Mayor Bill de Blasio announced today that his administration will invest $150 million over the next 12 years to revitalize the Hunts Point food distribution center in the South Bronx.
Mr. de Blasio, who has made combating income inequality in the outer boroughs a centerpiece of his economic agenda, said the investment would modernize buildings and other infrastructure at the crucial food market.
“It’s hard to overstate how important Hunts Point is to the future of the city,” Mr. de Blasio said at an Association for a Better New York breakfast in Manhattan.
Mr. de Blasio said he wants to add more jobs at the market, which in his estimation employs more than 8,000 people. The mayor, a Democrat, said the expansion of the market–he provided few details of his plan–will satisfy the “yearnings” of New Yorkers who want more of their food grown locally.
“The more food that is grown locally, the better it is for our environment,” Mr. de Blasio said. He added that the investment would also go towards making the waterfront market more resistance to future storms.
In addition, Mr. de Blasio said he would create a “dedicated space” to better link New York City to upstate food production. This would be beneficial for the economies beyond the five boroughs, he claimed.
Investments in the Hunts Point Market and surrounding neighborhood, one of the poorest in the city, are not new. Former Mayor Michael Bloomberg pumped $110 million into the market, one of the biggest food distributors in the world. The investment, however, did little to improve the neighborhood’s high poverty rate.
Mr. de Blasio also spent much of the morning reiterating his accomplishments during his first year in office and his plans for the future, including a push to raise the city’s minimum wage to $13 an hour and build and preserve 200,000 units of affordable housing.