BOARD OF DIRECTORS
The Board of Directors for the Belmont Arthur Avenue Local Development Corporation consists of long time committed residents and professionals that have contributed their time and expertise in helping to maintain our community as a viable and dynamic environment for longtime residents as well as those individuals and families seeking a safe and affordable place to live.
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Monsignor John A. Ruvo
Born in the town of Castelgrande in the Basilicata Region of Italy, Monsignor Ruvo came to the United States at the age of five and received his elementary education in the Bronx Public Schools. At Junior High School 45, he was the sports writer for the school paper, delivered newspapers to the faculty and worked a push cart on Arthur Avenue. Upon graduation from junior high school, he was admitted to Cathedral College, the Minor Seminary of the Archdiocese of NY. While at Cathedral, he worked during the summers as a counselor and Assistant Director of the CYO Boys Camp in Putnam Valley, NY.
In 1948 he entered St. Joseph’s Seminary to complete his studies in philosophy and theology. He was ordained to the priesthood on May 14th, 1954 by His Eminence Francis Cardinal Spellman in St. Patrick’s Cathedral. He celebrated his first solemn Mass on May 16th, 1954 in Our Lady of Mount Carmel in the Bronx, the church where he had been an altar boy. His first assignment was as Assistant Pastor of Our Lady of Mt. Carmel in Poughkeepsie, NY. In January, 1957, he was assigned to Our Lady of Lourdes Church on West 142nd Street, where in addition to being Assistant Pastor, he was also Director of the parish camps: Our Lady of Lourdes Camp for girls and Camp Acadia for boys.
In November 1970, Cardinal Cooke appointed him Assistant Chancellor for the Archdiocese, where he was the Director of the Insurance Division and Executive Secretary of the Archdiocesan Pension Plan. At the same time he was assigned as an Assistant at St. Patrick’s Cathedral. The Cardinal later named him Executive Vice President of the Alfred E. Smith Memorial Foundation. Soon after, in September 1971 Monsignor Ruvo was assigned to Our Lady of Peace Church on East 62nd Street, the minister to the Italian community there.
Pope John Paul II named Monsignor an Honorary Prelate in 1983. Cardinal O’Connor appointed him Pastor of Our Lady of Mt Carmel Parish on April 14th, 1984, and a member of the Priests’ Council of the Archdiocese. Monsignor was pleased to return to the parish of his youth, where he was reunited with friends and former priests from years gone by. In addition to the usual pastoral duties, he was involved in neighborhood activities, serving as Director, and later, Chairman, of the Council of Belmont Organizations (COBO) and the Belmont Arthur Avenue Local Development Corporation (BAALDC). His first major undertaking on behalf of the community was to partner with the BAALDC in purchasing the former Little Sisters of the Poor Home on East 183rd Street, renovating and transforming it into the Notre Dame Residence for Senior Citizens. He continues to be Director of the Enrico Fermi Cultural Committee.
Monsignor devoted much of his energy to the Parish School’s academic and religious curricula, restoring the school’s library and establishing the new computer program. He began the tradition of monthly children’s confessions before the First Friday Children’s Mass. He also began the practice of interviewing Communion and Confirmation candidates, ensuring their readiness to receive the Sacraments. Furthermore, all the parish priests were encouraged to visit classrooms regularly.
In 1991 and 1996, Monsignor oversaw two significant fundraising campaigns which enabled him to make major renovations to the lower Church, and restorations to the main Church, as part of the 90th Anniversary Celebration. In preparation for the 100th Anniversary, another renovation restored the Latin text around the cupola and side walls of the church; and the Stations of the Cross. Air-conditioning was also added.
In 1993 Monsignor Ruvo invited the Missionary Sisters of the Catechism to help with the pastoral care of our multi-cultural and multi-lingual parishioners. To improve the Catechetical instruction of our public school children, he established the Bishop Pernicone Catechetical Center, under the director of the Missionary Sisters of Catechism. Monsignor welcomes the Neocatechumenal Community in 1995, desiring that parishioners have a better understanding of and love for the Liturgy and Holy Scripture.
As pastor of one of the few remaining Italian National parishes, he sought to maintain the Italian culture and heritage of the Church’s founding fathers, while extending a warm and sincere welcome to our new immigrants. Monsignor Ruvo served as Pastor of Our Lady of Mt Carmel for 24 years. As of September 1st, 2008, he serves as Senior Priest at St. Joseph’s Parish, in New Rochelle, New York.
Joe Cicciu is the Executive Director of The Belmont Arthur Avenue Local Development Corporation.
Born and raised in the Belmont Community, Joe has always possessed a strong relationship with his neighborhood roots and its members. Upon graduating from Lehman College in 1973 with a dual major in Political Science and History, he was employed by the Council of Belmont Organizations as a community social worker. During his time there, he assisted in renting over 600 units at the Keith and Kelly Apartment Complexes. In addition, he contributed efforts to the Italian American Alliance where he assisted community residents in obtaining employment. In 1979, Joe was hired by the South Bronx Development Organization to stop and reverse the deterioration of the Bronx, which included the Belmont community. In August of 1981, Joe’s mission of community revitalization ascended as he founded the Belmont Arthur Avenue Local Development Corporation and began his first federally funded low-income senior housing project, Notre Dame Apartments located at 660 East 183rd Street. Although restoring the borough’s housing stock was the ultimate mission of the BAALDC, commercial revitalization of the Belmont community was where the first rebuilding began.
The commercial revitalization program spanned approximately 10 years from March 1983 to June 1993. The streets of Belmont were re-paved, store front facades were upgraded, and 3 notable Belmont sightings, Columbus Plaza/D’Auria Murphy Park, Pernicone Plaza, and Frank Simeone Plaza, were constructed as focal points throughout the neighborhood. Marketing videos, shopping bags, restaurant brochures, and a colorful caricature map of the Belmont community all aided with the efforts of the community revitalization plan. Through the BAALDC, Joe had sponsored several years of the famous Ferragosto feast which is viewed as the primary Italian American festival in the Tri-State Area. For further details of the above mentioned community revitalization projects, click here. (Link to OUR STORY).
Since 1984, the BAALDC has received a series of administrative funds to help towards the revitalization and stabilization of the housing stock in Belmont and its surrounding communities. Programs funded by the City of New York include: the Neighborhood Preservation Consultant Program (NPCP), the Community Consultant Program (CCP), the Housing Preservation Initiative (HPI), and the HPD “Lead” Primary Prevention Program (PPP). For further details on each of these programs, click here.
In addition, since 1984 we been funded by the New York State Housing Community Renewal Program (HCR), which has assisted the BAALDC to utilize federal, city, and state resources in the development of housing initiatives to create as well as preserve affordable housing opportunities for individuals (young and elderly), families, as well as the special needs populations in the Belmont community and other areas of the South Bronx. As of today, these efforts have produced 75 buildings consisting of 2500 units with plans for future developments in the years to come. To view the building portfolio of the BAALDC, click here.
Joe’s belief is that our work is far from done. The BAALDC will continue to pursue housing opportunities in order to continue to strengthen the Belmont community and all of the wonderful areas of the South Bronx. The BAALDC believes that our efforts have given the residents of the Bronx renewed confidence in their communities and that they will continue to thrive and remain a welcoming environment to raise their families and participate in the ever growing vitality of New York City.
Raised in the Belmont section of the Bronx, Cecilia Ferro has served as the Secretary for Belmont Arthur Avenue Local Development Corporation since October of 1994. With over 25 years’ experience of property management, Cecilia’s professional portfolio has enabled her to serve the organization as one of the key visionary members.
Cecilia received her associate’s degree at Berkeley-Claremont School in 1970 and continued her real estate education until 1997. In addition to her Real Estate Broker’s License and Property and Casualty Insurance License she is a Registered Apartment Manager (RAM), a member of the Associated Builders Organization (ABO) as well as a member of Bronx Board of Realtors, INC. and an affiliate of the New York State Association of Realtors.
Before joining the BAALDC, Cecilia served as Secretary for Belmont Management Group INC, Cosmopolitan Realty Corp, and served as the Assistant Program Director for the Commercial Revitalization Program in the Bronx. She currently serves as the Secretary for Bel-Art Enterprises LLC, and Premier Fuel Oil LLC. She also serves as the President for Art Bel Enterprises, INC and Neighborhood Property Insurance. All the entities mentioned above are involved in the development, management, maintenance, and fuel delivery and insurance for over 1800 units of family and senior low income housing in the Bronx.
Lifelong resident, Ann Dellacava, has served the Belmont community since her adolescent years. Ann’s involvement in the Belmont community began when her mother, a local community activist, asked her to attend a neighborhood meeting. It was at that meeting that the Council of Belmont Organizations (COBO) was born. Throughout the years, Ann remained as an active participant of the Belmont community and was actively involved in the reorganization of the Merchants Association.
As a current neighborhood resident and active member, she serves as a member on the board of the Mount Carmel Senior Center, and is Treasurer of the Council of Belmont Organizations. Since 1986, Ann has been an active member of the Belmont Arthur Avenue Local Development Corporation.
Carmine Campo was born on January 11, 1927 in Port Jervis, New York, the son of Salvatore and Rose Campo. Later that year, the family moved to the Belmont area of the Bronx, where Carmine currently resides. Carmine attended P.S. 32, M.S. 45 and Manhattan Aviation High School. In 1945, he was drafted into the Army and served in Germany for two years.
Upon discharge from the Army, he returned to New York and began his community career in Belmont. Throughout his years of community service, Carmine was active in various civic associations, including the Belmont Community Center and The Council of Belmont Organizations (COBO) where he assisted other local community members and leaders in organizing neighborhood events, provided social support, and planned group activities. In addition to serving as an officer of the Royal Arcanum, he also currently serves as a member of the parish council for Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Church. Since December 2000, Carmine has been an active member of the Belmont Arthur Avenue Local Development Corporation.
Paul Fracassi was born, raised and currently resides in the Belmont section of the Bronx. He joined the board of the Belmont Arthur Avenue Local Development Corporation in 2011 after 38 years of community service.
In 1971, Paul received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Long Island University and was employed by the New York City Youth Board Research Institute in 1972. At that time, Paul was also assigned to the Italian American Alliance for Education as a youth worker under the directorship of the former executive director of the Council of Belmont Organizations (COBO), Joseph Zinzi. During his time as a youth worker, Paul performed a multitude of recreational and educational agendas such as writer workshops, photography classes and arts and crafts programs. In addition, he researched, developed and worked on grants and contracts, all of which assisted in funding youth and senior programs for the state and/or city of New York.
In 1986, Paul was promoted to Executive Director of the Italian American Alliance for Education and in 2000 was appointed as Director of the Mount Carmel Senior Center. He served successfully for 10 years until retirement.
Camille Acampora is a lifelong resident of the Belmont community. She is a retired educator who taught English and special Ed in the Tarrytown middle and high schools for over 30 years. She also supervised and taught student teachers for the School of Education at CCNY. For the past 20+ years, Camille has worked part time as an Administrative Assistant in the Children Teen Program at Broadway Dance Center in Manhattan. Furthermore, she is a long standing volunteer for the Broadway Equity Cares program: Dancers Responding to AIDS and an active member on the Board of Trustees at the Belmont Community Day Care Center. Camille understands the importance of quality housing and social services and is a valuable asset to the Belmont Arthur Ave LDC organization.