There will be no room for remorse . That about sums it up when speaking of the consequences of misguided demolition . The fact is , there has been no actual review of the possibilities of an adaptive re-use of the Armory , by this or any other administration . The only consideration given was the City asking the most recent developer , Forest City- Ratner , what they want to do with the property . Hardly in-depth thinking . Granted the city doesn’t have much experience in this area , but that only reinforces the need to stop and take a closer look at just what might happen and what we will loose forever . There is no going back .
In giving up history for mediocrity we succumb to the fast food , news in a soundbite , instant gratification , sterilized growth that takes for granted the road taken towards becoming a noteworthy city . How do we stand out from the crowd if we behave just like the crowd . To have a thriving , engaging , cutting edge facility , one that nobody else has , is one step in the right direction . In an interesting story about what cities across America have traded for their growth , we can see how wishing you could go back seems like a good idea . In the story 6 more train stations lost to the wrecking ball we can see how change doesn’t always mean better . The Columbus Union Station probably couldn’t be saved , however , does it’s replacement seem like the kind of edifice you would want along Main St ?
THEN: A showpiece train station
NOW: A bizarre pastel-shaded convention center
If nothing else , realize this fact , the current plan from Forest City will have 5 story (at minimum) buildings along Main St from Echo Ave down to Lefevre Lane . The buildings are planned to be as close to the street as in the convention center picture . The only “view” of Echo Bay will be through the extensions of Stephenson Blvd and Pratt Street . So don’t expect to see any of the bay’s vista’s as you drive along Main Street. Instead , you will travel along a canyon of buildings , in the shadows cast by the buildings until midday . Mornings along Main Street will be abysmal . The whole East End section of town will loose the morning sun that so many people bought their houses for . If your lucky enough to be one of the 3000 or so people living in the Echo Bay “projects” , the morning sun will be all yours .
We are lucky right now to have the luxury of time to rethink just what we’re getting into . Imagine the Armory , beautifully landscaped , set back and instead of taking away from us ,returning history , music ,art , a future for the youth of New Rochelle and a link to the past . So let’s take another look at this area with an open mind . There is a better way for Echo Bay and the Armory , and it has no limit. You see , bigger doesn’t mean better , it just means bigger and the bigger the Echo Bay project is , the more it will cost the taxpayer in tax give aways . It will return nothing for decades and by then , who knows what the area will be like . Legally , it can become a private , gated community since Forest City WILL OWN EVERY SQUARE FOOT of Echo Bay , even the so called “open space” . The Armory will begin giving back to the city the moment we embrace the idea . What more could you ask for ? Historical significance , economic development , environmental sustainability , cultural growth , all good reasons to realize the potential already in place .
The Armory , “Use It – Don’t Lose It “