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Local groups recognized for superior effort

The annual Neighborhood Awards Reception recently served as an evening of appreciation for the 19 Bronx organizations that received special recognition from the Citizens Committee for New York City for their commitment and dedication to community improvement.

“Community groups are the heart and soul of the neighborhoods of the Bronx, and they are also the muscle and the voice of each community,” said Peter Kostmayer, president of Citizens Committee for New York City.

Among the honorees were the Westchester Square Resident Association and Pelham Bay Taxpayers and Civic Association, both awarded for their involvement with local projects that increase the quality of life in their communities.

“There are a lot of things we want to do to keep improving our neighborhood,” Eddie Romeo, president of the Pelham Bay Taxpayers and Civic Association said.

In addition to the group’s continual efforts to alleviate traffic congestion in Pelham Bay, Romeo said they had a recent win at a local bus stop where they convinced the City to re-concrete the station.

“So that was one big thing we got done,” Romeo explained.

As for their upcoming projects, he said the association is looking to redevelop Diamond 7 at Pelham Bay Park. Not only would it lend as a perfect location for a new Gaelic football field, he explained, but it would also provide direct public access to the waterfront.

“I want to make sure this is a place I’m proud to say I live in,” Romeo said. “People should live their lives to the fullest in Pelham Bay.”

Also working to make change in their community is the Westchester Square Resident Association.

“Our main goals are improving the safety and quality of life in the neighborhood,” a member of the group, Carl Anderson, said.

Since the association united in January of 2008, Anderson said most of their attention went to stopping the expansion of Daytop Village Inc., a substance abuse treatment facility at 16 Westchester Square.

“We think programs like this are very helpful, however, we didn’t feel it was appropriate to have it in our neighborhood,” he explained.

The group also helped get a speed bump installed on Halperin Avenue, and has big plans for a summer community picnic.

Anderson said, “What we’re trying to do is inspire a good community spirit.”

Other organizations honored were the Urban Institute of Mathematics in Throggs Neck, 445 E. 171st Street Block Association in Claremont Village; Bronx Land Trust; the Validus Prep Environmental Club; For a Better Bronx in Mott Haven and Hunts Point; 1560 Grand Concourse Tenant Association; Louis Gehrig Academy on the Grand Concourse; Alfred E. Smith CTE High School; C.S. 50 in Claremont Village; the New Explorers High School for Film and the Humanities in Mott Haven; 1150 Grand Concourse Tenant Association; C.S. 211 in Morrisania; John Phillip Sousa Middle School 142 in Baychester; La Familia Verde, in Crotona; P.S. 109: The Sedgewick School; the South Bronx Local Growers and the Jackson Avenue Block Association. 

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