The city might run out of money in a neighborhood improvement fund well before improving all of the neighborhoods it is supposed to help.
City officials announced the $1 billion Neighborhood Development Fund in 2015, which aims to make sure parts of the city getting rezoned for more housing also receive additional money for amenities and infrastructure. The money was roughly split between $300 million for the Department of Environmental Protection and $700 million for the Economic Development Corporation.
According to Crain’s, the EDC has spent or earmarked $362 million so far for East New York, East Harlem, Far Rockaway and Jerome Avenue — more than half of its money across four of 15 neighborhoods where the city is planning a rezoning. Projects include $10 million for an East New York community center and $83 million to expand the Harlem River Esplanade.
The DEP has not spent any money yet, but it is supposed to reserve its portion for infrastructure upgrades as opposed to the EDC’s more visible improvement projects.
A spokesperson for the Department of City Planning, which manages the fund along with EDC and DEP, defended its use of the money to Crain’s.
“The mayor’s $1 billion Neighborhood Development Fund was set up four years ago to ensure that communitywide city planning efforts aimed at creating affordable housing included investments that support smart planning for growing and previously underserved New York City neighborhoods,” the spokesperson said. “And that is exactly what has happened.” [Crain’s] – Eddie Small