place to live, work and raise a family," Diaz Jr. said.
In just the last year, according to Diaz, the Bronx has welcomed a number of large-scale projects, from new housing to a indoor mall to a Marriott hotel, the first brand name hotel in the borough. They are all expected to drive revenue and bring in more than 5,000 permanent jobs.
"Individuals who did not have to come here are placing very huge bets here in the Bronx to the tune of over $1 billion, and so we're delighted," said Marlene Cintron, president of the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation.
Diaz said his administration wants to keep building the Bronx through education. He is pushing for a six-year high school in the borough that will give grads a leg up in getting high-paying science and technology jobs.
"lt should definitely increase employment opportunities over the long term," said Monica Major, the borough president's director of education and youth services.
Diaz also gave a nod to the big drop in the borough's murder rate, which is now at a 40-year low.
Now that the perception of the Bronx is changing and things seem to be on an upswing. some said it's time to focus on some other issues, like the plight of the disabled community, which was highlighted with the recent school bus strike.
"Our kids with disabilities are the ones that are hurt the most," said Daniel Porro, co-chairman of the Bronx Mental Health Council Consumer Subcommittee. "We are hurting at all ages here in New York City."
Diaz said his administration is working to address those issues.
"We make sure that every single housing development that goes up has units in there for those that are physically disabled," he said. "We have a disabled task force out of our office. We're going to continue to take their leadership."
Diaz said that there will be even more progress to report at the next State of the Borough. He plans to run for re-election.