City’s 325th Anniversary Gets a Bold New Logo

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Next year’s 325th anniversary of the founding of New Rochelle will offer many opportunities to look back on and celebrate our rich history and diverse culture. But the unifying image on anniversary publications — and on banners that will line our streets — will be a forward-looking, contemporary, bold logo designed by New Rochelle resident and artist Deborah Haley.

Deborah’s logo won a design competition sponsored by the New Rochelle Council on the Arts and adjudicated by several prominent local artists. She says she was inspired by the city’s diversity, commitment to the arts, economic growth, and Huguenot history.

For more information, bookmark newrochelleny.com/325 on the City’s website, which will be updated throughout the next year as plans for the anniversary celebration develop.

Council Acts On Energy Efficiency Goals

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New Rochelle’s Sustainability Plan, GreeNR, sets a goal of reducing municipal energy use and greenhouse gas emissions by at least 40% by 2020. We’re off to a very good start, with comprehensive energy efficiency upgrades already underway in our two largest municipal buildings.

This week, the City Council took another big step forward by approving the installation of high-efficiency LED light fixtures in the New Roc City and Transit Center garages. The new lights are expected to cut energy use by about 60%, from roughly 1.9 million kilowatt-hours to about 1.1 million kilowatt-hours, with an equivalent reduction in CO2 equivalent emissions. That’s a big environmental benefit.

Taxpayers also come out ahead. Energy costs will be cut by about $160,000 per year. Because the initial capital costs of about $1.5 million are funded by a loan from the New York State Power Authority, our net savings will initially be smaller — between about $5,000 and $25,000 per year, depending upon variable interest rates. Once the loan is paid off, between years 7 and 10, all the savings will flow to the City. Over the expected 20-year lifespan of the new lights, total savings for local taxpayers will be about $2 million.

Efficiency and savings must be ongoing priorities for our community, especially in a time of fiscal challenge, so we will continue seeking opportunities to be both green and cost-conscious.

New Rochelle Jazz Fest This Weekend

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If I have a frustration with our community, it is that great artistic and cultural events are often poorly attended. There are probably lots of explanations: insufficient publicity and communication, the long and thin geography of the city, false perceptions about certain venues and/or parts of town, and the insularity that can be the unfortunate flipside of our terrific diversity. Whatever the reason, I often drop by amazing events to find only a handful of folks in attendance. And then people complain that there is nothing to do! If we want to have a vibrant artistic and cultural scene, and if we want focal points of our city, like our downtown, to thrive, then we should take advantage of opportunities to gather together and enjoy what New Rochelle has to offer. Let me now descend from my soapbox, and extend an invitation.

New Rochelle’s Jazz Fest is this weekend at Library Green. There will be performances on both Saturday and Sunday, from noon until dusk. Some really top-notch talent will be here in our community.

You can relax on the green, grab something to eat at one of the nearby restaurants, let the kids run around, meet neighbors and friends, and help establish and sustain a great New Rochelle jazz tradition. The whole event has a relaxed vibe that lets you stroll in or out at your leisure, and you’ll never find an easier way to support our community. Please come and please spread the word.

Celebrate Bastille Day & Look Ahead to Next Year’s Birthday Bash

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Anticipating next year’s celebration of our city’s 325th birthday, the New Rochelle Council on the Arts has sponsored a nationwide “Call for a 325th Anniversary Logo” with an independent panel of judges selecting a winner and two runners-up from the submissions.

This Friday, July 13th at 10:00 am, the winning design will be officially unveiled at our annual Bastille Day ceremony on the steps of City Hall. This event, sponsored by New Rochelle’s Sister City Committee in tribute to our enduring connection with La Rochelle, France, will feature the traditional raising of the French flag and light refreshments. Members of the 325th Anniversary Steering Committee and the Volunteer Center will be on hand to talk about volunteer opportunities associated with next year’s festivities.

This is a public event and all are welcome. So if you are interested in getting involved in the 325th anniversary events, or just curious about the logo, please drop by.

Community Spotlight: Dan’s Carpets & Blinds

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My community spotlight series takes a look at some of the interesting businesses and establishments that give New Rochelle its unique character and about which many residents may be unaware.

When does a business become a community institution? It’s hard to say for sure, but half a century of commitment to New Rochelle surely qualifies. This year, Dan’s Carpet and Blinds, located at 15 Division Street, will celebrate its 50th birthday. Since 1962, through good times and bad, this family-owned and -operated business has provided services and products to thousands of homeowners. That kind of loyalty to New Rochelle, which is shared by only a handful of other downtown establishments, deserves to be recognized.

Interactive Town Hall For Comp Plan Update

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As previously reported, the City is in the process of updating our Comprehensive Plan, a land-use document that helps guide future decision-making with respect to development, preservation, mobility, and other essential community features.

Several public meetings have already been held to gather input. Now, to give more residents a chance to weigh in, New Rochelle is launching an interactive town hall feature that lets you receive information and submit comments, suggestions, and opinions on-line.

Please check it out at envisionr.com. (You’ll be asked to create an account, which is really easy.) And be sure to log on regularly, as the content and questions will change as the planning process moves forward.