Davids Island in New Rochelle dates back to 1861 and the Civil War when it was used by the War Department as DeCamp General hospital. In the years that followed it was used by the Army. By l948 it was transferred to the Air Force for housing and logistical support. The deed was conveyed to the City of New Rochelle in l967.
In 2005 The Historical Architectural Survey and National Register Evaluation and further surveys and studies in 2006 had designated 19 buildings for "on-site preservation measures." Five meetings were held in 2007 with "interested parties" to discuss alternatives for preservation. But in the end of 2007 the New Rochelle City Council voted to demolish all the buildings. This was less than a month before three new council members were to be installed.
New Rochelle, unlike Yonkers, has no Landmarks Preservation Board. If any structure 75 years or older is slated for demolition, the Landmarks Board must review the building using mandated criteria. This Preservation Board (appointed by the Mayor of Yonkers with the approval of Council) was in the news lately because the Mayor favored a charter revision to give the Planning Board power to approve the Preservation Board's designations before they went to City Council. Presently their designations go directly to City Council for approval.
I agree , in these times we all need to pay more attention to the conditions around us . From Echo Bay to LeCount Place to our school taxes , Avalon 911 calls , budget contractions , Board of Ed challenges , and on and on , there hasn't been this much focus on so many issues for as long as I can remember . Personally , I support this kind of participation by the citizens . I once wrote that things will get better and perhaps it will have more to do with what we do rather than the politicians , and believe me , the more we get involved , in anything/ everything , the better New Rochelle will be for all of us .Read more
There will be no room for remorse . That about sums it up when speaking of the consequences of misguided demolition . The fact is , there has been no actual review of the possibilities of an adaptive re-use of the Armory , by this or any other administration . The only consideration given was the City asking the most recent developer , Forest City- Ratner , what they want to do with the property . Hardly in-depth thinking . Granted the city doesn't have much experience in this area , but that only reinforces the need to stop and take a closer look at just what might happen and what we will loose forever . There is no going back .Read more
"The greenest building is the one that's already built" is not just a new catchphrase . It is a proven concept that is being applied to historic and non historic buildings all across the country . Take the Portland Armory as an example . In the Jan '07 issue of www.Metropolis Mag.com , Brian Libby writes "In October it became the first historic-building renovation to earn a LEED Platinum rating from the U.S. Green Building Council—a transformation that illuminates just how tricky (yet ultimately feasible) it can be to strike a balance between the principles of sustainability and preservation." . Numerous other projects are realizing how clear the choice is when trying to save a significant piece of a cultures history and move forward with development .From Bizjournals.com we hear “We wanted to preserve it, the historical significance of it,” said Seth Patton, vice president for finance and management at Denison University, referring to Cleveland Hall. “It’s an attractive old building. It also fits into current thinking on environmental sustainability – to reuse what you can rather than tearing down and starting over.” “Everyone likes to throw the ‘green’ word around, especially with new construction,” Jenkins said. “Actually, one of the greenest ways to act in the construction industry is to reuse existing structures.Read more
Hello my name is Tom Roberts and I have been a resident of New Rochelle, NY for the past 43 years. My father Dr. Donald Roberts was the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church at 50 Pintard Avenue from 1966 to 1984. Currently he lives in Pelham with my mother. No matter where I have been in life or where I have lived I have always felt that New Rochelle was always my home. Living at the manse next to the church we always felt that we were in the middle of all the action in New Rochelle. There were always different community leaders stopping by to see my father. My dad worked with different groups and community organizers to help start July-o- Rama on David’s Island in the late 1960’s and early 1970’s we worked to unify the North Avenue Presbyterian church with the First Presbyterian Church at 50 Pintard Avenue. Both of my parents fed the homeless, started support groups and were real community leaders. New Rochelle was a great city to grow up in during the 1980’s. I worked on the fishing boat Klondike VII and VIII with Pete Pearson and also Lifeguarded at Hudson Park. Over the Years I have worked part time with Janet Guarasci and Nina Shawn-Gainor in the socialization programs for developmentally disabled through the New Rochelle Parks and Recreation Department.Read more
In a brilliant red white and blue display of soldiers on their way to the battle of White Plains, a silhouette by Norman Rockwell greets you as you enter the city. Below this amazing piece of Americana is a sign proclaiming “New Rochelle Rich in History”. This one piece, meticulously restored, says so much about this fine city. There is, however, more than meets the eye.
A large, one of a kind structure sits on Main Street. One of very few Naval Armories ever built in the U.S. It is a part of our history and the culture of this city and has helped define our place in this world today by serving us throughout the past. From those who were sent off to fight the “war to end all wars”, to those who marshaled to contribute to the recovery efforts in the aftermath of September 11th this edifice takes it’s place in our society as no other place can. The sole survivor of an era that will forever be forgotten if we do not do what we are compelled to do, for the sake of those before us, and those that will follow. The clearest vision will see the capacity that exists in a building we already own. The potential to deliver the best of what New Rochelle has to offer cannot be overlooked. The possibilities are endless if you look outside the box.Read more