It's YOUR Armory - This is How We Keep It

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Yes, it's Your Armory. The citizens of this great city not only own this iconic building, but you deserve to share and celebrate the rich, nearly century-old history of military and community service. The question is, "how do we hold on to this irreplaceable, one of a kind piece of history?". We need to begin the process of restoring it to it's intended and proper place as a community gathering place. A center to showcase all that New Rochelle has to offer. The one place our future generations can shape this City through their understanding our past. There is no option other than to say "We must make this vision a reality".

How do we do this? Here's where you come in. Join the ever growing number of supporters who have seen the importance of a grass roots movement to revitalize the city from within. Community enrichment, commerce, children, seniors and all of New Rochelle will benefit when YOU get involved with the only proposal that has the community, your community, as its focus. It's the one group that has advocated restoration for the good of the City.

Be a part of the next chapter of New Rochelle's history and join us at our next meeting. This Thursday, June 7th at 7:30 PM at the Post 8 Legion Hall (112 North Ave)you will hear the latest update on what it takes to save a city. We can move forward with waterfront access, increased commerce, green technology and serving the community by utilizing what we already own.

Every great journey begins with the first step, YOUR first step. So save the date, Thursday, June 7 at 7:30 in the Post 8 Legion Hall at 112 North Ave. and find out how easy it is to make history.

For more information, contact us at the Save Our Armory Committee or check us out at www.newrochellearmory.com

Commenting on this Blog entry is closed.

Bob McCaffrey on Tue, 06/05/2012 - 13:58

Community! What a concept!

A successful reconstruction of The Armory venue is something that can pull this city together and become a true community once again. Take advantage of the fact that The Armory is history. History does sell. It could become a contributor to the community in the way of taxes, services, amenities or social enrichment. A properly planned out renovation can make what is already part of New Rochelle very successful. There are many armory locations throughout the New York area that have very successful armories. They cater to Sports, The Arts, Entertainment and many different types of social events. There are several Armories close by that I have had the pleasure of dealing with over the years. As historical landmarks and as sporting event venues these locations see wonderful amounts of use. They are of great value to their communities, The City and State of New York.

The New Balance Track & Field Center at The Armory 216 Fort Washington Avenue New York is one in particular that I watched grow from a rundown facility to national fame and ranking. The New Balance Track & Field Center now has an Olympic caliber track. The Center hosts more than 100 track meets each year. Built in 1909, the 168th Street Armory for years was an underutilized military installation and overcrowded homeless shelter. With the cooperation and vision of many people through the use of public and private funding the homeless shelter was eventually converted into a world class facility. It has grown to promote excellence, fitness and community while hosting some 100 plus track events each year. It is the home of the National Track and Field Hall of Fame. They also run an after-school activity center while offering a variety of community support programs. That is a facility anyone would be proud of. It can be done you just need to put the right people together and have a plan and vision.

Two other locations are the Park Avenue Armory 643 Park Avenue New York and The 69th Regiment Armory 68 Lexington Avenue Regimental Headquarters New York. Again, we have two very successful collaborations of communities, The City and State of New York. You see, it doesn’t just have to be New Rochelle’s vision. We have people out there that would and could help turn New Rochelle around. The Mayor, City Manager and City Council just have to ask. Use the Armory to be the project that brings the community back together, create something wonderful and revitalize Downtown New Rochelle at the same time. It can happen.

We have enough people living in New Rochelle. What we need are people to come visit, shop and spend here. That vitality will move people to say they want to come to New Rochelle to live, shop and spend. We would have a community of citizens here that are proud of their city. That is what sells. Not apartments or condos. But, the vision must come First.

“Common Sense for the Common Good”

Warren Gross on Mon, 06/04/2012 - 15:34

John thank you and good to see another voice on this and hopefully one that will capture as many readers as a number of the far lesser important news items that we've seen in the recent past.

People need to know and understand that the Armory represents a real chance for the community wherever it resides in New Rochelle to bond around something other than rhetoric, hidden agenda, and self-interest.

It is not just rooted in the City Government. We can find it on both sides of the political spectrum, in how information reaches us, even in the biases or negative impact of the media at all levels.

Reflect please on what this represents. It is not, repeat not, a group of ex-servicemen hunched over a barrel swapping stories. Nothing wrong with that, but this goes further--- it essentially meets the spirit and ethos of young men and women who had a purpose when they passed through these gates; one that help sustain them in the trials ahead and one that calmed the nerves and nourished the souls.

People of New Rochelle, our Council talks about important indicators of what can bring us back as a community. Some mention entertainment, some speak of cultural and artistic gain. Then we hear about our struggling seniors, our children at risk, and yes, a fitting place to remember our brothers and sisters who are only here in memory and spirit.

NYS gave us a trust for $1.00 and it lies on fallow, not hallow ground at this moment. It cries out for use; one community-wide positive project led by citizens of this community can spark a renaissance in our business district especially up further north a bit, that could bring us back to a place where postive, meaningful energy supplants narrow self-interest, hidden aganda, and a constant drumming of negativity that cripples our spirit and leads too many of our best and brightest either disenfranchised or seeking calmer waters.

We have a hell of a lot to do and I am hoping that each of you recognize that your issues, problems or concerns about taxes, education, equity, property value, crime.... more begin with a simple first step. If the Armory is put in the hands of the Tocci people, they will make this work and fulfull the multi-purpose vision that a community with diverse interests likely has, if not suppressed by the hammerinig of the past 5 or so years.

If you are up for it, up to it, stop sitting on your hindquarters and get down to where John says this is taking place. If you are suspicious of downtown motives, or attributing this to a rant or whine, come on down and hear for yourselves. Be critical if you must, but be there.

I want to close paraphrasing the words of a fine Councilman, Ivar Hyden. He place the horse correctly before the cart when he mentioned at a recent Council meeting that the Armory was the lead event, not the Echo BAy MOU in development. Reason this for yourselves... look beyond the hyperbole, look at the potential for a "mansion on the hill" that panoramically sweeps you eastwwrd/northeastward to Echo Bay. Go beyond the hype of what it is and what it is not. Let your vision extend further out into the Sound towards Davids Island, turn around and let your eyes cross East Main Street to the thriving little community of retail shops and most dramatically, face Main Street proper, and see the potential of a communtiy that has found its voice and kts heart. That is how a great community integrates its urban planning and ensures cohesion and coherency where we have not seen much of it before.

It can be and must be brought back and made even better. Begin here!

Fifth Ave Guy on Mon, 06/04/2012 - 16:16

Warren, be careful how you use the word bond, its got a couple of meanings, but with government it usually references debt.

But then again maybe you stumbled upon something. If residents pay (through bonds or cash) about $175 each, the city could raise around $14 million or about enough to redo/move the city yard, if that's the highest priority to spend the money on, but perhaps there are other items residents want fixed 1st. I could think of a few more pressing issues that need attention than the city yard.

Laraine Karl on Mon, 06/04/2012 - 18:55
Title: Armory

Please keep in mind the city yard and Armory are different issues. If we save this structure so all of New Rochelle can use it, we will be much better for doing so. Attend the meeting, voice your concerns and please keep an open mind. We are losing so much of what New Rochelle was and it is time we step back and save our city. I truly believe if Forest City had not want this property the city yard would remain in its present state for many more years.

May I join you all for that pint?

Fifth Ave Guy on Mon, 06/04/2012 - 20:06

The issues are pretty intertwined. If the city yard isn't moved so Forest City can build down there, their plans for the Armory are moot. They also have plans that call for knocking the building down.

Yes NR could make something of the Armory all on its own, which they should do but they won't. The city's broke and can ill afford to spend anything.

That's why its so important for the city to give the land to Forest City and borrow $15 million to move the city yard. Then the city can claim it got millions of improvements done to the Armory for nothing while they quickly forget about the $15 million it borrowed. Smoke & mirrors.

Why doesn't someone just figure out what it'll cost to renovate the Armory and have a vote to borrow the money to do it or better yet why not start allocating money yearly so we can do it debt free in 5 or 7 years. Our dance with Forest City is getting old and tired, fast.

John D'Alois on Mon, 06/04/2012 - 22:38

The Committee to Save the Armory is currently preparing plans as a response to the city generated RFP on what to do with the Armory. Private investment is the key to developing the Armory in a way that generates commerce without the burden on the city schools. (in a nutshell). Come hear the update on the progress of the SOA plans this thursday @7:30 - post legion hall 112 North Ave. Forest City needs to go, leave the city yard for now, or move to the used car lot next to Salesian. Either way, the City needs to let the Armory be restored, but not handed over to city insider friends and family members. Join us and stay tuned.

Warren Gross on Mon, 06/04/2012 - 20:23
Title: bond around

Tell you what Knitter and Fifth, we can also bond around the beer at the Beach Bar once the DPW yard issue is safely dealt with.

I didn't raise it in my post wanting to be strictly supportive on what John wrtte, but I cannot see any reason why the yard has to move to Beechwood.

My understading is that it will take a super majority to pass Echo Bay over to Forest City. I honestly don't think they really want this project; it doesn't fit their profile for one (size) and it could be simply adtive as a favor to Noam.

But that said, I think the old Tuck Tape location in the area not far from the present site is the best alternative of all and should be put into play.

Passing the Armory inn my way of thinking remains as the linchpin to open up new and superior alternatives to the current plan.

Beech Wood is unacceptable to me for a number of reasons aside from the bonding and this time I use the financial definition.

It is something we cannot afford and something that would require new thinking. Read Martin Sanchez's and other postings in the past in TOTS on Beechwood. It is unacceptable from a financial and from a community viewpoint.

Fifth Ave Guy on Mon, 06/04/2012 - 21:39

Unfortunatly, any money spent on the city yard (to either move or fix it) has to be borrowed/bonded by the city so I say leave it as it is.

Its working now so leave it alone. Don't fix what's not broken and focus soley on renovating the Armory. But really the city needs to start allocating money NOW so the burdens aren't too great when the time comes. Not every project requires bonding.

Now we only need city hall to start generating some financial projections and forward budgets of what the city's expenses and income will be the next year, 5 years & 10 years from now. As it stands now, city hall doesn't look past the current year and the budgets are filled with 1 shot gimmicks.

New Rochelle can't survive without planning, yet it does nothing year after year. I guess that's why we got a 10++% tax increase last January and most likely will see another 10+++% tax increase next January.

Warren Gross on Mon, 06/04/2012 - 20:23
Title: bond around

Tell you what Knitter and Fifth, we can also bond around the beer at the Beach Bar once the DPW yard issue is safely dealt with.

I didn't raise it in my post wanting to be strictly supportive on what John wrtte, but I cannot see any reason why the yard has to move to Beechwood.

My understading is that it will take a super majority to pass Echo Bay over to Forest City. I honestly don't think they really want this project; it doesn't fit their profile for one (size) and it could be simply adtive as a favor to Noam.

But that said, I think the old Tuck Tape location in the area not far from the present site is the best alternative of all and should be put into play.

Passing the Armory inn my way of thinking remains as the linchpin to open up new and superior alternatives to the current plan.

Beech Wood is unacceptable to me for a number of reasons aside from the bonding and this time I use the financial definition.

It is something we cannot afford and something that would require new thinking. Read Martin Sanchez's and other postings in the past in TOTS on Beechwood. It is unacceptable from a financial and from a community viewpoint.