$1.4B Central Brooklyn improvement plan rolls out

Cuomo’s Signature Plan Would Reshape Health, Housing and Open Space in Central Brooklyn

July 20, 2018 By Mary Frost Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Gov. Andrew Cuomo visited Crown Heights on Thursday to introduce another portion of his $1.4 billion plan to improve conditions in Central Brooklyn.  Photo courtesy of the Office of Gov. Andrew Cuomo
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Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s plan to turn around Central Brooklyn is rolling out in neighborhoods like Bedford-Stuyvesant, Brownsville, Crown Heights and East New York, the governor said in a visit to the borough on Thursday.

“We’re doing 8,800 projects in Brooklyn. Just Central Brooklyn. 8,800 projects. How much does it cost? 1.4 billion,” Cuomo said on Thursday at a community garden in Crown Heights, one of the 22 gardens sharing a $3.1 million grant.

Cuomo targeted Central Brooklyn because it has the highest unemployment rate, the largest number of families on food stamps, the highest number of murders and the least physically active people in the city.

The initiative, dubbed “Vital Brooklyn” is investing in eight areas. The two largest chunks of the $1.4 billion are going towards improving community health services and affordable housing.

“Couple of weeks ago we announced $600 million for a different health care system, which is a metaphor for the entire approach,” Cuomo said. “It’s not about big hospitals where you go when you are very sick for acute care, it’s about preventing the sickness in the first place. And instead of having just large hospitals, we’re going to have dozens of community based wellness centers where we focus more on diet and activity and prevention.”

In April, Cuomo released five RFPs (Request for Proposals) to construct more than 2,000 affordable homes, advancing his goal of building 3,000 in Central Brooklyn.

The remaining $166 million in the Vital Brooklyn plan is going towards increasing access to open spaces and recreation, assuring access to healthy food, resiliency, economic development and job creation, youth education and development and community violence prevention.

Cuomo said that the state’s former piecemeal approach to Central Brooklyn has proven ineffective.

“I’m tired of paying hundreds of millions of dollars to treat the problem. I would much rather invest $1.4 billion to stop the young person from getting into trouble in the first place,” he said.

“Provide the education. Provide the anti-violence. [I’d rather] provide a job, provide a real school environment, than pay $50,000 a year for a prison cell for 20 years,” he said, adding, “Or to pay for emergency rooms, or to pay for more trauma centers or to pay for more police or to pay for more death. Let’s get smart finally. In the long-term, it is an economic investment.”


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