- See more at: http://blogtimenow.com/blogging/automatically-redirect-blogger-blog-another-blog-website/#sthash.Q6qPkwFC.dpuf Muller Center Public Hearing Set for June 22 as Bronx BP Looks Again to Stop Homeless Shelter | Bronx News Networkbronx

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Muller Center Public Hearing Set for June 22 as Bronx BP Looks Again to Stop Homeless Shelter

A public hearing to discuss the redevelopment of the Bronx's Sergeant Joseph A. Muller Army Reserve Center will be held next month as the fate of the vacant Wakefield-area building once again hangs in the balance.   

It's been a while since we've talked about the Muller Center, so here's a quick refresher (for more background, click here, here and here.):

Last year, the local redevelopment authority (LRA) created to find a new use for the Muller Center fractured. Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr., one of three voting members of the authority (along with Deputy Mayor Linda Gibbs and the Tokumbo Shobowale, chief of staff for the deputy mayor for economic development) adamantly opposed a plan put forth by his two co-members to turn the building into an enormous homeless shelter. He declined to attend the late-year meetings of the LRA to prevent them from voting on the homeless shelter plan.

Joining Diaz, other Bronx elected officials, activist groups and local community boards also opposed the homeless shelter plan. Instead of a homeless shelter (the area already has it's share, opponents say), Diaz proposed transferring the national guard units currently housed in the annex buildings at the Kingsbridge Armory to the Muller Center, which would free the annex building up to become badly needed schools. The National Guard has said it would be willing to move the Armory-based units to the Muller Center, but with financial help from the city.

The deadline for agreeing on a plan was extended from the end of last year to the end of this June.

Diaz spokesman John DeSio said the borough president's hope is that the LRA adopts some of the suggestions and ideas raised at the public hearing -- scheduled for June 22, at PS 21, 715 E. 225th St. from 6 to 8 p.m. DeSio wouldn't comment on whether Diaz would again refuse to attend a vote if the other LRA members (read: the mayor's office) wouldn't budget on their desire to use the Muller Center as a homeless shelter. If the the LRA doesn't vote, the Muller Center's fate would be decided by the Department of the Defense, which could be swayed by influential members of Congress. DeSio said they might have better luck dealing with the DoD, then with the mayor's office.

LRAs for every former military building that is being closed as part of DoD's BRAC program are instructed to look at the needs of the local homeless population. But LRAs are not limited to transferring the property to homeless service providers.

Representatives of the city's Economic Development Corporation (EDC), which is managing the LRA process for the mayor's office, have said there's a glaring need for shelters in New York City and that's why they haven't budged on their desire to use the Muller Center to house the homeless.

Update: To see the draft plan for the Muller Center, click here.  

1 comment:

  1. Why does Diaz hate homeless people? Maybe we can turn the armory into a mega-shelter?


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