THREE AWARDS FOR BRONX RIVER ALLIANCE
Within the last two months, the Bronx River Alliance has received three awards from various environmental agencies for its work on the restoration and continued development of the Bronx River Greenway.
The Alliance’s successful efforts to restore the river and Greenway have not gone unnoticed. In April, the group was selected to receive the Meritorious Service or Achievement Award by the New York Metro Chapter of the American Planning Association (the award was presented on Wednesday, June 15). The APA addresses planning issues that concern the physical, social, and economic environment in the metropolitan region of New York City, Long Island, and the Hudson Valley.
On Earth Day (April 22, 2005) the Natural Resources Defense Council recognized the Bronx River’s restoration as one of the region’s "Green Apples." One of America’s leading conservation organizations, the NRDC defines a Green Apple as "one of New York City’s best environmental sites." This year, the NRDC focused on recent environmental developments and selected five of the most noteworthy and environmentally significant green spots for 2005.
In May, Parks & Trails New York announced that the Bronx River Alliance will receive its "Outside the Box Award" for unique Greenway efforts that demonstrate ingenuity and creativity. Nominated by board member and Greenway Team Leader Joan Byron of the Pratt Institute Center for Community & Environmental Development, the award will be presented at PTNY’s upcoming conference on June 17.
"One of the nice things about these awards," said Linda R. Cox, Executive Director of the Bronx River Alliance, "apart from the affirmation, is that they help spread the word to other people about the partnership approach that we have taken to restore the river as a community and natural resource."
The Alliance is comprised of over 70 members, which include community-based organizations, local businesses, public agencies, schools, and institutions who share a commitment to protect, improve, and restore the Bronx River corridor and Greenway. The river’s headwaters in Westchester County are impounded in Kensico Reservoir, from which the river flows 22 miles south into the East River. The completed Greenway will be an eight-mile bicycle and pedestrian route along the river. In the past, the river has been subject to extensive industrialization, pollution, and alterations of its channel. The Alliance’s ultimate goal is to see that the Bronx River corridor and Greenway become healthy ecological, recreational, educational, and economic resources for the communities through which the river flows.
To date, the Alliance, founded in 2001, has secured over $90 million in City, State, and Federal funding for the restoration of the river and Greenway. The construction of the Greenway will be substantially complete by 2009. The Alliance is responsible for creating the strategic plan that links these projects into a continuous route, and for coordinating their design and implementation.
Suffering from years of neglect, the Bronx River became a local dumping ground for garbage and other pollutants. However, the Alliance’s ambitious agenda of river restoration projects has become a reality. Over the past year, the Alliance and cooperating agencies broke ground on initial segments of the Bronx River Greenway. Two sections – one at the southern end in Hunts Point, and one just north of the Bronx Botanical Garden in the Bronx River forest – have come to fruition. Yet, according to NRDC, the Alliance’s greatest achievement may be that "Bronx residents are increasingly returning to their River for education, recreation, and community-building."
-written by Lauren Melnick
QUOTATION FOR THE DAY
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