An Interview with “Save Our Armory” Co-Chair Peter Parente

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peter_vfw007.jpgAn interview with Peter Parente, co-chair of the Save Our Armory Committee. Parente has a long personal history with the New Rochelle Naval Armory which, in part, explains his deep passion for his leadership role in the effort to preserve the Armory from the predations of real estate developers and short-sighted politicians.

1. Q.Why did you decide take on the job of Co-chair of the Save Our Armory (SOA) Committee?
    A. I am personally connected to it.  When I was 6, 7 and 8 years old I was a sea cadet there.  I also feel very strongly about my service in the military and serving the country.  Most veterans feel that way when speaking about serving in the military. I was in  this Armory for 8 years in the Marine Corps Reserve and left for Desert Storm from this Armory in l990.  The Armory means a lot to me personally.  The Armory could be used as a memorial for the 300 who have given the ultimate sacrifice of their life for our country.
2. Q. What are some of the major accomplishments of the Save Our Armory Committee?
    A. The committee has brought attention to how much the building means to the veterans and all the citizens of New Rochelle.  Alternate uses have been shown which can be incorporated into city functions.  The City has not come up with any ideas to utilize the building for the community.  We also brought it to the attention of citizens that according to the signed city contract the Armory was obtained for $1 with the promise that the city maintain it, which they haven’t done.  It appears it has been neglected intentionally.
3. Q. Has the City Council listened to the concerns of the residents when they decided to allow Forest City Residential to tear down the Armory?
    A. I don’t think they have listened to the concerns of the residents or put these concerns as a priority.  For some reason the city is lobbying for Forest City Residential when they should be advocating for the citizens to get the most from the developer.
4. Q. Why does the Save Our Armory Committee feel the building should be saved?
    A.  There are only a handful of Naval Armories in the country and our research so far has shown that there has never been an Armory torn down.  The Armory can always be used as a community center for senior citizens or a civic center.
5.  Q. There are people in the community that feel the Armory building is in such bad condition that it should be torn down.  What do you have to say to these people? 
    A. We have had an architectural engineer perform inspections and surveys on the infrastructure.  The building is extremely strong.  If  the maintenance and upkeep had not been neglected the building would be in the same shape our Marine Corps Unit left it.  We used to scrub the walls.
6. Q. If you are able to preserve the Armory, what would you consider the optimum development in the Echo Bay area?
    A. We have an idea of what we want the Armory to be used for.  We’d like to use the Armory as a mini-Westchester County Center.  We’d like to have a memorial, a military museum, or a New Rochelle historical museum.  With all the rich history of New Rochelle a Norman Rockwell Museum is a possibility.  The drill floor could be rented out to flea markets, computer expos, sporting or musical events.  There are hundreds of uses.  Ron Tocci and I are personally putting the final touches on an alternate plan for Echo Bay.
7. Q. When is the next Save Our Armory Committee meeting?
    A. The next meeting is on Monday April 27  at 7:30 p.m. at the American Legion Post 8, 112 North Avenue, New Rochelle.   Contact telephone number: 557-5556)

7 thoughts on “An Interview with “Save Our Armory” Co-Chair Peter Parente”

  1. Peter Parente is tireless in
    Peter Parente is tireless in his fight to not only save the armory from being illegally handed over to developers, but saving the armory for the residents of New Rochelle…
    A few additional facts are in order.
    The Armory which was owned by NY State Department of General Services was sold to the City of New Rochelle on July 24th 1997 for $1.00 with the following deed restrictions ” shall be improved and maintained for park, recreational street and highway purposes. In the event the City of New Rochelle does not improve, or maintain the building may be reverted back to NY State.
    Now Mayor Bramson’s idea of improvement is to give this publicly owned property to Forest City which by the way is not an allowed use per the deed. (As if Forest City wants the building or the project any longer..)
    Has the City who was charged with maintaining and improving the Armory done so? Not unless using the building for Fire Training and target practice while removing roof panels and doors which kept the building from the elements. It should be also noted that Westchester County maintains a Fire Academy and a Police Academy and firing range for these purposes with public tax money. So is it legal to give publicly owned land with restrictions to any developer? Nope….
    What can the City do with it? Either maintain it and improve it or convey it to a not for profit group willing to use it for the recreational purposes. It should be noted that Forest City is in it for the profit…. My bet is nothing gets done with the property, The city does nothing because it is more important to Bramson to win rather than for the Citizens to use and enjoy. So its a Bramson Standoff..

    1. Mayor Bramson is the best
      Mayor Bramson is the best Mayor our city has ever seen. Sometimes things don’t go everyone’s way, but he is clearly the greatest mayor this city has and will ever have. Thank you Cox for reassuring me he is a great mayor. Since you have been wrong about everything your entire life. Once again, you’re wrong about Noam Bramson!

      1. The proff is in the
        The proff is in the pudding.
        The City is much worse off since the Bramson years.
        Tax are up.
        We have the Library Tax.
        We have the remnants of the Garbage Tax.
        The streets are crumbling.
        Traffic is at an all time worse.

        Developers have taken every tax advantage and given nothing back.
        New Roc is a partial Disaster.
        Trump Cappelli a 39 Story monster mostly empty.
        LeCount is a mix use of Empty buidling/stores keeping the plywood industry happy.
        Expo soon to be boarded up.
        Ikea, Echo, boy this guy is a raging success.
        My hope was he would moved on to bigger government and leave us to repair the mess he has left, but that doesn’t seem to be on the horizon so I can hardly wait for another term.

      2. Actually Pal, it’s just the
        Actually Pal, it’s just the opposite, Taxes are being collected to support a great and flourishing city. The Library is amazing and is working out very well for some of our non english speaking illegals who live downtown. They’re using the library as a way to become part of our culture. The streets are in excellent shape in downtown New Rochelle. They’ve actually never been better. New Rock is absolutely amazing and gives everyone a place to go and enjoy themselves. The trump building is a national disaster not local, as Home depot is as well. Thanks for adding your proff!!! Great spelling btw Cox!!

      3. Mayor Bramson was in support
        Mayor Bramson was in support of the Ikea debacle when he was the Council member for district 5. It took almost a decade to recover from that scenario and we are not there yet.
        Bramson was behind the support for New Roc City as an entertainment environment that is until Easter Sunday 2006. He then supports a change of direction that has yet to occur, while plunging a dagger into the hearts and souls of Youth Hockey Players, HS Hockey players and residents who used that rink for productive purposes. Now it is dark…..
        Where is this Retail he gave Cappelli additional PILOT Tax incentives for?
        Bramson handed Cappelli parcel 1A without any competition, Bramson supported the increased size that Cappelli demanded, Bramson supported additional sizing to allow for mechanicals on the roof. The building is virtually empty, way out of scale and has only drained dollars from the City as the Fire Department needed equipment to cover a building of this size.. Cappelli may have walked away from a 2.4 million dollar bill from United Water for infrastructure for Trump Cappelli and I have not heard Bramson complain that the residents would have to pick up those costs. What about the bridge over
        Huguenot that was on site weeks before Council approved it, and the Art that was given to resolve the issue which was supposed to cost Cappelli 200K but looks like a few aplicated tiles bought in the now defunct Linnens and Things?

        Bramson allowed Cappelli to assemble contiguous properties associated with LeCount Place by threatening eminent domain. We have plywood boarding up almost a square block with no resurrection in sight.
        Bramson was at it again when he began the process on the potentially failed Echo Bay project by allowing Forest City to grab the Publicly, owned Armory while sticking the tax payers with a potential bill for moving the City Yard of 25 million dollars. You would think someone could have negotiated the City Yard being moved and built my requiring the developer Forest City pick up the tab for handing him 6-9 acres of City owned property. So I understand you think he is the greatest, and I understand you are upset with a Typo but please give us the details of this Great Mayor or presided over raising Taxes in the worst economy since 1929, the Mayor who brought us the Garbage Tax, and all the wonders of the Bramson years inclusive of his self imposed raise, vagueness as to his part time nature and his moonlighting for Nita Lowey.

      4. Bramson a BS artist.

        Bramson a BS artist.
        Mayor Bramson is the best BS artist ever born. He supported Ikea then went into hiding when his future yuppie power base in Larchmont & Mamaroneck crushed him. Bramson also proposed “privatization” which would have allowed an unfair competition for city services between our top notch city workers and private companies who don’t pay benefits and employ non-interested employees who don’t have a stake in the community. As a councilman Bramson was Idoni’s lackey and now as mayor he can’t shine Tim’s boots. While both are ultra liberals, Idoni knew how to wield the power and throw a bone when necessary while Bramson is a power drunk tyrant who like the bully in the schoolyard will take his bat & ball home if he doesn’t get his way so no one can play. It’s time for Bramson to grow up, move on and fade away to allow us to cleanup the mess he has made.

  2. We need to get behind this
    We need to get behind this gentleman and all like him. This City has gone too far by taking advantage of us, “the citizen”. There is barely even a reason to live here any more. It’s up to us take out City back from these political vultures.

    [Editor’s Note: This comment was submitted written in “all caps” and edited to be in normal type. We do not publish all caps headlines, blog posts or comments as writing in all caps in considering SHOUTING online and, therefore, rude.]

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