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Tuesday, September 23, 2014
Political Arena

Diaz envisions ‘new Bronx’

By Shant Shahrigian
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Marisol Díaz/The Riverdale Press
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. gives his 2014 State of the Borough Address.
Marisol Díaz/The Riverdale Press
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. speaks about the new Bronx in his 2014 State of the Borough Addres.
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A waterfront to rival DUMBO, a professional soccer stadium and train service into the eastern part of the borough are among the dramatic changes Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. envisioned in his State of the Borough speech last week.

While the address included few new proposals, Mr. Diaz used the forum at Hostos Community College on Feb. 20 to sound a theme he has championed since his first term began in 2009: the Bronx is on its way to being better than ever.

“We are writing a new chapter in the history of our borough,” Mr. Diaz told hundreds of lively supporters in Hostos’ main theater. “We are modernizing the Bronx — creating the ‘new Bronx’ — and ensuring its strength and vitality not just today, but for centuries to come.’

During his roughly 35-minute speech, Mr. Diaz wove his hopes for the borough’s future into a overview of recent developments here — all delivered in his trademark style that strongly stresses points and punctuates sentences with dramatic hand gestures.

Mr. Diaz touted plans for a golf course backed by Donald Trump at Ferry Point as well as a new mall featuring the Bronx’s first Macy’s planned for Co-op City.

Mr. Diaz also called for a waterfront district along the Harlem River between 138th and 149th streets.

“Bronxites should have quality waterfront access, and this project could make that happen,” the borough president said.

Referencing a controversial proposal to lure a Major League Soccer stadium away from Queens and to the Bronx, Mr. Diaz said that with the right community involvement, “I can even see a new soccer stadium a few blocks away from here.”

He also lauded Governor Andrew Cuomo’s January proposal to expand train service into the east Bronx, saying new stops in Co-op City, Parkchester, Hunts Point and Morris Park will attract new businesses and boost employment opportunities.

The northwest Bronx received little mention in the speech. But during a brief press conference following the address, Mr. Diaz said upcoming developments will reach every part of the borough.

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