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As 2013 kicks off, community leaders across New York say



Economic development and better education and resources for youth also ranked high on their lists.Jobs, jobs and more jobs. That's what community leaders and politicians feel is among the boroughs' most pressing needs.


Jobs, jobs and more jobs. That’s what community leaders and politicians feel is among the boroughs’ most pressing needs.

What are the borough’s most pressing needs?

As we kick off 2013, the Daily News asked community leaders to share their views.

Economic development, better education and resources for youth, and lower crime top their wishlists:


“This project, more than any other that has come before the Bronx in decades, has the potential to bring new economic development to our borough and expand employment opportunities for Bronxites into areas across the region. If we can make this happen this year, we will have fundamentally transformed the Bronx.”

Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr., on plans to push Metro-North Railroad to build new stations in Co-op City, Parkchester, Morris Park and Hunts Point.



Marlene Cintron (left), executive director of the Bronx Overall Economic Development Corp., and Annabel Palma.

“The first thing we need is a decision on the Kingsbridge Armory. Any decision (the city) makes will create jobs — construction jobs initially, and then permanent jobs in a building that deserves to be warmed up by people.”

Marlene Cintron, president, Bronx Overall Economic Development Corp.

“Everyone has (a full-service conference center), we don’t have one and we need one. That’s what’s going to bring people to the Bronx to show them how wonderful we are. That’s what I asked Santa Claus for.”

Olga Tirado, executive director, Bronx Tourism Council


“It’s only the second day of the year, and already there have been four shootings in the Bronx. We support any gun control legislation that can be brought forth, but there need to be incentives for people to turn in their guns.”

Rafael Salamanca Jr., district manager, Community Board 2


“NYCHA in the Bronx, especially in the South Bronx, is a in a terrible state. Besides mold and water problems aggravating asthma and respiratory problems in the tenants, there is an epidemic of poor maintenance and poor security.”

The Rev. Francis Skelly, pastor of Immaculate Conception Church at E. 150th St., who cited the need for improvements to NYCHA buildings


“For me, it starts with being able to educate, inform and inspire, and offer hope to our children and our youth, and to give love. Our young people today aren’t taught to love.”

City Councilman Andy King

“I plan on visiting most, if not all, of the schools in the Bronx to find out what’s going on and what the parents are feeling about the Bronx. How can we actually strengthen parent involvement? Because parents need a voice, and someone has to speak for the parents.”

Robert Powell, new Bronx liaison, Panel for Educational Policy

“We would like more school programs to help keep kids out of the streets. I hope that 2013 will bring us all together better as a community. I think that 2013 will be a great year to improve the relationships between all people of the Bronx.”

Mohammad Ahmad Jan, president of Madni MasjidNEEDS3B_3


Carla Precht, the founding executive director of the Bronx Children’s Museum, shows off a modified school bus in 2011 that will serve as a mobile museum.

“(Arts enrichment programs) are essential to a child’s creativity, social and cognitive growth, as well as his or her positive sense of self. Unfortunately, there are virtually no arts experiences available geared to low- and middle-income children (and their families) in the Bronx under 9 years old.”

Carla Precht, founding executive director, Bronx Children’s Museum


“I think we learned a lesson (from Superstorm Sandy): That we cannot postpone tree maintenance any longer. It’s got to be put on the front burner because of the impact it has on electrical service.”

City Councilman James Vacca

“Hurricane Sandy made the importance of safety nets clear to both those affected by the storm and beyond. Food stamps, cash assistance, subsidized child care and other vital social services are necessary to help get people back on their feet, not only after a natural disaster, but during other times of crisis, including a downturn in the economy.”

Councilwoman Annabel Palma


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