The City of New Rochelle has announced a design competition for the Armory.
After Good Profit abandoned their proposal for the Armory council members have been saying that a new request for proposals was coming; completely ignoring the fact that the only existing proposal from the original RFP is the Re-Imagine New Rochelle Armory proposal by the Save our Armory committee and Shop Architects.
This proposal has not even been seen by the majority of council since the mayor and the Democratic majority had essentially boycotted it. The only council members who thought it was important enough to attend were Councilmen Trangucci and Tarantino.
Mayor Bramson and his Democratic colleagues are now pretending that the standing RFP doesn’t exist. Ignoring the fact it has wide support in our community. This quote from Councilman Rice during the committee of the whole session April 9th 2013. may give a little insight as to why.
“I didn’t feel that group displayed enough professionalism to warrant a partnership with the city on a multi-million dollar renovation.”
This is a ludicrous statement in that Shop Architects ranks among the top professional architecture firms in the country. Their most recent development was the Barclay’s Center in Brooklyn, which was done in partnership with Forest City. The very same Forest City that is the exclusive developer for the Echo Bay development project adjacent to the Armory.
Councilman Tarantino countered Rice’s Statement with the fact that Good Profit did not even exist as an organization when it was granted the proposal and did not incorporate until the December before they abandoned the project and walked away. Further illustrating the absurdity of Councilman Rice’s Statement.
Therefore it is safe to assume Bramson and his cohorts are denying the veterans for personal reasons as the ongoing fiasco over the Gadsden flag clearly illustrated.
Even if they resubmit their proposal again in this competition it is also safe to assume that they wont be given a fair chance based on how they have been treated in the past.
Any competition must include clear parameters for maintaining the existing armory structure and keeping the historical value in context during the design process.
Councilman Trangucci briefly informed me this afternoon that the “jury” that will be judging the submissions will be comprised of some of the city staff, some citizens and at least one councilman which will likely be Al Tarantino since the Armory is in his district. Besides Councilman Tarantino who will be an independent and impartial judge? Will Mayor Bramson pack the jury with people who will vote how he wants and therefore unduly influence their decision?
We still need to find out about how these jurors will be selected and if there is an application process for citizens to be a juror. Since this is a very politically contentious issue hopefully there will be a way to make sure those jurors are citizens with fresh and objective perspectives.
The City Council led by Mayor Bramson has shown no regard for the Armory’s structural integrity and historical significance at all for several years by purposefully allowing the structure to fall into disrepair. He has tried in the past to have it torn down before being stopped by our veterans and other concerned citizens. The only exceptions have been Councilman Trangucci and Tarantino who have consistently supported our veterans and our community’s proposals.
Things are moving fast and we need to make sure that any permanent decisions are made by the citizens of New Rochelle and not the people who have neglected their duties in maintaining the Armory. PLEASE SPREAD THE WORD!