The United States Green Building Council (USGBC) has awarded LEED for Neighborhood Development (LEED-ND) Stage II Silver certification for Melrose Commons. This was awarded because the neighborhood based team was com-mitted to pedestrian-oriented mixed-use, mixed-income de-velopment, while maintaining open space and sustainable design from the beginning.
To honor the time, energy and passion that Yolanda Garcia put into Nos Quedamos and rebuilding Melrose Commons, Third Avenue between 156th and 157th Streets has been renamed “Yolanda Garcia Way”. Standing as a testament to the sustainable building practices, and a commitment to commu-nity engagement, Yolanda Garcia Way memorializes the shin-ing light of the South Bronx.
Raised in Millbrook Houses in the Mott Haven section of the South Bronx, Jessica was inspired to combat asthma and the host of environmental problems of the South Bronx. After going away for college, Jessica returned to the South Bronx as Manager of the South Bronx Environmental Health and Policy Study, where she
We Stay/Nos Quedamoss, in partnership with the Municipal Arts Society of New York, create the Yolanda Garcia Community Planner Award, which acknowledges the hard-working leaders of grassroots, community-based, participatory planning and embody the drive and passion as We Stay/Nos Quedamos’ founder, the late Yolanda Garcia.
With the passing of Yolanda Garcia, Nos Quedamos leadership is handed to her daughter, Yolanda Gonzalez.
Plaza de Los Angeles, the first of many developments coming out of the new urban renewal plan, is completed to great success. This opens the gateway for the new direction that Melrose Commons is taking.
Concerned about the air pollution created by the high number of waste transfer facilities, and increasing diesel traffic volumes in the South Bronx , We Stay/Nos Quedamos came together to actively seek scientific evidence in support of their confrontation with environmental racism in the community. SBEHPS is a collabora-tive research project that involved the NYU School of Medicine’s Nelson Institute of Environmental Medicine (NIEM), the NYU Wagner Graduate School of Public Service’s Institute for Civil Infrastructure Systems (ICIS), and four community groups: We Stay/Nos Quedamos, Inc., The Point CDC, The Sports Foundation, Inc., and Youth Ministries for Peace and Justice, Inc. Funded with a Congressional Appropriation sponsored by Congressman José E. Serrano and administered through the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. For a five year period, the group specifically studied linkages to personal exposure as they relate to the waste management facilities, and the regulatory and public policy issues that affect environmental decision-making.
Although no formal presentation had been made to them, the community became aware of the City’s urban renewal plan and knew that it would lead to displacement. At a public meeting, a number of community residents-homeowners, tenants and businesses— demanded that any new development slated for the area include them
We Stay/Nos Quedamos begins working towards its ground-breaking of Plaza de Los Angeles, the first affordable home-ownership development. Simoutaneously, working to deter-mine the various type of affordable housing development needed that would ultimately become the shining example of sustainable living in the South Bronx. We Stay/Nos Queda-mos also joins five other non-profits around New York City to found the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance.
The Melrose Renewal Plan is approved by City Council in 1994, as a combined
effort of We Stay/Nos Quedamos, Magnusson Architecture and Planning, Depart-ment of City Planning, Department of Housing Preservation and Development, Department of Transportation, Department of Environmental Protection, the
Office of the Bronx Borough President, the Mayors Office, as well as Congressman Jose Serrano.