I knew that title would get your attention. No, I am not proposing that a nuclear power plant be sited on the north end of town. Only wanted to start a long overdue public discussion on how to make the best use of New Rochelle's wonderful bounty of natural resources, open spaces and unmatched shore access (and some 62 beautiful, fairly wild acres pleasingly situated in the city's northeastern corner while we are at it).
No, I do not believe that DPW transfers should be routed through the north end. That would divide the present work flow of refuse and recyclables into two streams instead of the present one. That would be inefficient. However, as the population of the city continues to surge, as city services continue to plummet and as open land's necessity for the welfare of the public becomes increasingly plain for all to see, we have to start considering how to use all the resources of the entire city for the benefit of the entire city. Redistribution of other city services and functions (police substations, staging of DPW assets and supplies, etc.) to the north end, and around its many public lands and open spaces may be the best place to start.
If that means increasing municipal infrastructure in the south end, so be it. If that means increasing municipal infrastructure in the north end, so be it. I am tired of hearing from politicians that our New Rochelle is a "Tale of Two Cities." Buncombe! We are one, large, imposing and diverse municipality with a great wealth of human talent and nature-given physical resources. So let's get serious about rebuilding our infrastructure and improving operational efficiency by leaving no options unexplored.
It is time for a facilities review; an audit of the entire physical plant and real estate holdings of the City of New Rochelle to see how to improve services and facilitate the daily personal and commercial lives of all of our taxpayers, residents and citizens. No space, building or resource is sacrosanct! And none should be sheltered from this long-overdue tallying of what resources exist in the city, which are over-utilized and deserving of relief or repurposing, and which areas may be UNDER-utilized, and deserving of repurposing for the relief of the city's residents and visitors. And if this leads to some new and previously unacknowledged uses for Ward Acres, then the better off we will all be for it.
As soon as your Council is done with its poultry fixation, there are several projects of monumental importance and long-term impact to be addressed; in no particular order, I believe they are as follows:
-completion of a new, comprehensive and independently authored Master Plan, including, by its very nature, a review of the present system of roads, highways, commercial/industrial/residential zoning and of course parkland utilization
-empaneling of a Charter Revision Commission for the purpose of revisiting the chief document for the political management of the city and determining if it isn't time to reconsider several of its provisions; including most prominently, the present inadequate, politically unaccountable and functionally derelict city manager government form
-Creation of a Citizen's Volunteer Task Force to begin the long-needed, way overdue rededication of our community to helping one another and each other. One of the reasons for our present economic distress is the explosion of operational growth of governmental functions at all levels of government. As our city, county, state and federal "fathers and mothers" come to accept that government cannot continue its spendthrift "mission inflation and expansion" and consequent operational and structural delinquency, more of us will recognize that our predecessors and ancestors knew better than we do; government cannot and will not "do it all." More and more essential social, economic and emotional support mechanisms will have to devolve to America's great network of private, non-profit aid and assistance; churches, synagogues, mosques, other temples of worship, voluntary associations, men's and women's clubs and foundations etc. It will require millions of us to rejuvenate these once-functionally-vast institutions, staff and run them. New Rochelle might as well get out in-front and start meeting this enormous logistical challenge that is going to confront us very soon. Your nearest permanent political factotum cannot avert it.
The present "exploding universe" of state-sponsored social welfare cannot continue in its present form. Reform will be forced on us, and we can prepare ourselves with a "ready reserve" of local volunteers; worker ants and enterprise leaders alike. Let New Rochelle take the lead on this (like it has with other great humanitarian undertakings) by basing an "initiator" office right in the middle of City Hall.
And we needn't wait for the idea's adoption by any community leaders or for the approval of any politician. This power can be in our hands.
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