EAST NEW YORK – Breaking ground on a new public school in East New York yesterday, Mayor de Blasio and local Councilmember Rafael Espinal reminded those gathered of “Promises Made, Promises Kept.”
It was a hard message to miss—what with the giant sign behind them—but it was an important one: part of the deal made in the East New York Community Plan, which provided a plan for rezoning the neighborhood, included a new school.
After the 2016 rezoning, which paves the way for big changes in East New York, many are wary of the effects of gentrification, even with $270 million in improvements promised to the community. A new school was a major part of that promise.
By 2020, the community will have one, to the tune of 1,000 seats for students from Pre-K to the Eighth Grade, who will have access to brand new science labs, art and music education, and a rooftop greenhouse.
An East New York native, Councilmember Espinal referred to the moment as one of his “proudest days” on the City Council. As a tireless advocate for urban agriculture, he’s particularly excited about the 1,000 square foot greenhouse, too:
While the ceremony was called a groundbreaking, with the foundation already poured, it was more of a metaphor—but surely those gathered are happy for the (literal) concrete progress already being made.
Mayor de Blasio spoke to the long wait—nearly 25 years—for a new school in a community that had been “left behind” by the city. With the interest of developers in East New York, the Mayor defended rezoning as a way to ensure residents are included and protected as changes come to neighborhoods.
The full remarks from speakers at the ceremony can be seen in a tweet from the Mayor’s office:
The school, located at 3269 Atlantic Avenue, will open for the 2020-2021 school year.