Community-driven plan focuses on built character, affordable housing, support for small businesses, workforce development and access to the Harlem River
NEW YORK –- (RealEstateRama) — Mayor Bill de Blasio, New York City Economic Development Corporation President and CEO James Patchett, and City Council Member Ydanis Rodriguez today unveiled the Inwood NYC 2017 Action Plan which outlines neighborhood-wide goals and strategies that will build on Inwood’s strengths and address pressing challenges – including outdated zoning and rising rents, antiquated infrastructure, support for small businesses, workforce development and access to the Harlem River waterfront.
“This community-driven plan means creating and preserving affordable housing, improving parks and access to the Harlem River, a new library, roads, schools, job development and vital business districts. We are working closely with Council Member Rodriquez and residents to ensure those living in Inwood today can stay and benefit from what is to come,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
The Action Plan is a major milestone of the Inwood NYC Neighborhood Planning Initiative, a two-year, community-wide engagement process that has reached over 2,300 residents, local nonprofits, businesses, and elected officials. The City has worked with the Inwood community and elected officials to shape a plan that best meets the needs of residents. A defined list of community priorities has been laid out through a series of bilingual public events, workshops, stakeholder meetings and surveys, including:
- Development of new affordable housing and preservation of existing affordable housing
- Tenant protection from property owner harassment and unlawful rents
- Easy access and connection to the Harlem River waterfront
- Preservation of Inwood’s distinct built character west of 10th Avenue, while ensuring that new developments are subject to Mandatory Inclusionary Housing requirements
- Investment in outdated infrastructure, including streets, parks, sewers, and community spaces
- Increased access to quality jobs, workforce development, and youth programming
- Support for local businesses and arts & cultural organizations
“This Action Plan outlines comprehensive strategies to address Inwood’s most pressing challenges, such as rising rents, antiquated zoning, lack of access to the waterfront and outdated infrastructure,” said New York City Economic Development Corporation President and CEO James Patchett. “With the continued leadership and advocacy of Council Member Rodriguez and Borough President Brewer, the City is committed to preserving Inwood’s distinct character, while creating and preserving affordable housing, expanding economic opportunities and improving neighborhood livability so that it remains an affordable and vibrant community.”
“Since elected, I have envisioned a brighter future for Northern Manhattan, a community that worked hard to get through tough times in the 80’s and 90’s. This future entailed energizing underutilized portions of Inwood with new and needed affordable housing for working class and middle class families, a center of economic activity, spurred by the technology and healthcare industries, and improved outcomes for our students, with education that leverages these industries to create a pipeline to quality jobs,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodríguez. “Together with Mayor Bill de Blasio, Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, NYCEDC, NYC DCP and my partners in government, we held an unprecedented community engagement process, receiving input from over 2,000 residents, much of which comprises this action plan we’re releasing today. This marks a new phase that will guide our conversations with stakeholders for the coming months so we can finalize a plan that brings our community to a new level. At the end of this process, Inwood will continue to thrive as a home for longtime residents and a destination for all who choose to live here.”
“I congratulate NYCEDC on the release of the Inwood NYC 2017 Action Plan and appreciate the Administration responding to our concerns that a more comprehensive planning framework and more community engagement were needed,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “By expanding the scope of work to include a contextual planning proposal west of Tenth Avenue, this action plan engages with community priorities and is the stronger for it. I look forward to building on the years’ worth of work that has gone into this plan to shape a responsible, smart strategy for Inwood’s future.”
“I commend Mayor de Blasio on today’s announcement to invest in the Inwood community as part of his Neighborhood Action Plan,” said Congressman Adriano Espaillat. “Critical investments through strategic efforts among our City agencies help strengthen our efforts to provide comprehensive neighborhood planning, improvements, and our ability to address long-term goals for the Inwood community, residents, and local economy.”
“The Inwood Action Plan released today speaks to the need for additional investment in our community for preservation of the existing affordable housing stock, the creation of new truly affordable housing units, the preservation of Inwood’s character and history, as well as access to top quality educational and cultural facilities,” said Assemblywoman Carmen De La Rosa “As the Inwood NYC neighborhood study progresses, it’s clear that in order to build for success in the long run, we need to continue to invest in Inwood’s aging infrastructure and pay special attention to our outdoor green and blue spaces. I look forward to continuing this conversation with our community and to working with Mayor de Blasio and NYCEDC to create a plan that can yield much needed economic development for Inwood and addresses the critical needs identified by residents.”
The Action Plan demonstrates the City’s commitment to comprehensive neighborhood planning, with strategies and actions from several City agencies. It responds to community demands for a holistic approach that addresses critical short and long-term priorities identified in collaboration with Inwood residents and other stakeholders.
These strategies will build on significant investments the City has announced or made in Inwood to date, including $30 million in improvements to Highbridge Park, $10 million in partnership with New York Public Library and the Robin Hood Foundation to create a brand-new library that will include 100% affordable housing, a new Workforce1 Center tailored to foreign-born New Yorkers, and a new legal services office that provides tenant support. Additionally, the Administration has allocated $1.1M to for commercial revitalization projects through the Neighborhood 360° program.
“The Inwood Action Plan reflects two years of collaboration among City agencies, community stakeholders, and local residents to create a comprehensive plan for the future of the neighborhood,” said Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer. “The voices of the community very much shaped the strategies in the plan to protect tenants, provide more affordable opportunities, and promote economic opportunity for the residents of Inwood. I want to thank the many elected officials who partnered with us to create this roadmap, and we look forward to continuing to work together to foster a stronger, more affordable neighborhood.”
“The Inwood Action Plan demonstrates what so many New Yorkers understand: art and culture are essential components of any healthy community,” said Cultural Affairs Commissioner Tom Finkelpearl. “We’re so proud to have worked with our fellow agencies and residents to highlight the need for additional cultural space and to lay out a strategy for supporting Inwood’s local cultural community through our Building Community Capacity program. Together, we can work toward every goal in this plan and give Inwood residents all the tools they need to thrive.”
“One of the Inwood’s signature characteristics is its abundance of beautiful parks including Inwood Hill Park, the last natural growth forest in New York City, as well as Fort Tryon, Highbridge, and Sherman Creek Parks. The Inwood Action Plan identifies both enhancements to existing assets such as the $30 million Anchor Parks program investment in Highbridge Park and a framework for creating access along the Harlem River. These improvements will promote good health through increased fitness opportunities and connections to the neighborhood’s natural environment,” said NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP.
“In order to keep our communities strong it is critical that we afford vulnerable New Yorkers with the help they need, including access to legal representation to prevent eviction and landlord harassment, emergency assistance, and other services,” said Department of Social Services Commissioner Steven Banks. “We are proud to be a part of the Inwood Action Plan with our City partners to support this thriving community.”
“Through Mayor de Blasio’s Action Plan, the City is ensuring that development in Inwood remains a positive contribution to a vibrant neighborhood,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the New York City Department of Small Business Services. “The NYC Department of Small Business Services’ investments in a new Workforce1 Center and grants to strengthen the area’s small businesses will go a long way to helping achieve this goal and allowing Inwood’s diverse constituency to thrive.”
“The Northern Manhattan Agenda (NMA) respects and commends the work conducted by the city over the past two years; engaging and garnering critical input from varying sectors of the community with the mission of creating an action plan to help guide the future Inwood. We believe that the intent and effort of the City aligns with the mission of the NMA and that through a continued collaborative process with them and the wider community, our desire to develop our infrastructure, properties, businesses, and institutions will be done responsibly. We welcome the release of the Inwood NYC 2017 Action Plan and look forward to the road ahead.”
Plan Strategies and Actions
The Action Plan includes a comprehensive set of short-term actions and long-term strategies to address the priorities identified by local stakeholders. These priorities fall into four categories:
Support Affordable and Mixed-Income Housing
- Utilize City-owned land and subsidies to build 100% affordable developments and achieve deep affordability
- Aggressively seek out building owners to preserve affordability of existing rent-regulated housing
- Take action against landlords who harass tenants and ensure that rent-stabilized tenants are not charged unlawful rents
- Developing 100% affordable housing and a new, state-of-the-art library at the Inwood New York Public Library branch
- In November 2016, opened a new legal services office at 5030 Broadway to provide free legal assistance to tenants
- Ongoing door-to-door outreach by the Tenant Support Unit to inform tenants of their rights and connect them with resources
Create a Comprehensive Zoning Framework
- Extend Inwood eastward to the Harlem River and require waterfront developments to provide public open space
- Create permanently affordable housing through the Mandatory Inclusionary Housing Program
- Preserve and strengthen neighborhood character west of 10th Avenue through contextual zoning
- Expanded the rezoning area to preserve Inwood’s neighborhood character while requiring affordable housing in new development
Improve Neighborhood Infrastructure
- Reclaim the Harlem River waterfront for the community with new public open spaces
- Expand community access to parks and recreation
- Improve safety for pedestrians and cyclists and strengthen connections to the waterfront
- Investing $30 million to upgrade Highbridge Park through the Anchor Parks initiative (first phase includes $10 million for northern section of the park, closest to Inwood)
- Developing a drainage plan to address water and sewer infrastructure needs
Invest in Residents
- Increase youth access to education and skill-building for growing industries, such as health care and tech
- Provide free workshops and business development programs to support local entrepreneurship
- Use zoning to encourage institutional expansion and opportunities for new commercial and community space
- Established a new Workforce1 Career Center with targeted services for foreign-born New Yorkers (at 516 West 181st Street, open since September 2016)
- Through the Neighborhood 360° grant program, awarded $1.1 million to local nonprofits to support Inwood businesses (announced in March 2017)
- Supporting Inwood arts and culture through the Building Community Capacity Program
- Building a new, state-of-the-art public library for Inwood
Those instrumental in the creation of the Action Plan include Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, Council Member Ydanis Rodríguez, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, the Inwood Stakeholder Working Group and the Northern Manhattan Agenda, coalition of non-profits, service providers and community stakeholders in Washington Heights and Inwood.
New York City Economic Development Corporation is the City’s primary vehicle for promoting economic growth in each of the five boroughs. NYCEDC’s mission is to stimulate growth through expansion and redevelopment programs that encourage investment, generate prosperity and strengthen the City’s competitive position. NYCEDC serves as an advocate to the business community by building relationships with companies that allow them to take advantage of New York City’s many opportunities. Find us on Facebook or follow us on Twitter, or visit our blog to learn more about NYCEDC projects and initiatives.