Astin Jacobo (1929-2002), was a community advocate who played an important role in the renewal of his problem-ridden Bronx neighborhood, Crotona, a neighborhood he had lived in since 1970. He was often called the Unofficial Mayor of Crotona.
Besides doing volunteer work and serving as an organizer, Mr. Jacobo worked for decades as the custodian of St. Martin of Tours elementary school in Crotona. After moving to Crotona from his home in the Dominican Republic, he used his knowledge of sports to form children’s sports teams. A baseball academy was eventually begun in his name in The Bronx. He got to know parents, brought residents together and helped found the Community Coalition in the mid-1970’s. As founder of the Crotona Community Coalition, Mr. Jacobo helped organize residents in their own defense against crime, arson and the loss of housing and drew the attention of government officials and investors to the neighborhood’s problems and possible solutions, especially involving housing. The coalition also created tenant associations to get apartment buildings repaired and worked with the city to renovate unoccupied city-owned apartment buildings and build new houses for low-income families. It worked with a private developer to build a small shopping center on East 180th Street in Crotona, helping revive business there.