December 12, 2013 at 2:28 PM
The newest copy of the Norwood News is out at your local diners, clinics and stores with several high-profile stories that already has everyone talking. The big story, of course, is the New York City Council voting 48-1 in favor of repurposing the Kingsbridge Armory into an ice skating mecca, capping an often challenging struggle over what to do with the massive property that’s stood vacant for roughly 20 years. To find out who the lone dissenter was, you have to read the paper!
Another bombshell of a story can be found on page 2–the resignation of Community Board 7′s district manager, who took the helm with only five months on the job. Take a look at what happened. Plus news on local holiday light shows courtesy of two business improvement districts and a story focusing on the right way to have a happy holiday.
The latest edition also comes from an introductory note from our brand new Editor-in-Chief David Cruz (that’s me!), replacing news maven Alex Kratz.
So take a look, keep reading and keep getting your news fix on norwoodnews.org.
December 12, 2013 at 2:13 PM
The Norwood News would not be the same without the popular Bronx News Roundup, showing some love to borough papers as they attempt to keep everyone honest.
Baseball, an impending mega-ice center and now a possible soccer stadium. As plenty of attention was focused on the Kingsbridge Armory vote by the City Council, New York Football Club and the Bloomberg administration kicked around a possible deal to bring a soccer stadium to the borough, as reported by The New York Times. Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio is said to have “real concerns” over whether this project can work for a borough. Still, a soccer stadium can enhance the borough’s image as a sports mecca.
Plenty of political gossip from Bob “Kappy” Kappstatter of The Bronx Times Reporter. The political rumor mill churns out word of outgoing, seasoned Councilman Oliver Koppell eyeing the seat of seasoned state Senator Jeff Klein in next year’s race. Could the rumors be true, Mr. Koppell?
Speaking of Klein, The Riverdale Review continues to delve into an expansion plan by Montefiore Medical Center in Riverdale territory that’s not welcomed by Klein, his pal Assemblyman Jeff Dinowitz and Community Board 8. The Board’s Land Use Committee voted down the plan for an 11-story facility, saying the nabe has no use for it.
And finally, a piece from the New York Daily News on the release of a study on the lofty plant to convert the Sheridan Expressway into a more pedestrian-friendly spur by creating four exits intended for direct access to the Hunts Point Food Distribution Center tucked all the way in the far southeastern portion of the borough. While the goal is welcomed by the city and state, it still doesn’t solve the $100 million price tag needed to revamp the road. So stay tuned.
And that wraps up this roundup. Check back next week when we have a new news batch from our brothers and sisters in the news gathering game!
December 12, 2013 at 9:44 AM
In one of the shortest administrative tenures in recent times at Community Board 7, the board’s district manager has suddenly resigned with just only half a year on the job.
Socrates Caba turned in his letter of resignation on Wednesday, Dec. 4 to CB7 Chairwoman Adaline Walker, who was voted into office in June, the same month Caba had been hired following a lengthy recruiting process. Walker, a seasoned CB7 member with an education background, had replaced outgoing Chairman Paul Foster. Caba, meanwhile, had replaced Fernando Tirado, who resigned following hostile tensions between him and the executive board who often accused Tirado of being derelict in his position.
“It’s a surprise to me as it is to everyone,” said Walker of Caba’s departure. “We wish him the best and hope he can come to our board to attend meetings.”
December 11, 2013 at 10:34 AM
If anyone had foretold I’d be the next editor at the Norwood News a year ago, I probably would’ve told them they got the wrong guy. But that make believe scenario has turned into reality, and I’m still pinching myself these days even as I keep revisiting this cute phrase our previous editor repeated—“May God have mercy on your soul.”
December 10, 2013 at 5:35 PM
by David Cruz
By a vote of 48 to 1, the New York City Council overwhelmingly passed a plan for a project allowing developers to convert the Kingsbridge
Armory into a colossal ice skating center, with elected officials, community groups rejoicing at the end of a near 20-year-saga.
The entire Bronx Council Delegation, including holdout Councilman Fernando Cabrera, voted for the $320 million project that clears the Kingsbridge National Ice Center (KNIC), bringing nine ice skating rinks, and a 5,000-seat arena to the facility, drawing droves of hockey fans while also grooming any potential hockey stars, as developers see it.
December 10, 2013 at 11:53 AM
by David Cruz
The Subcommittee Zoning and Franchises voted 6-0 in favor of transforming the long-vacant Kingsbridge Armory into the world’s largest ice centers. The panel voted this morning for the project overseen by the developers for the Kingsbridge National Ice Center that brings nine ice rinks and a 5,000-seat arena to the empty fortress.
In an opening statement, Councilman Fernando Cabrera fully supported the project following a last-minute deal. Just yesterday, the Mayor’s Office mediated an agreement between Cabrera and developers over a package of loose ends related to traffic, parking and small business displacement concerns. Traffic mitigation funds will be earmarked, along with already-established small businesses who’ve long depended on the development project.
December 9, 2013 at 9:59 PM
by David Cruz
In a last-minute, backroom deal, sources are telling the Norwood News that the Mayor’s Office has stepped in to broker a deal between Councilman Fernando Cabrera and developers of the Kingsbridge National Ice Center over some loose ends related to the project, which could have sunk the ice center entirely.
The agreement now puts the KNIC project on firmer footing with just only 24 hours left before the City Council votes on the colossal ice project. Cabrera, whose district falls within the cavernous castle, threatened to vote no on the project, encouraging his fellow council members to do the same, if resolutions related to impending traffic congestion and small business needs were not met.
The Mayor’s Office, in support of the armory deal, helped negotiate a zero-hour deal during the late evening hours offering extra perks to the community that include public transportation promotion, traffic mitigation, small business assistance and a liberal arts program. It’s unclear whether these new demands will be retroactively incorporated into the legally binding Community Benefits Agreement signed by KNIC and 27 community groups. The massive, $300 million project by green developer Kevin Parker has been viewed as a game changer for the borough, a possible reason why KNIC sat at the table with Cabrera in the last minute.
For several days Cabrera was on the verge of withdrawing his support from the Kingsbridge Armory if community concerns were not resolved, primarily burgeoning traffic jams that would result from the project, which estimates thousands of drivers to arrive to skate at one of nine ice rinks.
At a Dec. 8 news conference, Cabrera maintained the Bronx council delegation was on his side with the exception of Councilman Oliver Koppell, who publicly supported the project from the very beginning. Cabrera’s vote matters since many members often defer to their council counterpart representing the area of a given project. But members are not necessarily required to honor their colleague’s endorsement or lack of one.
The latest development comes amid a series of twists and turns in recent days, including the Norwood News recent revelations that Cabrera attempted to funnel money to Community Action Unlimited, a defunct religious nonprofit tied to his church, where he pastors on Sundays. Lawyers for KNIC confirmed Cabrera had solicited $100,000 in yearly funds to be added to the CBA. Developers found it “inappropriate.”
Up-to-the-second developments are happening as the vote nears. Stay on www.norwoodnews.org will keep you up to speed.
December 9, 2013 at 1:15 PM
Councilman Fernando Cabrera vowed to reject the Kingsbridge Armory National Ice Center should developers ignore “loose ends” that include impending traffic jams and displaced, working class merchants.
His comments came two days before the City Council’s vote on the colossal ice project, with Cabrera stating the Bronx council delegation, with the exception of Councilman Oliver Koppell, will stand by him and reject the project during the Dec. 10 vote.
“Other than Koppell I haven’t spoken to not one council person that’s said no to me,” said Cabrera, speaking to reporters in front of the Kingsbridge Armory.
He was joined by Bronxites, mostly members of his nearby church, as he explained many of the problems tied to the project include inflated
Resolutions were overlooked during talks involving the Community Benefits Agreement, a legal document worked out between KNIC Partners and 27 community groups that outlined stipulations for the community. But Cabrera states he didn’t have time to look at the paperwork, handed to him just a few days before the April announcement.
Signatories disputed Cabrera’s claims pointing out that the councilman’s chief of staff, Greg Faulkner, sat at the negotiating table without mentioning anything about traffic congestion.
With all the last-minute deals in the works, keep checking norwoodnews.org for any developments.
December 5, 2013 at 11:46 PM
by David Cruz
On the cusp of the full New York City Council voting on the game changing Kingsbridge National Ice Center, members of a Council subcommittee heard overwhelming support for the project even as the Council’s swing voter continued to flip-flop on whether to approve or reject the project.
Councilman Fernando Cabrera, where the cavernous armory falls under his district, slammed the project by KNIC partners, offering his first concrete opinion on the project.
“Until the developer is willing to engage in a consistent and meaningful discussion I will urge my colleagues to vote no on this project,” said Cabrera, reading a statement during the City Council’s Subcommittee on Zoning and Franchises.
The Council-sponsored body was the first to hear comments on the project’s impact on the community, part of the final step in the city’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP).
Cabrera’s concerns were largely focused on traffic issues, peppering developers over how they would handle burgeoning logjams related to the world’s largest ice center.
With an estimated 7,000 skaters expected to arrive to the center daily, according to KNIC figures, Cabrera charged the center would create enormous backups to an area already squeezed by traffic issues. Cabrera, under a cloud of suspicion for allegedly asking KNIC developers to earmark $100,000 for his defunct religious nonprofit, appeared to seize the opportunity to hit back at the same developers who’ve confirmed the recent Norwood News published report on Cabrera’s alleged shakedown.
November 13, 2013 at 3:53 PM
By Kate Pastor
Councilman Fernando Cabrera, a pastor whose church and condo are just a few blocks from the Kingsbridge Armory, is holding out his final blessing of a new ice sports complex proposed to fill the long-vacant, historic building.
The City Planning Commission approved the Kingsbridge National Ice Center last week, leaving City Council approval and signage by the mayor the only hurdles left before KNIC can turn the Kingsbridge Armory into the largest skating arena in the country. Traditionally, the council defers to local members when deciding how to vote on big development projects, meaning Cabrera’s support hangs in the balance.
After the planning commission vote, Cabrera’s support was conspicuously absent from a press release sent out by Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., who has pledged his unyielding support since the proposal became public. The release featured several prominent officials praising the project, but Cabrera was quiet and could not be reached for comment.
His chief-of-staff, Greg Faulkner, said community concerns over traffic, parking and other community issues that come with bringing 5,000 people to an arena have “gotten louder,” with 100 letters submitted to Community Board 7. The ice center, which will feature nine full-sized rinks, is expected to bring in a million visitors a year.