Brownsville Community Board hosted its Semi-Annual meeting surrounding The Brownsville Plan on Wednesday, at 444 Thomas S. Boyland Street, to provide community members an update on the plan’s progress so far.
The Brownsville Plan, which has been underway since 2016, is a community-driven initiative that aims to address the unique needs of Brownsville, as the area experiences rapid development.
With a $1 billion investment by the City in affordable housing projects, the plan makes recommendations around affordable housing, improving health outcomes, and increasing entrepreneurship and access to cultural and art spaces.
According to Wednesday night’s presentation:
- 700 homes in new mixed-use developments currently are underway or will begin construction this summer;
- Construction and repairs have started at Betsy Head Park and Newport Park; and
- More than 3,000 Brownsville Youth enrolled in SYEP in 2019 under the plan’s youth initiatives.
Then residents had an opportunity to share some of their concerns, including a need to address education in the plan.
“We have charter schools trying to come into your community and oust our public schools. How do we include that in the Brownsville plan?” said Lytheia Smith, PTA President at Brownsville Collaborative Middle School of Technology. “It sounds like education should be a part of the foundation.”
Other residents expressed anxiety around a lack of transparency and a lack of real investment in an affordable housing plan: for example, when young people return to Brownsville after college and can no longer afford to live in their own communities.
“You are the team, we’re all on the team, and this is ongoing,” said Genese Morgan, chairperson for Community Board 16. “There are things that are going to continue to come up, and the more that you all participate, the greater the outcomes will be, and the greater the advocacy will be.”