Councilman Richard St. Paul (D. 4) addressed development initiatives in New Rochelle at his community district meeting on March 24. He claimed Target and Kohls slated for New Roc are waiting for financing. Other future plans for the City of New Rochelle are 50 story buildings including a hotel and residential units for Le Count Square. The North Avenue study being completed will assess 9, 7, 5 or 3 story buildings for that corridor. Cameras in downtown and upgrading of the Church-Division parking lot are also needed.
When items for the stimulus plan such as moving the city yard were brought up, Chuck Strome, New Rochelle City Manager, claimed it was a "wish list" that had been submitted to the state. He continued by saying 75% of the city budget was for staffing and "75% of that 75% is for police, fire and sanitation departments."
Brian Sussman, a Democratic district leader that attended the meeting, expressed concern about the people who pay taxes. He felt new housing units would be appropriate on the grounds of Wykagyl Country Club.
The need for more parking in the area was discussed. Traffic in the downtown was called a "snail's crawl" during rush hours by Marjorie Brandon. The wind problem created by high rise buildings in her view has been largely unacknowledged by the City Council despite this problem having been brought to their attention in the past before these buildings were constructed. She felt the City's present approach in downtown will not bring in business. James O'Toole objected saying that all the projects are going up and traffic is good in downtown New Rochelle. When a question about security was raised, Councilman St. Paul answered he wanted to place cameras in downtown. Chuck Strome said crime was low in New Rochelle. He cautioned there are many constituencies in New Rochelle and, for example, when the early morning parking was removed on a small portion of North Avenue near the railroad station to help commuters, the businesses had been warned. St. Paul countered, this is a temporary program and said if businesses are hurting because of it, they should let City Council know. Further he said the denseness of large buildings in the downtown and the need for a place for children to play were concerns.
When Charles McLaughlin commended what he saw happening in downtown, St. Paul stated that improvements are still needed. Pedestrian safety in the downtown area was brought up and several people said it was almost impossible to cross some intersections safely.
This was one of the three meetings Councilman St. Paul held this week for his district.