NEW ROCHELLE, NY -- RDRXR continued its efforts to engage the New Rochelle public last week by hosting another idea-generating gathering.
The meeting, hosted by Ashley Aldrich was part of the ongoing Crowdsourced Placemaking (CPSM) process. Aldrich recently began work as RDRXR Community Liaison for the New Rochelle project.
Aldrich, a product of New Rochelle’s public school system and graduate of Fordham University, noted her multi-generation roots in the city. Her mother, father, and grandmother attended the event. She said she was dedicated to see downtown become a multi-purpose place for all residents and visitors.
“This is my home, the place I grew up, a place that I love, this is a place I want to see move forward,” said Aldrich, explaining her decision to take the Community Liaison with RDRXR.
Aldrich provided a quick instructional breakdown of NRFuture.com, the idea-generating website that is centerpiece of the RDRXR outreach effort. She explained how residents can use the social-media platform to submit their development ideas for community review and voting. Those ideas that garner the most support will be studied by RDRXR for market feasibility and, if sustainable, added to the firm’s Recommended Action Plan to the city council for downtown development.
Those who wish to submit ideas in person, for now, should visit Aldrich at RDRXR’s temporary office located at 2 Clinton Place. RDRXR spokesman Brandon Palanker noted the firm’s official community outreach office is still about six weeks from opening as it continues to undergo renovations.
Aldrich invited two local stakeholders to speak.
James Killoran, CEO of Habitat For Humanity of Westchester disputed the premise of the meeting, stating that New Rochelle could “rock” and “everyone could make a lot of money, without another building going up”.
Killoran spoke for the need of a biking culture around downtown. This idea was met with hostility from some audience members while others felt a bike-able, walk-able community could build the type of foot traffic needed to feed retail businesses and generate positive tax bases from the city’s center.
Haina Just-Michael, President of the New Rochelle Public Library Board and Tom Geoffino, Director, New Rochelle Public Library spoke to reassure the audience that while the library is a “hot commodity” in terms of downtown development, it will not only remain, but grow through the development process.
One resident described the New Rochelle Public Library “as an anchor of downtown”.
The crowd brainstormed more ideas. They were then encouraged to post them to NRFuture.com. As of Sunday afternoon, the site had twenty-five entries.
The top five entries as of now, in order, are a bookshop, a next generation library, a dog park, an artisan food/studio with retail and event space, and an indoor/outdoor food hall.
Albert Aldrich, Ashley’s father, proposed “a beautiful city culture”:
“. . . the establishment of an organization tasked with keeping the sidewalks and common areas free of trash, similar to the Times Square Alliance in Manhattan, where employees walk the street collecting trash and performing small clean-up tasks.
Integral to the success of a rejuvenated downtown is maintaining a pleasant atmosphere that not only attracts people with amenities but keeps people returning because of a good experience.”
Those wishing to suggest ideas can visit NRFuture.com or stop in the temporary RDRXR office at 2 Clinton Place.
The next meetings of note are:
May 11th, 2 Clitnon Place, between 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
May 28th, 2 Clinton Place, between 6:30 - 8:30 p.m.
Above Photo Credit: NRFuture.com