As promised, two pieces of good news for the Bronx! It's about schools. "In 2007, the Department of Army identified the Sgt. Joseph A. Muller Army Reserve Center as surplus property and slated it for closure. In December 2008, the Department of Defense recognized the Muller Local Redevelopment Authority as the official local redevelopment authority for the
1) The city has identified a parking lot on Webster Avenue near 205th Street as a possible location for a brand new 612-seat, pre-K through 8th grade school, the Department of Education has confirmed.
This would be the first school structure not being built on a playground in District 10 (the third most crowded district in New York City) in years, a major victory for school advocates like the Northwest Bronx Community and Clergy Coalition, whose membership was outraged when the latest capital plan again short-changed the borough.
The DOE warned that this is far from a done deal. The site has not been purchased, but the DOE is internally reviewing whether to buy it, which is the first step toward the idea becoming a reality.
2) The U.S. Army Reserve is vacating a facility and giving it up for another use in Wakefield as part of an overarching plan by the U.S. military's Defense Base Closure and Realignment Commission (otherwise known as BRAC).
This is great news for school advocates who want to see schools in the Kingsbridge Armory's northern annex buildings.
Currently, the annex buildings house somewhere around 125 to 140 state military soldiers and staffers. They are open to moving, but need to find a new home, one that won't cost them anything, before they go anywhere, according to Eric Durr, a spokesman for the State Division of Military and Naval Affairs.
They want to stay in the Bronx, Durr said. If they leave the Boogie Down, the Bronx would be the only borough without a state military presence.
Here's where it gets tricky. Durr, who admittedly did not know exactly how BRAC works, said what most likely will happen is that once the Army Reserve vacates the Wakefield facility (Durr estimated that probably wouldn't occur till 2011), it would be turned over to a local re-use authority which believed would consist of people in the community. That authority would then decided what to do with the facility.
A local school activist told us the Economic Development Corporation (EDC), which is also handling the Armory project, is looking into the possibility of relocating the units currently housed in the Armory into the Wakefield facility. The EDC hasn't returned a phone call or an email requesting confirmation of this. We'll continue to look into this and provide updates whenever possible.
So, while none of this is concrete, it is positive movement in the right direction and could lead to good things for the future of Bronx education.
See, told you, good news!
Update: Here's what the EDC said about the Wakefield facility, which is called the Sgt. Joseph A. Muller Army Reserve Center. The biggest thing is that the facility is in the hands of the mayor and the Bronx borough president. From EDC spokesperson, Janel Patterson in an e-mail:
"In 2007, the Department of Army identified the Sgt. Joseph A. Muller Army Reserve Center as surplus property and slated it for closure. In December 2008, the Department of Defense recognized the Muller Local Redevelopment Authority as the official local redevelopment authority for the