Since the turn of the 20th century, low-income and communities of color along the River’s southern reaches have received the fewest resources to reclaim, restore and redevelop what are the most polluted and ecologically-abused portions of the Bronx River and its watershed.
That’s why the Alliance works to link—both ecologically and socially—the northern and southern parts of the River. We do this through commitments to public participation, principles of sustainability, transparency and self-determination.
Strategies for Implementation
1.Principles and institutions that protect communities.
Safety and public health of communities along the river and within the watershed is paramount to planning and implementation, economic development, infrastructure needs and missions of public agencies active on the river. Use of the riverfront must therefore be consistent with the needs, wants and interests of all communities. This includes mechanisms to prevent gentrification that may displace middle and lower income groups.
2. Planning and Operations
The Alliance should create a planning & monitoring system (through regular organizational and public meetings) to ensure that all resources and technical activities to reclaim and revitalize the river and its watershed are coordinated and linked to community empowerment, the Alliance’s commitment to environmental justice and local capacity building. Operations and all planning processes and decisions must be transparent through open communication and dialogue.
3. Government or private sect or actions that undermine quality of river and community life.
If government makes river corridor or greenway use decision, including funding decisions, that are inconsistent with Alliance principles, the Alliance will support a community and/or community group’s challenge of that decision. The Alliance will also work to make government more transparent and accountable at all levels.
4. Political Issues.
Consistent with the Alliance principles, the Alliance will take political stances in support of communities along the river corridor and the greenway and in the watershed.
Consistent with the principles and a commitment to environmental justice, community groups within or working in partnership with the Alliance can maintain their independence in fundraising. Rather, the Alliance’s fund raising and budgets will support and complement the work of it community-based members. Furthermore, the Alliance will not compete with or absorb the funding available to community groups.
6. Community Ownership and Stewardship.
Consistent with Alliance principles and its commitment to environmental justice, the Alliance will support community ownership and management of property along the River.
7. Board and Staff Representation.
The Board and Staff of the Alliance will be constituted and reflective of the organization’s commitment to environmental justice. The Board will represent low-income and communities of color and staff should be recruited to insure diversity and local capacity building.
8. Economic Development.
The Alliance will strive to ensure that all public and private sector proposals for economic development along the River adhere to principles of sustainability and community empowerment outlined above.
9. Criteria for Development.
The Alliance will create “criteria for development” that increase access to green, open space, promote green design and reduce pollution burdens along the river and surrounding communities.