A Few Things Not Discussed By Mayor Bramsom During the Debate

Written By: Deprecated User

After listening to the Bramsom/St Paul debate, I thought it would be worthwhile to introduce some of the facts and possibilities the candidates didn’t touch on. Instead, Mayor Bramson, rather than dealing with truths and the issues, seemed more interested in settling a personal score with Richard St Paul. Hence, I thought I would touch on the issues. Here goes:

Tim Idoni claimed that corporate development was difficult for NR because it lacks access from major highways and because corporations want “park-like settings.” First, NR has had office development in the downtown for years. The Raddison, which started out as the Ramada Inn, was nothing but a vacant lot. In fact, there multiple vacant lots that were brought and built on by developers in that same area–including the area where Bel-Aqua now sits. Likewise, White Plains put up many office buildings right in its downtown which generated the need for housing and retail. NR has only once attempted to secure corporate development for the City when it attempted to attract Unicef to the lot where the Trump Tower now sits.

What sites were ripe for development? The area around Industrial Place where Home Depot now sits was easily accessible from both the Hutch and I-95. Rather than using this property to build mid or highrise offices with retail components, NR sought to construct a handful of one story retail outlets that have a minimal effect on the local economy. These outlets, for the most part, attract transients who have no reason or desire to travel north on Main Street. Nor do they employ people who have the incomes to relocate to NR. If instead, corporate office buildings were constructed on this site, it would have employed people of varying incomes who might have very well chosen to shop and live in NR. Once again however, the rush to bring something to NR led to a poor choice which we must endore for years to come.

Mayor Bramson claims the old Mall was vacant and crumbling and needed to be demolished. This is false. The Mall was only about 25 years old when it was torn down. In the 30 years I worked in the construction business, I have yet to see such a young, commercial building destroyed. If the Mayor looked around, he would see that other aging malls were not torn down, but revitalized. In Spring Valley, NY, that mall was as old as the one in NR, but instead of destroying it, developers enlarged it and remodeled it to keep pace with current times. In Yonkers, the Cross County shopping center is currently on the tail end of its revitalization, and Portchester, just a few years ago, revitalized the Kohls Plaza.

What did NR do? It took a mall that had a more pleasing facade on Main Street and was capable of housing much needed retail and replaced with a giant game room. This facility hardly attracts people with disposable income to NR who might shop at other quality, retail establishments. We now have a huge windowless wall facing Main Street which turns it into a dark, unattractive corridor. Moreover, if residents remember, we were led to believe that New Roc was going to be comprised of retail stores. Instead, it was changed, after contruction started and council aopproved it, into an entertainment center.

Noam Bramson claims we need people with disposable income in the downtown to attract retail. Meanwhile, on Sanford Boulevard, Mount Vernon managed to attract Target, Best Buy, DSW and Bed, Bath and Beyond. These are hardly the types of stores that cater solely to the rich and famous. Similarily, Portchester brought in Kohls and a DSW shopping center to its downtown. Again, an area that is hardly surrounded by people with disposable income, or for that matter, accessable by a multitude of major arteries like White Plains.

Mayor Bramson fails to aggressively pursue the type of development that would put NR back on its feet and make it “sustainable.” We need to set priorities. I cannot remember ANY RFPs being extended to developers who sought to bring in corporate development to NR. This type of development would create better paying jobs for current NR residents, it would attract others to move to the City, and it would spur the need for other supportive retail establishments. The property where Avalon sits could have easily accomodated corporate development but no effort was made to pursue it. Instead, valuable land space close to the train station was wasted on buildings that fail to produce any significant economic benefit to the City.

Mayor Bramson fails to address traffic and parking problems in the downtown. He claims the lack of accessibilty to NR discourages development. Then, from the getgo, he and former Mayor Idoni should have first discussed the City’s plans with traffic engineers and came up with a better plan for facilitating traffic into the downtown and off I-95. What could have been studied? Contructing a series of wider, multi-laned, one way streets from Garden Street to Burling Lane and on parts of North Avenue and Memorial Highway. No effort was made to address traffic flow or congestion.

Once the proper infrastructure was in place, incentives could have been given to responsible, corporate developers. Then, retail, then housing. For 16 years, we have been putting the cart before the horse. It is time to get our ducks in a row and turn NR into an attractive, economically secure City. Think about this: a City with 3 college campuses does not have a single bookstore or major clothing outlet like the GAP. In the words of Dr. Henry Lee, “something is wrong.”

Personally, I don’t care who is elected provided the council and the Mayor focus on the Cities problems rather than launching personal attacks and using the office of Mayor as a venue for higher office. The City comes first–personal goals should enter the picture.

3 thoughts on “A Few Things Not Discussed By Mayor Bramsom During the Debate”

  1. Personal attacks and no real debate- The NR soap opera continues
    As the piece points out so well, there was no real debate nor any concrete discussion on how to remedy NR and its countless ills. Instead, once again, the malignant narcissist a.k.a. the current mayor, dispensed his poison while the press and his cronies ‘enabled’ him once more. What ever one’s views on the ‘debate’ are, What we all agree with is this–NR is a disaster ! While Portchester, White Plains, and Yonkers, despite their problems, have been able to face them and attempt to overcome them, our current mayor resorts to name calling, mud slinging, and perpetuating rumors in an attempt to distract the public from all the failings of his administration and his allies. In short, the NR soap opera, “As the stomach turns” continues with not end in sight.

  2. Who gets elected matters
    While I agree with this fine analysis of the recent history of downtown development, I do not agree that it does not matter who gets elected. Voters should carefully analyze what candidates are saying and also look at the record of incumbents. Surely if there were not three Republicans on the present Council we would have seen so many changes made in prposed legislagtion, e.g. a GreeNR report which could have had disastrous financial implications for the City. Without opposition a North Avenue plan for greater density and height could have passed. We could easily have seen bonding for a new city yard that would not work for the citizens.

    But I am especially impressed with your analysis of developments, e.g. Avalon or New Roc, that could have easily been used for offices or retail. At present the Republican candidates for Councii that I have heard speak have expressed opposition to any more housing in the city. I have not heard any Democrats say that. So I will be waiting for the debates to see if this is clarified.

    1. Thank you Tara for the
      Thank you Tara for the compliments. I do agree with you about who gets elected but perharps didn’t phrase it right. I am not one who votes strictly across party lines. I am more interested in a candidate’s ideas and integrity than I am in which party one belongs to..

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