Garden Tour this Sunday in New Rochelle

GardenIf you enjoy landscaping – or if you just appreciate natural beauty – don’t miss an opportunity to view one of the most remarkable private gardens in the region.

Located at 37 Rolling Way in New Rochelle, the garden fills a ravine that once formed a portion of the old Boston-Westchester rail line.  Owners Louise Edeiken and Eliot Goldfinger have transformed the unusual topography of the site into something really special.

The tour is this Sunday, June 29th, from 10am to 4pm, and costs $5.  Here’s more information from the Garden Conservancy, which is sponsoring the tour.

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Journal News Looks at New Rochelle’s Transit Potential

New Rochelle will have direct access to the east and west sides.

New Rochelle will have direct access to the east and west sides.

There’s a good article in today’s Journal News, highlighting New Rochelle’s strength as a transit hub and potential magnet for economic growth.  When the planned link between Metro-North and Penn Station is completed in a few years, New Rochelle will be the community closest to Manhattan with direct service to both the east and west sides.  (Take a look at the map to the left – New Rochelle is just above the point where the Grand Central and Penn Station lines diverge.)

This unique distinction is a key point within the City’s request for qualifications for transit-oriented development, issued last month.  Responses are due at the end of July.  Check out the article in the Journal News.

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Development & Schools in New Rochelle – Taking a Broader, Better Look

New Rochelle High School

New Rochelle High School

New Rochelle’s City government and School District are teaming up to take a better and more comprehensive look at the interplay between development goals and educational services and facilities.

This is not a new issue.  Residential development is very important to New Rochelle’s future, but every time new housing is proposed, many residents express concerns about the accuracy of school enrollment projections, the cost of educating new students, upward pressure on class size, and the physical capacity of school buildings.  While the impacts of development are sometimes (in fact, often) exaggerated, these concerns are entirely legitimate.  As both a parent with public school kids and as a taxpayer, I want to be sure we get it right.

When it comes to evaluating specific projects, the City has already made big improvements; enrollment estimates are now more accurate, and tax incentives are now structured to cover projected school expenses.

So what is new?  This will be the first time that we have evaluated the challenge holistically.  We are retaining experts to look at baseline population and demographic trends, layer on the City’s development and growth objectives, and then compare these projections to the capacity of individual schools.  We’ll have a better understanding of the tipping points that could require investment in school construction or expansion, and we’ll be able to evaluate individual projects in the context of a broader plan.  Finally, this will make it easier to distribute costs in a way that protects taxpayers but – hopefully – does not impede beneficial development.

You can read more in the request for professional services that was issued this week.

 

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New Waterfront Proposals for New Rochelle’s Echo Bay

Echo Bay WaterfrontEarlier this week, four development and architecture teams presented to the City Council new proposals for the Echo Bay waterfront.  Here’s a webcast of the presentations.  (Click on the link for the June 10th meeting – this is the first item on the agenda.)  And here are links to the presentation materials.

It is now the Council’s and staff’s responsibility to evaluate each team’s vision, organizational capacity, and financial modeling to determine which offers the best prospect of a successful partnership to revitalize our waterfront.  From there, we can proceed to negotiate business terms, evaluate environmental impacts, obtain regulatory approvals, and address all the other challenges associated with major development, including a plan to relocate the aging and antiquated Public Works Yard presently on the site.

There were strong differences of opinion about the last plan for Echo Bay from Forest City Residential.  (It’s no secret that I supported it, for the reasons offered in my statement at the time of the vote.)  But all of us can probably agree that our shoreline is too precious to waste on salt piles and garbage trucks, and I am looking forward to pursuing viable new options.

Public input will, of course, be a big part of this process, and I certainly welcome your thoughts as we move ahead.

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