Energy Savings Program Benefits Businesses and Environment

Last year, the New Rochelle Business Improvement District (BID) launched a Small Business Support Program aimed at helping local businesses reach new customers and lower their expenses. As part of that initiative, the BID sponsored free energy audits to identify equipment improvements that can lower operating costs, and worked with Con Edison and the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority to provide incentives for making energy improvements.

That program has already been hugely successful, helping to make changes that save business owners over $100,000 annually on their energy costs. And the equipment improvements made as part of this Energy Savings Program are good for more than the bottom line, they are also good for the environment: that reduced energy consumption is the equivalent of pulling 85 cars permanently off the road.

You can read more about the success of this program on the BID’s website.

Local Journal Praises BID’s Success at Renewing Downtown

A pair of recent articles in the Westchester County Business Journal highlight the positive impact that New Rochelle’s Business Improvement District (BID) is having on our downtown.

Ralph DiBart announcing receipt of a Main Street Grant for Downtown BID Facade Improvement Program last month.

The first, a profile of Ralph DiBart, executive director of the BID, promotes the multiple lines of support the BID offers business and property owners in New Rochelle: grants to convert unused space into artists’ studios, matching grants for facade improvements, and assistance for entrepreneurs like Rhonda Hamilton, who is opening a store for her handcrafted art on Division Street this spring. DiBart notes that even in a recession, “we have property owners investing on Main Street. This is a beehive of investment by small and mid-sized businesses. This is how economic development is done.”

The second is an editorial that explicitly praises the BID’s success at renewing New Rochelle’s downtown without the influx of money that can come from new development. “New Rochelle is one shining example of a city on the move,” say the editors of the journal, who note approvingly that the BID’s recent award of a $500,000 New York State Main Street Grant for its Facade Improvement Program is a sign that DiBart and the BID are “doing it right.”

As I have often said, New Rochelle’s downtown has a long way to go before it achieves its potential, and we’ve got many problems to solve, but the successes profiled by the Business Journal give us good reason for optimism.

Downtown BID Receives $500,000 for Facade Improvements

Small businesses form the backbone of our local economy and help define the character of downtown New Rochelle. Supporting existing shops and restaurants and encouraging new business owners to invest here are essential to a well-rounded development strategy. For over a decade, New Rochelle’s Business Improvement District has been a forceful partner for these goals.

On Wednesday, the BID and the City announced a $500,000 New York State Main Street Grant for the BID’s successful Facade Improvement Program which has already helped to renovate more than 75 storefronts over the years. In many cases, beautiful and distinctive historic facades have been restored, greatly enhancing the atmosphere for shoppers and attracting the attention of investors.

This new grant will enable the BID to continue funding the Facade Improvement Program for properties representing an additional 50 storefronts and will also leverage a significantly larger private contribution from property owners, with a major beneficial impact on our central business district as a whole.

It’s great news at just the right time, so congratulations to the BID on submitting a successful application to a highly competitive program. We can all look forward to positive changes as a result.

Walk of Fame Highlights New Rochelle’s Rich History

Norman Rockwell depicted families, small towns, and American icons in paintings and illustrations that have become world-famous emblems of mid-century American life. He started his own family and lived for almost two decades right here in New Rochelle.

Joseph Campbell wrote groundbreaking books on world mythology, finding the common threads in stories shared by many cultures across thousands of years. He first encountered the folklore that would inspire his life’s work at the New Rochelle Public Library next door to his childhood home.

Carrie Chapman Catt succeeded Susan B. Anthony as the president of the National American Woman Suffrage Association, where she successfully mobilized men and women across the country to pass the 19th Amendment to the Constitution, granting women the right to vote. She founded the League of Women Voters, ran for president in 1920, and spent the last twenty years of her outspoken life in New Rochelle.

These are but three of the remarkable men and women recently inducted into the inaugural class of New Rochelle’s Walk of Fame, an instructive and thought-provoking new feature of Library Green in downtown New Rochelle. With large biographical signs for each of 25 inductees, the Walk of Fame showcases nationally recognized artists, activists, athletes, entrepreneurs, and more who have distinct ties to New Rochelle.

The next time you’re at the library or dining downtown, I encourage you to take the time to read the signs designed and funded by historian Roderick Kennedy, Jr. (a former New Rochelle resident himself). You’ll be reminded of — or learn anew — the rich cultural history of our hometown. It’s a tradition to be proud of, and I commend the City’s Parks Department and the New Rochelle Downtown BID, as well as City Historian Barbara Davis, for supporting Rod Kennedy’s excellent work.

Downtown BID Seeks Participants in Small Business Support Program

As noted previously in this space, the New Rochelle Business Improvement District, in conjunction with Monroe College and other local partners, now offers a variety of extremely useful services for owners of small businesses in downtown New Rochelle. If you are interested in taking advantage of any of these programs, download this information sheet, fill out the form, and return it to the BID.

For more information, contact Ralph DiBart at or 914-960-1460.