A $9.8 Million Grant…with Conditions

Written By: Deprecated User

The City of New Rochelle has no contract with Monroe College to use the City Park ball fields, only an agreement that Monroe College will pay $500,000 for lighting the field when it is renovated.  The City has passed the resolution for the County Legacy Grant of $9.8 million with no analysis of the taxes, costs and revenue it will generate.  The City is now going to develop a balance sheet to determine the profits and costs of the project.  When Councilman Richard St. Paul asked about the projected revenue, he was told the fees may quadruple because nonresident teams will use the hotels and restaurants.

As part of the agreement the City must take over the ownership and operation of all county roads (5.67 miles) in the City.  The agreement claims the City must “obtain all permits…and act as a lead agency” for the SEQR documentation.  The athletic complex should be open “to all county residents.”  If the housing units are not constructed the city will repay the county…based on the units not approved.”

This housing requirement is the strangest part of the agreement.   The City must provide “180 units of affordable housing” over the next five years.  The Hartley House project, when HUD financing was going to be used, was scrapped some time ago.  Now the Municipal Housing Authority is proposing the floating of bonds to obtain funds to build these units. The environmental review for this project was completed in 2005.  Chuck Strome, City Manager, claims the City can determine if the existing approvals still hold or if an additional environmental review is needed.  Smaller projects like Shiloh also will count toward this housing total.

No environmental review has been started for the expansion of the City Park  fields.  Among the environmental problems that should be considered is how the additional parking and traffic will impact the area.  Councilman Al Tarantino citing problems encountered at the Trinity School fields asked at the July 1 special meeting about how far the lights in the neighborhood could be seen.  He was told all lights would be out by l0 p.m. Larchmont is very close to this site and has not been consulted, especially since traffic will undoubtedly increase when there is greater use of the fields.  Strome claims the impact on this community will be analyzed during the SEQR process. 

     Leon Scott summed up the feelings of some people who were against the Hartley House redevelopment, “They are trying to kick the Blacks out illegally.”

[From the November 2, 2009 issue of the Westchester Herald]

2 thoughts on “A $9.8 Million Grant…with Conditions”

  1. Sounds like a really bad
    Sounds like a really bad idea that comes with a lot of strings. If we don’t have the money, we should start allocating a portion of it each year until we have enough to redo the fields, which if you’ve been down there lately aren’t that bad so I can’t figure out why we’re going down this road. The city of New Rochelle wastes too much money finding grant money that requires us to undertake some totally unrelated project. We need to spend our own money so we can control the project and not have to open up our precious field space to every entitiy in Westchester County, how will that help solve our shortage of playing fields?

    We don’t need more housing projects in New Rochelle, especially ones that we can’t afford and will need to borrow millions of dollars to construct. The existing pj’s by city park already downgrade the entire area.

  2. The County has not Approved this Grant
    It should be noted that the Legacy Grant has not been discussed at the County level and is not on the legislators’ agenda.

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