City announces $9 million investment in Brownsville following mass shooting

City announces $9 million investment in Brownsville following mass shooting
Photo by Caroline Ourso

The city will spend almost $9 million to revitalize social services and other local resources in Brownsville — including more than $5 million to renovate a neighborhood community center — in response to the mass shooting that left one dead and 11 injured last month, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced on Tuesday.

“Our hearts ache for Brownsville; but this community will be defined by resilience, not tragedy,” said de Blasio. “These programs will build on our commitment to end the epidemic of gun violence and lend much needed support to the local leaders and activists who work to bring positive, enduring change to the Brownsville community each and every day.“

More than half of the newly allocated money — $5.2 million — will go toward the restoration of the Brownsville Houses Community Center at Blake Avenue near Mother Gaston Boulevard, which is one of 15 public housing locations designated as a hub for de Blasio’s Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety, which provides tools and social workers to combat the root causes of crime.

The remaining $3.23 million will be used to augment other anti-violence and safety programs throughout the community, including:

• $1 million to expand an anti-gun violence program operated out of the 73rd Precinct, called the Crisis Management System, which deploys trained mediators into communities in order to settle conflicts and connect high-risk individuals with services.

• $1 million to enhance response times for the Department of Health’s Brooklyn Action Center in the event of emergencies, including violent crimes, extreme weather, fires, and other environmental hazards.

• $590,000 for youth education programs through Brownsville Neighborhood YouthStat, a group which trains youngsters in skills needed to identify and diffuse dangerous situations.

• $576,000 to hire 12 additional staff members at the Brownsville Recreation Center, who will oversee additional programming, expanded pool hours, and security.

• $140,000 to install new security cameras and street lights around the neighborhood.

The investment follows a mass shooting at the Old Timers Day block party near Hegeman Avenue and Sackman Street, when multiple gunmen opened fire into a crowd of about 2,000 on July 27, striking a dozen partygoers and killing 38-year-old Jason Pagan.

That tragedy came amid a backdrop of increased gun violence in the area — including Brownsville, East New York, and Crown Heights — where gun violence has increased by over 10 percent over last year, according to police statistics.

State Sen. Zellnor Myrie (D-Brownsville) applauded the mayor’s investment in Brownsville for focusing on the underlying sources of crime.

“For years, while the city’s funds for policing have steadily risen, funding to address the root causes of violence have been a drop in the bucket,” he said. “This new funding marks a welcome investment in the holistic and community-driven anti-violence work that brings our communities help and hope they need.”

Reach reporter Aidan Graham at agrah[email protected]hnepsmedia.com or by calling (718) 260–4577. Follow him at twitter.com/aidangraham95.