The Steering Committee of the Jerome Avenue Revitalization Collaborative kicked off JARC Week, a series of free virtual events to introduce area stakeholders to the Jerome Avenue Revitalization Collaborative (JARC).
JARC Week kicked off February 23, with a Stakeholder Townhall, a PPP Loan Panel for Businesses and Non-Profit organizations on Wednesday, February 24 and concluded with a Bronx Borough President Candidate Forum on Thursday, February 25.
The Jerome Avenue Revitalization Collaborative began in 2018 in response to one of the largest rezonings in the history of New York City, spanning 93 blocks and 3 community districts (Bronx Community Districts 4,5, and 7) across the Jerome Avenue corridor in the Bronx. Leaders in the West Bronx community invited JobsFirstNYC and the Children’s Aid Society’s Bronx Impact to facilitate a multi-year strategic planning process to mitigate displacement and related economic hardships for residents and businesses.
JARC’s mission is to bring inclusive economic growth for local residents, employers and workers impacted by the rezoning. The Collaborative adopted 3-key components to steward the community:
- The establishment of an employment network
- The establishment of a Business Hub, a brick and mortar and virtual resource center
- Grants to low-income residents to access training and education
JARC Conveners and Facilitators
“JobsFirstNYCbelieves that communities know best what they need to achieve economic mobility. Our role is to support the process to develop and implement solutions. The Jerome Avenue Revitalization Collaborative is the vision of the people who live and serve in the JeromeAvenue Corridor in the Bronx,” said MarjorieParks, President & CEO of Jobs First NYC.
“At Bronx Impact, economic justice is core to our principles and values. We’re grateful to sponsor the Jerome Avenue Revitalization Collaborative and are so proud of this incredible group of advocates who have been working to build a strong support system for individuals and businesses who have been impacted by the Jerome Avenue Rezoning. It is the JARC’s consistent presence, innovative approach, and adaptive planning that gives us hope for what is possible around the Jerome Avenue Corridor,” said Rose DeStefano, Senior Director of Collective Impact at Bronx Impact, Children’s Aid.
JARC Steering Committee Members
“BronxCommunity Board 5 worked since 2002 on the revitalization of the Jerome Avenue corridor. JARC is the result of those years of hard work and this collaborative effort will take us into the next phase.” said Dr.Bola Omotosho, Chair of Bronx Community Board 5 since 2006.
“CommunityBoard Four recognized early in the planning process the role of economic development in the community. JARC will work on behalf of area residents to achieve equitable and inclusive economic growth. Our greatest strength is our dedication and commitment to our mission.” said Paul A. Philps, District Manager Bronx Community Board Four.
“Davidson Community Center celebrates the collaborative spirit of JARC. Knowing, first hand the effort and commitment it takes to gather, organize, host and follow up the parts and actor that made possible the extension of the Jerome rezoning to Morris Heights, it is rewarding to work with such a dynamic group to give voice to the needs and hopes of our community,” said Angel Caballero, Executive Director of the Davidson Community Center.
“TheBJTBRONX Merchant Association is proud to be part of JARC and seeks to bridge the needs and opportunities for the new to our empowered merchants and to set the stage for new an even more diverse generation of new business, “ said Ubaldo Santos, President of the BJT Bronx Merchant Association.
“JARC was envisioned to revitalize the Jerome Avenue corridor in response to the rezoning, but more recently has adapted, to respond to the pandemic and the economic and social justice crises that have also affected the community,” said Michael Nixon, Business Development Officer at the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation.
“Inclusive economic and workforce development for our Bronx community is a key goal for the Division of Workforce Development & Continuing Education at Bronx Community College. We recognize the importance of anchor institutions in the Bronx and are excited to form a partnership with the many organizations that make up JARC. Together we can pool our talents and resources to support employees, residents, and businesses impacted by the Jerome Avenue rezoning.” said KarlaRenee Williams, Dean of Workforce Development & Continuing Education.
“SoBro addresses all aspects of community development: helping businesses get started and grow, training residents to meet the needs of employers, offering opportunities for youth to learn and develop, and creating affordable housing and commercial space that reverses disinvestment in the community,” said ChirsopheLe Gorju, Director of Business and Economic Development at the South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation.
“As the Bronx Chamber works with businesses in the aftermath of the pandemic, working in partnership with JARC is a critical component to the success of the rezoned area. We look forward to a long term and successful collaboration,” said Lisa Sorin, President of the New Bronx Chamber of Commerce.
“TheHOPE Program works with local residents to build their skills, secure and maintain employment with local employers, and build an economically and environmentally sustainable future for all New Yorkers. The collaborative model that we have built through JARC will be a huge asset as employers, developers, and training providers like HOPE convene to strengthen the local community,” said Jennifer Mitchell, Executive Director of the HOPE Program.
“At MetaBronx we’ve experienced first-hand the devastating socio-economic effects that speculative real estate development and gentrification have had on the Mott Haven community over a 15 year period. We joined JARC because our conviction is that if the community had come together and been allowed to secure multiple seats at the table when development plans were made, the community could have leveraged its own tremendous homegrown talent to create the kind of 21st century high paying jobs that bring entire families out of poverty,” said Miguel Sanchez and Philip Shearer, Co-founders of Meta Bronx.
“The Jerome Avenue rezoning and the COVID-19 pandemic has devastated the automotive industry and UAMA is very happy to be part of JARC, as a steering committee member. UAMA is excited to see the achievements and the progress that we can bring to these automotive businesses, and increase their success through management training, compliance education, and personnel development,” said Pedro Estevez, President and Founder of the United Auto Merchants Association.
“In the wake of the rezoning and devastating pandemic, the JARC is critical to ensuring that local businesses and residents can recover, access economic opportunity and jobs, continue to strengthen their neighborhood, and benefit from investments made in their community – rather than fear displacement. As an area employer, affordable housing developer, and service provider to businesses, individuals and families around Jerome Avenue, WHEDco is honored to do this work with incredible neighborhood partners, as a foundingmember of the JARC,” said Kerry A. McLean, Vice President, Community Development, WHEDco.
“The power to transform communities should be with the people. Without our neighbors in the driver’s seat, the Jerome Rezoning can only represent an empty promise of economic opportunity. As we work toward a just recovery from COVID-19, it is more critical than ever that community partnerships like JARC are the ones driving inclusive economic recovery and growth. I am proud to serve as a founding member of the JARC,” said Pierina Sanchez, community leader.
“JARCis the result of design labs and a combination of stakeholders anchored by good intentions in the hopes of creating a thriving and sustainable community; economically, socially, and culturally,” said Lorita Watson, community leader.
JARC Week Events
Elected officials and Panelists
“Our community has been among the hardest hit during the COVID-19 pandemic and working families throughout my district have been disproportionately impacted by higher rates of unemployment, chronic health conditions, housing, and food insecurity — all of which have been heightened during the ongoing public health challenges,” said Congressman Adriano Espaillat (NY-13). “Residents and businesses are the lifeline of our community and we must do whatever it takes to ensure they have the resources to rebuild and reopen safely. The Jerome Avenue Revitalization Collaborative program was created as an effort to provide economic growth and sustainability to residents and businesses impacted by the Jerome Avenue rezoning, and the program is more critical today than ever as we continue to uplift and support some of our most vulnerable communities during this ongoing public health andeconomic crisis.”
“JARC’smission of achieving inclusive economic growth through collaboration and engagement of various community partners and residents is laudable and will advance Jerome Avenue. I look forward to partnering with JARC to ensure that our community’s needs are met and challenges are addressed,” said U.S.Representative Ritchie Torres.
“The JARC is a model of what communities can do to lead the conversation and ensure that local residents and businesses actually benefit from rezonings. This type of leadership empowers our neighborhoods and allows for equitable and inclusive development that strengthens our borough by prioritizing the needs and interests of our people,” said Assemblywoman Nathalia Fernandez.
“The COVID-19 pandemic devastated our economy and exposed the chronic health and economic disparities plaguing our borough. Economic resources and support are critical for our recovery, and it is essential for policymakers, community organizations, businesses, residents, and other key stakeholders along the Jerome Corridor to address these systemic issues. I want to thank the Jerome Revitalization Collaborative for forming in response to the Jerome Neighborhood Plan and putting forth a plan and vision to ensure that programs and investments are made. It is imperative that we continue to advocate for fair and equitable access to jobs and opportunities in the Bronx,” said CouncilMember Vanessa Gibson.
“Our diverse neighborhoods are changing rapidly as gentrification and displacement become a critical problem facing the Bronx. I look forward to working with Jerome Avenue Revitalization Collaborative to help preserve affordable housing for future generations,” said CouncilMember Fernando Cabrera.
“I am looking forward to this forum and sharing my vision with JARC and the community. In these trying times we need community based solutions,”said Sammy Ravelo.
“I’m looking forward to moderating this important political event. JARC’s Bronx Borough President Candidate Forum is another example of how Bronx communities can get together even under the most difficult circumstances and get things done. In fact, the entire JARC initiative is about that: Bronx people working together to turn lemons into lemonade,” said GaryAxelbank, host at BronxNet Television and publisher at thisistheBronX.