Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice Completes Beautification Project after Winning Neighborhood Challenge Grant Competition


Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice Completes Beautification Project after Winning Neighborhood Challenge Grant Competition

Bronx, New York –Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice (YMPJ) and the NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS) today unveiled new design renderings and murals to be placed along a Bruckner Expressway underpass to visually enhance the surrounding area. This project, coined the Soundview Marketplace, aims to encourage engagement with local amenities, increase pedestrian activity along commercial corridors, improving perceptions of safety, and developing a sense of community stewardship over the area.

The design renderings and murals are a direct result of the $75,000 awarded to YMPJ to activate an empty space under the Bruckner Expressway through physical upgrades and programming, transforming the space into more than 22,000 square feet of community gathering and event space. This is part of the SBS Neighborhood Challenge grant competition in which the most creative and impactful economic development and revitalization projects receive funding.  The NYC Economic Development Corporation is a partial funder of the SBS Neighborhood Challenge program.

“The Soundview Marketplace and our partnership with NYC SBS and Community Board 9 is a prime example of Youth Ministries’ work to activate underutilized public property in our community.  We see this site as a future gateway for those in Soundview to access amenities along the Bronx River.  We look forward to partnering with the City, our elected officials, and the small business community to develop it into a destination for residents, school children, and those who work nearby.” (David Shuffler, Executive Director of Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice)

“We’re partnering with local nonprofits like Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice to support vibrant commercial districts across our city,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “By incorporating creative solutions into the delivery of neighborhood services, we can make New York City an even greater place to live and to operate a business.”

“Congratulations to Youth Ministries, Community Board 9, and the NYC SBS for leading the redevelopment of a site I’ve always wanted to see better utilized.  I look forward to working closely with these partners to insure that this site reaches its full potential, offering yet another opportunity for my constituents to enjoy improvements to our community.”  (Councilmember Raphael Salamanca – Representative of the 17th NY City Council District)

“For decades our community has been blighted by empty lots.  The Soundview Marketplace initiative focuses on one such site, over 20,000 square feet, opening up possibilities for small businesses, artists, and recreational uses.  I commend the City for partnering with the visionary work of Youth Ministries to improve this site, and I look forward to other such initiatives.”  (Assemblyman Marcos Crespo – Representative of 85th NYS Assembly District)

The beautification of the Bruckner Expressway underpass is a vital step in cultivating a sense of inclusiveness and engagement for the surrounding neighborhoods, and its residents and patrons. Too often, the lingering sense of neglect can have a detrimental impact on how an area is perceived. I think this is a great step toward infusing this–often overlooked–area of the Bronx with new life and hope.”

(Council Member Annabel Palma – Representative of the 18th Council District)

“In a city where real estate is so valuable it is important for the City to lead by example by activating underutilized properties to support the economic development and well-being of my constituents.  I’m excited to see how this project unfolds, and look forward to how it articulates with other neighborhood amenities.”  (William Rivera – District Manager, Bronx Community Board#9)

Bruckner Expressway Underpass Design Renderings and Mural Partners

The following architects and artists were instrumental in designing and implementing the photo canvass and mural panels that will beautify the future Soundview Marketplace: Sharon De La Cruz, Laura Alvarez, Lady K Fever,Edward L. Mouzon Jr and Darryl L. Mouzon, Tats Cru (BIO, NICER, BG 183), André Trenier, Ology Collective(Ski, Col, and 2esae), and Roxanne Rodriguez.  Architects that contributed to the project include Chris Anderson and SLO Architecture (Amanda Schachter, Alexander Levi).  And a special thanks to financial partners M&T Bank and Renaissance Economic Development Corporation who supported efforts to engage small business throughout the development of this project.

About Neighborhood Challenge

Neighborhood Challenge is the NYC Department of Small Business Services’ competitive grant initiative designed to encourage innovation and service delivery improvements from Business Improvement Districts, Community-Based Organizations, and Community-based Development Organizations that will support small businesses, generate economic activity, and attract more jobs and investments to local commercial corridors. Grants ranging up to $100,000 are awarded to organizations that present the most creative and impactful economic development and revitalization projects.

About Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice

YMPJ values and prioritizes local youth and adult voices and leadership in the process of community revitalization, initiatives involve residents in the planning process in order to ensure that residents’ vision for the community aligns with any changes that happen throughout the community. YMPJ’s vision is to positively transform the impoverished neighborhoods of Bronx River, Soundview/Bruckner, and Crotona Park East neighborhoods, by re-imagining and rebuilding it.  For more information, see our website and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.

About NYC Department of Small Business Services (SBS)

SBS helps unlock economic potential and create economic security for all New Yorkers by connecting New Yorkers to good jobs, creating stronger businesses, and building thriving neighborhoods across the five boroughs.  For more information, follow us on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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