Fordham University was honored as part of a consortium of Bronx institutions for their efforts to reclaim parkland, upgrade the network of parkways and roads and reduce traffic in the North Central Bronx.
The Four Bronx Institutions Alliance (FBIA), which includes the New York Botanical Garden, Montefiore Medical Center and Wildlife Conservation Society/Bronx Zoo, received one of 11 Neighborhood Achievement Awards from Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
“Since our collaboration began, the expression ‘great Bronx institutions” has been used to describe our four institutions collectively,” said Joseph M. McShane, S.J., president of Fordham. “I would like to think that is true, and if so, our greatness is defined at least in part by how we serve our community and the public interest. It is indeed gratifying to be publicly recognized for our work, but the real rewards are paradoxically less obvious and more tangible: we see those rewards every day in the improved quality of life for our neighbors and friends.”
The awards were presented in a July 14 ceremony at Gracie Mansion. More than 700 attendees gathered under a tent on the mansion’s lawn to fete the winners, who were recognized by the city’s Department of Small Business Services.
“The Four Bronx Institutions Alliance have combined their talents and resources to turn the Bronx into one of the city’s top cultural destinations,” Bloomberg said. “They are not only developing an urban revitalization plan that better connects the member institutions physically and programmatically, but leading the effort to recognize the value of partnership between large institutions.”
That means replacing medians made of concrete barriers with flowers beds and trees, installing all new curbs and sidewalks, changing zoning along some roads, targeting areas for parkland reclamation and altering traffic flow.
“We’re working toward a major reconstruction and rethinking of all the major roadways in the area, with a special focus on the gateways to the institutions [in FBIA],” said Joseph P. Muriana, associate vice president for government and urban affairs for Fordham. “We want visitors who approach any of the institutions to have the sense that they’ve entered a parklike green zone.”
The roads in question include: Mosholu Parkway, Fordham Road, Southern Boulevard, Kazimiroff Boulevard, and Webster and Arthur avenues, among others.
The city already has dedicated $11 million to design the proposed changes to Mosholu Parkway and design and carry out the changes to Fordham Road from Southern Boulevard to the Bronx River Parkway.
To see the FBIA plan brought to fruition, an additional $138 million will be needed to fund upcoming phases, Muriana said. Later, the Alliance plans to work to upgrade nearby subway and rail lines.