You may know that September 20 is a special, albeit, not widely known day in the life of New Rochelle. During the morning and early afternoon, members of the real estate, investment community, potential commercial developers and others are scheduled to tour the City along with officials of the Westchester County Association and I would imagine, others on the City's Advisory Board and Council.
I have expressed concerns over the agenda as well as issues around communication, but frankly, I am a little tired of "expressing concern" and seeing it reinforced in comparable areas and venues on the national and state level.
So, let me be as open, optimistic, and hopeful as I can be that the experience is carefully developed to be honest, descriptive, and open to a strong partnership with the County, State and moreover, members of this community.
A major point is to show our visual strengths; cleerly that includes our transportation center, the surrounding areas that would support commercia growth and mostly, our largely fragmentally defined waterfront assets.
I am hoping that Noam and his fellow Council members realize the value of this asset, see the critical need to develop and overall comprehensive plan embracing all of its components, simplify access to all community members, and above all simplify regulation, zoing requirements, and work out any and all issues between utility by those we lease or provide commercial space to and, unlike what we have accomplished midtown, work like Murphy's mule to make it work.
The Echo Bay waterfront space is hardly that, a mere sliver of space in terms of community access. Yet, it is important and its uniqueness lies in how that uniqueness is expressed from a developmental perspective.
Five Island Park is a wonderful potential area for some serious developement work especially around recreational areas; tennis, horseshoes, bocce ball, children's safe recreation and public picnicing come to mind.
But the jewel in the crown is Hudson Park and the immaculate view and the great and diverse acceptance of the Beach Bar by so many members of the community. It is,though, beset with issues that require the best and most collaborative thinking of the City planners and development folks as well as community residents.
We see where some residents have expressed concerns over the noise factor. I went to the Beach Bar Friday night last to visit and see all this for myself.
I saw something of an engineering nightmare; meaning the establishment of engineering approaches to mitigate any noise appreciably would not be either practical or cost effective. As a long time resident of New Rochelle, the noise generated is no more than what residents on Pelham Road and Davenport get during the summer from the various beach and clubs.
I spoke to a friend who runs the club; a friend, a fine citizen, who has invested in New Rochelle and is a fine citizen. He speaks highly of the help he has received from Chuck Strome and others and I know he must receive some consideration to establish the right to hold daytime event so that his business can be profitable.
Yet, there are good people who live in homes who feel that the Club infringes on their habilitatiion rights. Net, net, we have a classic problem in a beach resort area of good residents, honest businessmen, both with needs, both who would, I think, be amenable to compromise.
From a business planning standpoint, linking Hudson Park with our other beachfront, residential waterfront spaces, suggest a positive merger of inter and inrra community needs.
Simply put... I am suggesting that this be placed on the front burner in City Planning and it begins with a business manager for the entire waterfront development issue. It then would prosper by having this manager call both sides together to discuss issues, problems and concerns and some short term remedy can be worked out subject to final planning.
I think that a blue ribbon action team must be formed and the manager of the Beach Club (Carello), a member of the residences involved, and Al Tarantino, who I believe is the Council Representative, should be part of this team. I would like it headed up by the business manager. It would be a good expenditure of city assets to appoint a per diem consultant as well to facilitate the process.
What do we gain? We have a process story to tell the Westchester County people, direct participation of all concerned parties, a proper priority based on its value as a city land use priority, a commitment to the recreationial community base, a proper differentiation among all waterfront properties and a working together spirit that we do not have enough of in New Rochelle.
I like this because I find too many moments when I dislike myself for constant criticism. I like this because there are too many people in our nation who are ideologically constipated, unheathily committed to concepts that are unknown to the proponents.... for example what in blazes is large vs small government. I am also weary of the barrage of racism, sexism, ageism, etc.... that divides without offering anything in return.
Also, and finally, I am kind of a symbolic creature so let me say that September 20th is, if I remember correctly POW/MIA day. What a fitting tribute to our lost ones if the City can take a breath and put something on the board that we all understand and benefit from.