In the March 7,2014 issue of Soundview Rising
Jim Killoran, the eternal optimist, addressed the New Rochelle Citizens Reform Club at the Tuesday February 25th meeting about New Rochelle's downtown. Killoran, Executive Director of the local chapter of Habitat for Humanity, recounted how his organization had helped in many previous disasters such as Sandy.
However, he began his address by stating that New York State is the highest exited state in the country according to a recent Forbes magazine article.
Because of concern for the present conditions in the downtown area of New Rochelle he is promoting a new organization called SoNo New Rochelle. For example, high end buildings in downtown New Rochelle are filled with college students . A moratorium should be placed on any new development, except for the armory, because residents cannot afford these highly- abated developments. He said the city cannot afford any more development because recent projects have given the city away. He would like to see 5 Anderson Street remodeled as affordable condominiums and placed back on the tax rolls. Residents remember the grandiose plans Louis Cappelli had proposed for the LeCount Square block which included these Anderson Street apartments. Although all the Democrats on Council at the time approved this proposal, Cappelli was unable to start construction and there was speculation he was unable to obtain the needed financing. Killoran would like to see the apartments at 5 Anderson Street remodaled as affordable condominums and placed back on the tax rolls. Municipal employees are not seen in downtown City Hall could be moved back into empty spaces in the downtown area. This would place people with disposable incomes in close proximity of downtown businesses.
Changes are needed to make downtown more viable for businesses and residents. His vision for a new Common Sense Party with a platform that would urge that part time elected officials not be given pensions for their services or lifetime health benefits. He called for 20 people to work with this party to win the next election. The recent traffic study of downtown where only five people showed up is a good example of how residents' participation need to improve.
Killoran wants to bring the free trolley back and have Habitat for Humanity run it. Main Street, he feels, should be a two way shopping street again, instead of a one way "highway". At present the city does not have enough parking to compete with a mall.
New Rochelle belongs to the people and the residents are the ones who should decide the direction of the city according to Killoran.