Bronx native Kellie Terry-Sepulveda, executive director of Hunts Point’s The Point Community Development Corporation, was named to replace Joan Byron at the board’s helm. Terry-Sepulveda has been a member of the Alliance’s board since 2009.
The Alliance was founded in 2001 to help restore the Bronx River, the city’s only freshwater river; push forward the city’s ambitious plans for a greenway that will run along the river’s shore; help spread the word to the public about the river’s revival; and encourage residents to get involved in river restoration projects.
“Kellie is a tremendous asset for the Alliance’s board,” outgoing chair Byron said of her successor. “She is a strategic thinker and passionate community advocate. She is also committed to the mission of restoring the Bronx River and developing the greenway so that they can be resources for Bronx River communities.”
Terry-Sepulveda, who currently lives in the borough with her husband and two young sons, also serves on the boards of Cristo Rey High School, the Parkside Lighthouse Charter School in the Bronx, and the New York City Environmental Justice Alliance.
Terry-Sepulveda knows there are possible speed bumps ahead.
“We see tremendous potential along the river, but also some real challenges, such as sustainable long-term funding, building the remaining links in the greenway, and achieving new partnerships with Westchester County so that the water is truly clean,” she said of some of the most immediate tasks she will face as chairperson. “Our history has taught us that we have the resources and vision needed to conquer these challenges.”
The Alliance has helped secure $140 million in government allocations for the river and the adjacent greenway in its ten years of advocacy, and has coordinated drives to remove 15,000 tires and other large objects from the river, through the work of staff and volunteers. The Alliance also reports that its workers have planted nearly 85,000 trees, shrubs and other plants along the river, with the help of volunteers.
Elected officials also praised the new board chair, while thanking Byron, who is director of policy at the Pratt Center, for her three years chairing the board.
“I can’t think of a better person than Kellie to lead the Bronx River Alliance board,” said Congressman José E. Serrano, who thanked Joan Byron “for her service and leadership over the past years in this position. Today the community is a better place for all the work that has been done.”