The Revitalization of Mosholu Parkway, Part 3

IMG_9175From The Desk of the NWBxDems
“The Revitalization of Mosholu Parkway, Part 2”
by  Anthony Rivieccio

In my previous columns (The Revitalization of Mosholu Part 1 and Part 2) I discussed the proposal presented by Fordham University, New York Botanical Garden, Bronx Zoo, and Montefiore (FBIA) to Community Board 7 that aims to refurbish the main roads of Mosholu Parkway.

Eight years ago when the proposal was first presented, it was valued at $25 million. But when presented again by FBIA rep, Roberto Garcia at CB7 Parks Committee Meeting, it was now valued around $31 to $53 million. Community Board 7 then passed a motion requesting New York City support from Council Members Ritchie Torres and Andrew Cohen.

Commuity list

Some examples of requests written by community members for the “Community List”

Last month the response by community organizations when presented with this proposal a second time was in the form of a community list that included the side roads and open space of the parkway. Council Members Ritchie Torres and Andrew Cohen,  Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj, and Friends of Mosholu Parkland held a Town Hall Meeting last month in order to give community members representation.

“Refurbishments for Mosholu Parkway and Mosholu Parkland are long overdue and Council Member Cohen, along with Council Member Torres, is looking to bring all of the stakeholders together – including the FBIA institutions, community organizations, businesses and residents – to have a collaborative effort where all concerns and suggestions can be voiced. The town hall meeting is the forum to accomplish just that.” stated Daniel Johnson, Chief of Staff to Andrew Cohen. Reiterating what his Chief of Staff said, Council Member Cohen expressed his hope for an open and inclusive process that will result in a plan to refurbish the parkway and surrounding areas while making the area safer and more attractive for motorists, pedestrians, and park-goers.

Roberto Garcia, Economic Development Officer for Montefiore and FBIA representative, intently looked over the community collection of ideas for Mosholu Parkway and stated that he plans to follow up on his list of institutional ideas that was presented to the community board.

A small collection of the community list includes:

  • More benches, grass, and garbage cans.
  • Connecting the bike path on Goulden Avenue and Sedgwick Avenue with green way.
  • Dog park in the Gully and behind Kossuth Park.
  • Create more paved paths.
  • Multiple use area at terrain 14 (Gully).
  • Eliminate parking at Marion between Mosholu Parkway South and Mosholu Parkway.
  • More passive sitting areas and gardens.
  • Storm water management.
  • Fix sidewalks from Van Cortland Park South to Webster as well as Mosholu Parkway South and Mosholu Parkway North.
  • Reseed middle section between Bainbridge Avenue and Van Cortland Avenue.
  • Increase time in street light for people to cross streets.

District Manager of Community Board 7, Dustin Engelken,  and Assemblyman Gjonaj shared similar sentiments in stating that, “There is no plan. There will not be a plan without community input.”

Does it make sense to have one list? Two lists? Three lists? And who will pay for it?


Sheila Sanchez, Vice President of Friends of Mosholu Parkland, with Assemblyman Mark Gjonaj

After the meeting, Councilman Cohen and Assemblyman Gjonaj both felt that the city and state governments will try to accommodate the community list. While we can not confirm it at this time, there is wide belief that the separate FBIA wish list might be funded by the federal government via the upcoming federal transportation funds. While there has been a push by Senator Chuck Schumer, there has currently been no comment from Congressman Charles Rangel.

It was mentioned repeatedly by Councilman Cohen and Barbara Stronczer that Mosholu Parkway has not had an upgrade since 1979, making it 36 years without an upgrade! I was taken aback when Council Member Cohen described Mosholu Parkway as a, “gateway to all of our communities including Bedford Park, Norwood, and the cultural institutions.” As stated in my previous column I remember during childhood my father would tell our family that Mosholu Parkway is the gateway to the Botanical Garden as we got off the highway to enjoy a beautiful Sunday afternoon. I have lived in Mosholu for 35 years.

After the town hall meeting it was announced that Elizabeth Quaranta, President of Friends of Mosholu Parkland, will work with Partnership for Parks to be part of a Mosholu Parkway visioning process. Based on the Parks Department website it looks like the process to secure city funding with take two years or more.

Maybe it will be fine to have three different lists funded by three separate forms of government. Maybe all people are now on the same page. Maybe they will be able to gather enough funding for all.

At a previous Community Board 7 public gallery session, Sheila Sanchez, Vice President of Friends of Mosholu Parkland, asked that the board consider a “community type agreement” with the institutions to secure community input from local residents and businesses. At this time, Community Board 7 has not responded.

My plan was to end this three part Mosholu Parkway series on a good note, but I guess, my friends, I will be keeping you updated instead.

Anthony Rivieccio is a long-time northwest Bronx resident and business owner.  And past president of the 204th Street/Bainbridge Aveenue Merchant Association, Committee of 100 Democrats, former member of Community Board 7, and Founder of both the North Bronx Thinktank and the Northwest Bronx Democrats.

Anthony has written columns for The Norwood News, The Riverdale Press, The Bronx News, Parkchester News, The Bronx Times and The Bronx Chronicle.

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