The New Rochelle Armory is still standing and the Save Our Armory Committee (SOA) is continuing to contact Albany and the Attorney General about the deed to the Armory. The City of New Rochelle was given the Armory with specific guidelines which stated it was to be used for community purposes. Several members of the SOA committee at their April 27 meeting suggested that Councilman Lou Trangucci be asked to place a discussion about the Armory on the City Council agenda. Jim Murphy noted that if this Armory was destroyed, the only building left for veterans in the city would be the American Legion Post 8 building.
John Verni, legal counsel for SOA, told the committee that Forest City Residential’s contract with the City of New Rochelle was extended to January 2010. Scoping of the project should be completed. Information has to be current and the developer has to put money in an escrow account. The environmental study must be complete. Phase I consists of looking at the records of the sites to see if there were any spills or contaminated areas. Then in phase II the soil and other areas are tested. Ron Tocci, co-chair of SOA, suggested use of stimulus money to remediate the present City Yard. The PCB’s and “hot spots” at the former Con Edison substation and the surrounding areas were also brought up. It was also stated that the city has never applied for an easement fom the state for the proposed Beechwood Avenue city yard site.
Frank Jones asked what happens if the site is too polluted? Does Forest City Residential walk away? Ron Tocci,, co-chair of SOA, spoke of his alternate plan using the name, La Rochelle Village, which relates back to the original founding of the city by French Huguenots from La Rochelle, France. He is assembling an alternate plan which he feels is would a more positive way to develop the area. He recently visited the river walk in San Antonio, Texas, which annually attracts two million people.
The next SOA meeting will be held on June 15 when the Tocci proposal will be discussed.
[reprinted from Westchester Herald,May 7, 2009)