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The long-vacant Kingsbrige Armory is again the focus of a redevelopment project designed to bring much-needed jobs and economic stimulus to the Bronx. Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Bronx officials announced yesterday that they have a deal with a developer to turn the massive ice center with 9 regulation ice rinks for skating and hockey and a 5,000 seat arena. The $275 million deal is expected to create 267 permanent jobs and 890 construction jobs. The plan will need approval by the City Council before moving forward. In 2009 Bloomberg and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. clashed over a proposal to turn the site into a shopping complex. Diaz and Bronx residents were concerned the project would create low-paying jobs and conflict with local businesses. The fight eventually spawned the city-wide push for the living wage. The developers of the ice center have signed an agreement promising to pay workers $10 an hour with benefits or $11.50 an hour without, as well as giving Bronx residents hiring preference.
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The state Assembly voted yesterday for a 24-month moratorium on hydraulic fracturing, apparently emboldened by Gov. Andrew Cuomo's decision to hold off on allowing the natural gas drilling process in New York state. In a statement defending the bill, Assembly Speaker Sheldon Silver said a moratorium was necessary to allow for sufficient time to thoroughly study the issue. “We need to better understand the broad impacts to our environment, our economy, and the health and safety of all who work and live in New York before the Department of Environmental Conservation makes its decision," he said. Supporters of fracking condemned the move saying fracking will bring a needed boost to the upstate economy. The bill is unlikely to pass in the Senate although members of the Independent Democratic Conference have proposed a similar measure. The Assembly bill also requires a health impact assessment to be carried out using a model recommended by the Centers for Disease Control.
Cuomo to Hold Telephone Town Hall on Campaign Finance Reform (Capital Tonight)
State Budget Deadline May Be Even Earlier Than Usual (Daily News)
in Albany, Teacher Union's Lobbying Power Remains Unmatched (Gotham Schools)