City Of NY And Uptown Council Member Rodríguez Release Updated Inwood NYC Action Plan

January 9, 2018

NYCEDC President James Patchett and uptowns Council Member Ydanis Rodríguez released an updated Inwood NYC Action Plan, a comprehensive strategy for protecting affordability, investing in infrastructure, and connecting residents to good jobs. The updated Action Plan was previewed on Sunday in Inwood during a Spanish-language resource fair that included the participation of several local elected officials, as well as representatives from City agencies and local service providers.

The full updated Action Plan can be downloaded in both Spanish and English, here.

In addition to previewing the updated Action Plan that outlined City investments in the Inwood community, Spanish-speaking residents – who make up 70 percent of the local demographic – were directly connected with representatives from NYCEDC, the Departments of Housing Preservation & Development (HPD), Parks, Transportation (DOT), Small Business Services (SBS), City Planning (DCP), and the Tenant Support Unit. Residents were also connected with local community service providers such as the Northern Manhattan Improvement Corporation, Legal Services NYC, CUNY in the Heights, among others.

Over 100 Spanish-speaking residents, as well as other local elected officials such as State Senator Marisol Alcantara, State Assemblywoman Carmen De La Rosa, and Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer attended the resource fair.

Last June, Mayor Bill de Blasio, NYCEDC President James Patchett, and Council Member Ydanis Rodríguez released the Inwood NYC Action Plan, which lays out goals and strategies to ensure that Inwood remains an affordable, attractive neighborhood for working and immigrant families. The plan builds on Inwood’s strengths and address pressing challenges – including rising rents and tenant harassment, lack of new affordable housing, antiquated infrastructure, an inaccessible waterfront, and residents’ need for access to good jobs and careers.

The Action Plan is a major milestone of the Inwood NYC neighborhood planning initiative, an over two-year community engagement process that has reached over 2,500 residents, local nonprofits, and businesses through a series of bilingual public events, workshops, surveys, and other outreach. The City has worked with the Inwood community and local elected officials to define community priorities and shape a plan that meets neighborhood needs, including:

    • Preserving existing affordable homes and developing over 1,300 affordable homes
    • Protecting tenants from landlord harassment and unlawful rent increases
    • Providing access to a revitalized Harlem River waterfront
    • Preserving Inwood’s distinct built character, while ensuring that new residential developments provide permanently affordable housing
    • Investing in infrastructure, including streets, parks, sewers, and community spaces
    • Improving access jobs and career opportunities in growing industries like technology and health care, especially for youth
    • Supporting local businesses and arts & cultural organizations

The updated Action Plan details progress across all of these priorities including affordable housing preservation projects, street and park improvements, marketing and beautification of Inwood’s commercial corridors, and updated zoning to preserve the Inwood community’s built character west of 10th Avenue.

“The Inwood Action Plan is a blueprint for how the City is tackling Inwood’s most pressing challenges, such as rising rents, antiquated zoning, lack of access to the waterfront and outdated infrastructure,” said NYCEDC President and CEO James Patchett. “Under the continued leadership and advocacy of Council Member Rodriguez, coupled with support from other local elected officials and our sister agencies, the City is committed to ensuring Inwood remains an affordable and vibrant community, and that the engagement process becomes the model for community-driven planning.”

“Over a two-year process, the New York City Economic Development Corporation has diligently engaged the community and various stakeholders to ensure Inwood’s unique characteristics are preserved for decades to come. We have worked together to develop a thoughtful, multi-pronged plan to make Inwood affordable to longtime residents, enhance natural resources, and ensure its population is well trained and small businesses remain competitive. I thank Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, NYCEDC, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, my fellow elected officials representing Inwood and, especially, its residents and small business owners who have been instrumental throughout the process. They have fiercely advocated for the interests the community and the best plan for the present and future generations,” said Council Member Ydanis Rodríguez.

“I thank EDC for their continuing community outreach efforts in Inwood and for the improvements they’ve made on their original plan, especially the inclusion of contextual zoning in areas to preserve neighborhood character,” said Manhattan Borough President Gale A. Brewer. “We must work together to ensure zoning changes in Inwood produce economic growth and new housing while benefiting the current residents and small businesses that have invested in the neighborhood and thrived there.”

“The Spanish Resource Fair hosted by NYCEDC and in partnership with city agencies was a crucial step forward in ensuring further community engagement as we discuss the updated Inwood NYC Action Plan. It is vital to bring additional services to empower our diverse and cultural rich community. This fair especially catered to our Spanish speaking neighbors in an important acknowledgment that over 70 percent of Inwood’s residents are Spanish speakers. We want to ensure that all residents have the opportunity to receive services, share their input, and identify priorities as we move forward in the planning process,” said Assemblywoman Carmen De La Rosa. “I look forward to continued dialogue and forums in the months to come as we aim to build a stronger community.”

“Since releasing the Inwood Action Plan, HPD has advanced key strategies to protect tenants, aggressively preserve and create affordable housing, and promote economic opportunity for local residents,” said Housing Preservation and Development Commissioner Maria Torres-Springer. “Most recently, we passed a Certification of No Harassment policy to prevent displacement, created a new Speculation Watchlist to combat predatory equity, launched the Neighborhood Pillars program to fund non-profits looking to acquire rent-regulated buildings, and issued a Request for Proposals with the New York Public Library to provide the Inwood community with a new, state-of-the-art library branch, Pre-K classrooms, and over 100 affordable homes for low and moderate-income households. We look forward to working with our sister City agencies, community stakeholders, and Inwood residents to build on these efforts and ensure Inwood remains a strong, affordable neighborhood for generations to come.”

“The Inwood Action Plan is delivering real results for the community, and that includes area small businesses and jobseekers,” said Gregg Bishop, Commissioner of the NYC Department of Small Business Services. “Through our service centers in the neighborhood, we are offering small business owners the support they need, including services in Spanish – and providing tailored employment, training, and supportive services to the City’s vibrant immigrant workforce.”

“The Inwood Action Plan recognizes that parks and public spaces are vital urban infrastructure, and that well-designed and well-maintained urban parks are indispensable to health, wellness, and quality of life. With $30 million in Anchor Parks funding for Highbridge Park, as well as support for the rehabilitation of Inwood Nature Center and for grassroots community engagement, the Action Plan’s positive impact will extend across Inwood’s network of historic parks,” said Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP, Commissioner of NYC Department of Parks & Recreation.

These latest City actions 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 Robin Hood Foundation to create a new, state-of-the-art library in a mixed-use development with 100% affordable housing; a new Workforce1 Center with services tailored to foreign-born New Yorkers; and a new legal services office in Inwood that provides free legal assistance to tenants facing harassment. Additionally, the Administration, through the Neighborhood 360° program, has allocated $1.1M to support projects that strengthen and revitalize the streets, small businesses, and community-based organizations in Inwood.

Action Plan Goals and Updates

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, and the Action Plan Winter 2018 Update includes progress in each category.

Support Affordable and Mixed-Income Housing

The City is:

  • Financing the rehabilitation of three rent-stabilized buildings with 83 apartments, as well as a vacant City-owned building with 15 apartments, ensuring that rents will be affordable for families living there
  • Launching the Certification of No Harassment Program, a pilot program in specific neighborhoods including Inwood and Washington Heights, to protect tenants from harassment
  • Continuing to provide free legal assistance to tenants – over 2,200 in Inwood since October 2015 – leveraging a new Inwood office of Legal Services NYC and ongoing door-to-door outreach by the Tenant Support Unit

Create a Comprehensive Zoning Framework

The City’s rezoning proposal will:

  • Create the potential for over 1,300 permanently affordable apartments – the first major expansion of Inwood’s affordable housing stock in decades
  • Require waterfront developments to build and maintain attractive public open spaces
  • Protect Inwood’s existing built character by instituting height limits

Improve Neighborhood Infrastructure

The City is:

  • Advancing a $30 million investment to transform Highbridge Park
  • With Partnership for Parks, providing funding to community organizations for improvements and events in Inwood Hill, Muscota Marsh, and Isham Parks
  • Redesigning Inwood streets and intersections to enhance traffic flow and make them safer for pedestrians and cyclists

Invest in People

The City has:

  • In the past year the Business Solutions Center has held over 50 courses; helped 57 businesses access $470,000 in capital; supported the opening of 14 food and retail businesses, generating 288 new jobs
  • Provided $1.1 million in grants through its Neighborhood 360 program to support Inwood’s commercial corridors, resulting in the launch of the “Up in Inwood” marketing campaign as well as 1,000 hours of trash pickup and graffiti removal for over 300 businesses
  • Held over 50 courses for Inwood and Washington Heights business owners; helped 57 businesses access $470,000 in capital; and helped 27 businesses with their leases
  • Provided grants and training for Inwood cultural organizations, and helped form the Northern Manhattan Arts and Culture coalition to support local arts events and artists

Those instrumental in the creation of the Action Plan include Deputy Mayor Alicia Glen, Council Member Ydanis Rodríguez, Manhattan Borough President Gale Brewer, and a wide range of community-based nonprofit organizations, residents, and local businesses.

The Inwood NYC rezoning proposal is expected to certify into the City’s Uniform Land Use Review Procedure (ULURP) on January 16, 2018.

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