Davids Island is the kind of site that brings out the urban planner in everyone — an 80-acre blank canvas just off the New Rochelle coast. Since the closure of Fort Slocum almost fifty years ago, proposals for Davids Island have generated fierce debates and then faltered in the face of environmental, economic, or political obstacles. Mindful of this tortured history, but still determined to explore the Island’s potential, New Rochelle has convened a Task Force composed of residents, experts, and stakeholders to help frame a homegrown vision that is both realistic and broadly-supported.

Public input is essential to achieving this goal. In this spirit, the community is invited to offer comments and ideas at an outreach meeting convened by the Task Force on Thursday, February 17th at 7:00pm in the City Council Chamber of New Rochelle City Hall.

Prior to the meeting, the Task Force is likely to release its preliminary thoughts about Davids Island, so that citizens will have an opportunity to react to specific concepts. Once this document is completed, probably next week, I will post it to my website.

I am personally hopeful that sustainable design can resolve some of the historic tensions between environmental and economic objectives on the Island, but am eager to hear from the community and the Task Force before reaching any conclusions.

If this subject interests you, then please join us on February 17th. You can also submit comments to Suzanne Reider of the New Rochelle’s Department of Development at sreider@newrochelleny.com.