A renovated plaza in the Bronx has been named for Tuskeegee Airman and former Bronx Community College President Captain, Roscoe Brown, Ph.D. NYC Parks Commissioner Mitchell J. Silver, FAICP joined Former New York City Mayor David Norman Dinkins; Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr.; City Council Member Fernando Cabrera; Community Board 5 District Manager Kenneth Brown; President of Bronx Community College Dr. Thomas Isekenegbe; Dr. Roscoe Brown’s son Dr. Dennis Brown; and community members to cut the ribbon on renovations to the former M.L.K. Plaza, and officially rename it Captain Roscoe Brown, Ph. D. Plaza.
“Dr. Roscoe Brown was a remarkable person, and it gives me great pleasure to not only unveil this beautifully renovated plaza, but to name it in his honor as well,” said Parks Commissioner Silver. “Dr. Brown dedicated his life to service, education, and civil rights advocacy, and I hope that all that enjoy this new plaza are reminded of him and his commitment to the community for years to come.”
“Roscoe Brown was an internationally recognized trailblazer in the fields of military service, community service and education. This new plaza will help us remember his impact on our borough, our city and our nation, and I am proud to have contributed $333,000 from my own capital budget towards its completion. Roscoe Brown was a dear friend to so many in our borough, and it is important that we keep his memory alive for generations to come,” said Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr.
“Dr. Roscoe C. Brown, Jr. was a hero and a Bronx icon,” said Council Member Cabrera. “Leading Bronx Community College as president for 16 years, Dr. Brown opened countless doors and created invaluable opportunities for students and this community. Shortly after his death I approached the Parks Department about naming the plaza at Hall of Fame Terrace and University Avenue in his honor. I also submitted legislation to co-name University Avenue from Hall of Fame Terrace to W. 180th Street for Dr. Brown. I am extremely pleased that we are celebrating the completion of these two projects today.”
The Aqueduct Walk Plaza Reconstruction project reconfigured the original plaza with new paths and seating to better utilize the space for community gatherings and to maximize pedestrian circulation throughout the site. New fencing, lighting, and landscape improvements have also been incorporated for both beautification and safety.
The plaza has also been renamed in honor of Captain Roscoe Brown, Ph. D. Roscoe C. Brown, Jr. was a decorated Air Force Veteran and member of the legendary Tuskegee Airmen who served during World War II. Following his military service, Brown completed his Master’s degree in 1949 and a Ph.D. in 1951, both from New York University. He continued his life of service and civil rights advocacy with organizations such as the Boys & Girls Club of America, the Jackie Robinson Foundation, Libraries for the Future, and the National Park Service. Roscoe Brown also became a prominent academic figure in New York City, becoming president of Bronx Community College in 1977, holding the post for sixteen years.
The $2.9 million project was jointly funded by a $2 million allocation from Mayor Bill de Blasio, $600,000 from City Council Member Fernando Cabrera, and $333,000 from Bronx Borough President Rubén Díaz Jr.
Parks announced recently the agency completed 648 capital projects since Commissioner Silver joined the agency in 2014: the administration has taken on more projects and has completed them faster—nearly 90% completed on budget and 85% on time. Through this, the agency has provided everyday New Yorkers access to 205 improved playgrounds and sports courts; 102 reconstructed paths & plazas; 39 new comfort stations; 36 athletic fields; and the agency has addressed infrastructure at 24 of its piers, waterfronts and retaining walls (and much more). Parks’ 10-year capital budget is $5.2 billion—the completed projects over the past five years represents a $1.3 billion investment.
NYC Parks’ capital division of nearly 500 staff, including more than 100 landscape architects, manages its capital projects from start to finish; designing approximately 70% of its landscape architecture projects in-house—of the 648 projects completed, 410 were landscape projects. Currently, the agency is managing 618 active capital projects: 149 are in construction; 246 are in procurement and 178 are in design.
Captain Roscoe Brown, Ph.D. Plaza is located on the Aqueduct Walk, Aqueduct Avenue and West 180th Street in the Bronx.