I see where the librarian instance has attracted close to 13,000 reads at the time of this posting and that tells me that Talk of the Sound has considerable community outreach.
It is not a pleasant story but a necessary one to pass along to the community. However, there is a potentially powerful story building that can be the beginning of a renaissance, or better put, a restoration and rebuilding of the City we love. It is the resurrection of the Armory; in a new form, one that servicemen and women would endorse from my generation and hopefully, yours.
On June 7th at the American Legion Post 8 hall the thoughts and love of your neighbors who formed into a Citizen's group to propose a plan, will be available for community critique and comment. The Hall is located on lower North Avenue and the presentation is scheduled to begin at 7:30 p.m. This is not a done deal; this group that I will refer to as the Tocci group hereafter, is one of potentially some number that may develop a proposal to restore this Armory.
I know something of what is in the plan and I urge you to attend the presentation and bring your questions, comments, and concerns. Be critical, be supportive, be what you believe this is all about after the proposal is presented. I especially urge my neighbors up North to attend so that you can deal with concerns you may have about the purpose, scope and the participants whom you may have an impression you need reinforced or likely, changed.
Ron Tocci is a former Assemblyman in New York State and, while I do not know him very well, I do pride myself in being able to separate a positive spirit from a negative force. This proposal is full of community-based ideas; it is not some addition to the legion hall, it contains elements that answer some long-awaited needs to move us forward.
I am, if nothing else, a relatively positive man and a former veteran. I am not a sunshine patriot, I am someone proud to have served both as a citizen and as a responsible member of this community. I sadly read Lewis Cohen's account in the Westchester Guardian today and he talked about his family, his service and our community. I read this while looking across the street at the police tape protecting pedestrians from the damage done to this excellent man. In a sense, beginning to restore the downtown business district is our legacy, passed on by departed generations and sealed by the spirit of the men and women who passed through the portals of this Armory. To bring it back properly validates in my mind the presence of the Cohen family.
I am not going to tell you what is in the proposal. Ron will do that more than adequately. I will tell you it addresses many needs in the community. For example, Ivar Hyden talks eloquently about restoring or building a cultural base. This proposal opens up that possibility. Shari Rackman has mentioned the need for entertainment when talking about licensing.... this proposal opens up this possibility. Jared Rice is committed to the youth of our City and this proposal tends to that possibility as well.
Here is what I will contribute as a citizen not directly involved with the content of this proposal. Noam Bramson talks eloquently and positively about Sustainability. My view is simply that the restoration of this armory can bring to bear many of the energy, construction, and green/brown scape ideas prevalent in the field. It can be put up for matching if not direct funding based on these factors alone. In addition, NYSERDA would be very open to ideas that should be made part of the contruction specifications.
I personally know or have corresponded with many of our local representatives or people running now for NYS office. I am sure that George, Bob, Amy, Sheila, Jim, now Eliot would be more than supportive of a truly community based initiative, supported by the entire community, championed by the City Council and Mayor, and led by a valid, responsible citizens group dedicated to step one of rebuilding and restoring New Rochelle.
Please attend. Please comment. Please be critical or supportive, have the Courage to Be.
The time for being positive is long past due. Come as you are!