Removal Follows Rigorous Opposition to FreshDirect’s Relocation to the South Bronx and Competing Visions for the Future of the Waterfront
One of the most outspoken opponents to Ruben Diaz’ plan to bring truck-laden FreshDirect to the South Bronx, A. Mychal Johnson, was notified by the Bronx Borough President today that he is no longer a member of Community Board 1. Mychal had served on the board for seven years, but it was his vocal opposition to the $127 million-subsidized FreshDirect deal that drew fire from the Borough President, who announced the deal as final before the sole public hearing on the matter. The news of Mychal’s removal came as Public Advocate Bill de Blasio released a report citing subsidies to FreshDirect as wasteful and unwise economic development policy.
Over the last year and a half, Mychal and a broad-based coalition of residents under the banner South Bronx Unite have successfully stopped the project by bringing visibility to the company’s intent to add upwards of 1,000 diesel truck trips every day through the community already facing asthma rates eight times the national average and its reliance on a 20-year-old environmental impact assessment.Early on, the Bronx Borough President tried to meet privately with Mychal to discuss the deal, but Mychal rejected the offer.
“For too long, the South Bronx has been run by backroom deals that have been perpetuating poverty and environmental degradation in this district,” said Mychal.“The seeds of change grow from the ground up, not from the top down. We need to work together, and we need to ensure broad public participation in decisions about the future of the community.”
Most recently, as an appointee to the Open Space Conservation Plan Regional Advisory Committee (administered by the State of New York Department of Environmental Conservation and State of New York Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation), Mychal helped usher in a landslide vote in favor of recommending priority status for the Mott Haven-Port Morris Waterfront Plan. The plan is a dynamic blueprint of seven interconnected sites on state-owned land that would permit and preserve public access to the waterfront and encourage diversified economic development in an area currently occupied by waste transfer stations and fossil fuel power plants in the direct line of climate change coastal impact.The sole objection to the Mott Haven-Port Morris Waterfront Plan was lodged by the Bronx Borough President’s office.