Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
Diaz Jr. Talked about the Economic Future of the Bronx During Boroughwide Summit
More than three hundred business owners were part of The Bronx Economic Summit: a Blueprint for Success, a full-day event organized by Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. to bring business leaders and industry experts together to discuss and create an economic plan for the future of the borough.
Diaz Jr. opened the summit emphasizing the necessity of developing an economic strategy to transform the economic indicators which currently show that The Bronx is the urban county in the United States with the highest poverty rate.
“Despite the undeniable improvement in our borough during the last years, we still have a lot of work to do, and I am hopeful that this summit will begin to offer an outline of how we can build on our strengths, focus on our weaknesses and grow our economy,” said Diaz Jr.
Diaz Jr. also said it is “unacceptable” that the poverty rate in the Bronx is 28.3 percent, more than double the state and federal average; and that only 21.6 percent of Bronxites own their own homes, compared to more than 55 percent of State residents and two-thirds of all Americans.
“Even before I took office in May, I have been a critic of Mayor Bloomberg and his administration’s development agenda. While we are certainly happy to see new jobs created in the Bronx, for the most part these jobs have been low-paying and part-time in nature,” said Diaz Jr. “I want developers to do business in the Bronx, but they must do business the right way. That is why I will continue to call for better jobs, sustainable development and an expanded green economy, not just in the Bronx but in every corner of the City.”
The event’s keynote speaker, Edward Mazria, Founder and Executive Director of Architecture 2030, offered an eye-opening presentation of current events, illustrating the magnitude of the business opportunity, but also its fragility. Drawing on his 40 years of architecture experience, Mr. Mazria spoke about the importance of local government creating and presenting a united front at this critical moment in history.
“The Bronx can lead the nation by rallying around the 4.5 Million Jobs Plan. Unless the building industry is put squarely back on its feet, which is the core purpose of the Plan, the few jobs that have been gained in the Bronx and elsewhere are not sustainable,” said Mazria.
The business leaders participated in different panels and discussed a series of important topics such as: the potential areas of growth and large scale developments, including the development of a Bronx marketing plan; how to attract and retain businesses on our commercial corridors, including the critical role of cultural organizations in the borough economy; the opportunities offered by the green economy, including planet friendly transportation and development of vacant land/brownfield; and unemployment factors in the borough, job training needs for future jobs, and the role of start-ups in employment.
Some of the panel moderators were: Brian Warner, Director Policy Analyst of the New York Power Authority; Kathryn Wylde, President & CEO of the Partnership for New York City; Paul Lipson, Chief of Staff for Congressman Jose E. Serrano’s Office; Jonathan Bowles, Director for the Center for an Urban Future; Steven J. Jerome, President of Monroe College; and Daniel Massey, Crain’s New York Business Reporter.
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