Also Announces $44 Million to Support Summer Youth Employment Program
Completion of Redesigned Waterfront, Upper Plaza Renovation and New Athletic Fields Cap Comprehensive Renewal of New York City's First State Park
Work Builds Resiliency and Enhances Flood Protection along Harlem River
View photos of the transformation here
Earlier today, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced the unveiling of Roberto Clemente State Park's redesigned waterfront and gateway with newly constructed ballfields, capping nearly $100 million in improvements to the park's nearly 50-year-old infrastructure since 2011 to make the park more resilient, inviting, and enhance youth programming. In addition, the Governor announced $44 million to support New York State's Summer Youth Employment Program this year to provide valuable training for young people from low-income families.
AUDIO of today's event is available here.
PHOTOS of today's event will be available on the Governor's Flickr page.
A rush transcript of the event is available below:
Good morning. What a beautiful day, isn't it? This is a great, great day. Please have a seat, enjoy the sunshine. I'll tell you, this is such an enjoyable day on so many levels. I'm from Queens, New York. When you grow up in Queens, or you grow up in the Bronx, you grow up in what's called the outer borough, you're in an outer borough. They never say what the inner borough is. It's just, you're from the outer borough. Manhattan was always the inner borough, even though they didn't call it that, but when you were from an outer borough you always had a sense that you went second, you know, they're almost a second thought, the outer boroughs.
Today, the Bronx is getting the best recreational natural facility that this state has renovated since we have been here. This is 25 acres, it's the largest single investment that we've made in any park, $100 million to make this Roberto Clemente facility what it is today. And it's not just the park with great recreational fields and synthetic turf and natural turf. I told my colleagues Rubén Díaz and Espaillat, I'm going to take them out on the turf and teach them some lessons because they think they can take the old guy, but they can't, they can't. But, it also has this beautiful natural setting with the river and this whole promenade and the esplanade and floating docks, it really is magnificent.
And I want to first thank all the people who worked so long and hard to do this. This is a long project, but the Department of Parks and Rose Harvey and Erik Kulleseid and Basil Seggos, let's give them a round of applause. I want to thank the New York State Legislature, I want to thank Congressman Espaillat, who helped raised money and was there after Hurricane Sandy when we needed relief.
I want to thank Major League Baseball that really stepped up. We closed the Yankee Stadium here and they donated a lot of money and I bet you that a lot of new ball players are going to be coming from these fields. I want to thank Alex Rodriguez for his generous contribution - let's give him a round of applause. Vanessa Gibson, I want to thank her, and thank the city for their help. And I want to thank the Borough President Rubén Díaz who always gets it done and gets it done on time. Rubén is my kind of politician - he's not about talking, he's about acting and making progress, and that's exactly what he has done. Let's give him another round of applause.
This is also powerful that it is named for Roberto Clemente who was just a phenomenal athlete and a beautiful ball player, great to Puerto Rico. But, there was another side of Roberto Clemente. He passed away, he died at 38 years old, because he was also a beautiful humanitarian and he was bringing relief to earthquake victims in Nicaragua - food and supplies. At 38 years old he died on that plane trip. And it was a powerful example of, yes, an extraordinary athlete and a gifted athlete, but also a beautiful person who cared about people and loved people and loved humanity and was always there volunteering in generous and let's remember that when we look at that Roberto Clemente statue. Let's give him a round of applause.
And this park is not just a park, it's a symbol of the New Bronx as we say, because there is a New Bronx. For many years progress happened but the Bronx was left behind not anymore. You see more and more people moving into the Bronx, more and more young people, population is up. But population among young people, the millennials like me, up 16 percent in the Bronx. Jobs are up. Unemployment has gone from 12 percent down to five percent. Think about that, how beautiful is that?
We're rebuilding the Sheridan Expressway so we have more access to the river. We have four new Metro-North stations coming in. Which will make the commute easier which will help additional development. We have an unemployment task force which has been working with young people to get the jobs. We've created over 600,000 new jobs.
And this summer we're going to spend $44 million. We're going to invest $44 million in a summer job program for young people in the Bronx. So as we start this summer I say to all our young friends, you should doing one of two things: you should be here enjoying this beautiful facility, these beautiful fields, enjoying Mother Nature, or you should be applying for one of the summer youth jobs that we're going to have. Get training. Get educated. Get a job. Get ahead.
Thank you and congratulations to everyone who built this beautiful, magnificent facility.