Bronx River cleanup wins national award

On Feb. 17 the Bronx River Alliance and the New York City Department of Parks will be awarded the Audrey Nelson Award, for their work reviving the Bronx River. The award is given annually to an exemplary community development program.

Students at local schools help clean up the Bronx River shore.

The long effort to rescue the Bronx River and convert it from a dumping ground to a series of parks will be recognized on Feb. 17 with a prestigious award from a nationwide non-profit.

The National Community Development Association will honor the Bronx River Alliance and the New York City Department of Parks with its Audrey Nelson Award, given annually to an exemplary community development program.

The association helps local governments administer federal funds devoted to housing and community development.

In Hunts Point and Longwood, the alliance and its partners have been instrumental in creating Hunts Point Riverside and Concrete Plant parks and in piecing together the Bronx River Greenway, a recreational trail that will eventually extend for the entire 23-mile length of the river, from Westchester to Hunts Point.

It has helped clean up the river, which was once an open sewer, bringing back wildlife ranging from small fish to the first beaver to live within the city limits since the 19th century.

““Through the collaboration of our partners at the Bronx River Alliance, our elected officials and community stakeholders, we’ve made a tremendous investment in restoring the Bronx River and creating new opportunities for residents in the surrounding neighborhoods,” said Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver.

Since 1999, the city has committed $213 million, including nearly $60 million in federal funds, to restoring the river and creating access to it, according to the Parks Department.

“The Bronx River has been transformed from a neglected dumping ground into a source of community pride, and we are so glad that it is getting its due recognition,” said Linda Cox, the executive director of the Bronx River Alliance. “Now with new waterfront parks, paths and recreational activities, Bronx residents can engage with their river in ways unimaginable many years ago.”

Audrey Nelson was the first Deputy Executive Secretary of the National Community Development Association. The organization established the award in her name after her death from cancer to recognize outstanding partnerships between local governments and non-profit organizations to assist low- and moderate-income people.


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