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Case Closed: Time To Relocate New Rochelle’s Public Works Yard

Beechwood Site Offers Significant Savings To Taxpayers

Beechwood Site Offers Significant Savings To Taxpayers

The status and potential relocation of New Rochelle’s Public Works Yard on East Main Street has stirred a long-running and sometimes heated debate. With the release of a new, detailed and conclusive engineering study, that debate should now be over.

The study, delivered to the City Council this week and illustrated in this presentation, leaves little doubt that the Public Works Yard should be relocated to a site near Beechwood Avenue (adjacent to I-95), and that doing so would (a) save millions of dollars for taxpayers and (b) free up the Echo Bay waterfront for higher and better uses and benefits.

In a press release on this subject, City Manager Chuck Strome put it well: “New Rochelle’s Public Works Yard must be modernized to meet current and future service demands and avert the ongoing, escalating cost of emergency repairs. Further delay could expose taxpayers to significant risks, while raising the cost of inevitable and unavoidable infrastructure expenses.”

Here are the key facts and conclusions:

  • Constructing a new Public Works Yard on Beechwood Avenue would save taxpayers more than $3 million, compared to the cost of modernizing the Public Works Yard at its present East Main Street location. The estimated price tag for the Beechwood site is approximately $13 million, while the estimated price tag for the East Main Street site is approximately $16 million, and that excludes the additional East Main expense of developing and operating a temporary facility during the construction period.
  • The Beechwood site meets all current and projected operational standards and spatial requirements for the Department of Public Works and has already been rigorously reviewed under the terms of the State Environmental Quality Review Act (SEQRA.)
  • Once the Public Works Yard is moved, the East Main Street site will have great potential for alternative public and private purposes, including public access to the Long Island Sound shore. While the modernization of the City’s Public Works Yard must occur regardless of any waterfront development plans, relocation to the Beechwood site has the added benefit of freeing up East Main Street for a higher value re-use.

This is a big expense for New Rochelle, and it comes at a time when our finances are already very strained, but large municipal projects of this kind are paid for through the issuance of bonds, spreading the cost over many years—probably 20 years, in this case. Acting now lets us benefit from historically low interest rates. Most importantly, the alternatives are far more costly in terms of both monetary outlays and foregone economic growth.

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Martin Sanchez January 15, 2012 at 10:23 PM
A congested area would soon become even more congested and hazardous. Visualize if you will a huge salt dome, a fueling facility, a recyclables storage facility and a facility for city-owned and employee vehicles. Oh, yes, and plenty of sanitation and public works trucks. As these trucks rumble through our dilapidated streets, our children walk to Jefferson Elementary School or Isaac Young Middle School.There is a 62-acre parcel of land in the northern part of the city that would be more suitable. In the governmental rhetoric that proclaims our rich diversity of community, diversify the allocation of our public works to other parts of the city. Build a community park at 85 Beechwood Avenue.
Aunt Sandy January 16, 2012 at 07:14 PM
Just curious, what other sites were considered?
Martin Sanchez January 17, 2012 at 11:10 AM
According to the Mayor, no other site was considered.
Reality January 17, 2012 at 01:42 PM
Mr Sanchez why are you so disingenuous? You allude to a 62 acre parcel in the North End as more suitable which you know is WARD Acres and which you also know by deed restriction can not even be consider so it is therefore not only LESS suitable but not suitable at all. You also say that the Mayor said no other site was considered when you know very well when that the City initiated this process many other sites were looked at and considered, but the City Administration determined that the Beechwood site was the best choice. While I don't know what your expertise is you have every right to disagree with the professionals in the Administration that made this decision but you don't have the right to make up facts that are not true
Martin Sanchez January 17, 2012 at 03:37 PM
Hiding behind a non-de-guerre - Reality -is defined in a dictionary as lacking in candor; also : giving a false appearance. Who are you and what gives you the credentials to say what you say? Only cowards exits behind masks and false names. Martin
Billy January 17, 2012 at 03:41 PM
What do specialize in, spending money that you don't have?
Billy January 17, 2012 at 03:52 PM
So let's see if I have this right, New Rochelle is totally broke and just passed a 15% tax increase, but somehow we have the money to move city yard. All this mayor can do is SPEND, SPEND AND SPEND some more. What are we cutting to pay for this $14 million dollar loan? Which over 20 years at a 2% interest rate (if the city can even get that rate) will cost $852,000 per year in principal & interest payments. Where's that money coming from? Another garbage tax increase? So out of touch are the mayor & city council that they're even forming a "citizens committee" to justify all there taxes, spending and bonding. I think this falls in the category of "would be nice to have" not "essential to have" and as such if New Rochelle hasn't saved enough money to pay for this project from reserves then the project shouldn't move forward as the city simply cannot afford to absorb the cost.
Reality January 17, 2012 at 04:02 PM
Mr. Sanchez I appreciate it is hard for you to accept the truth and admit that you are wrong but if you don't know that Ward Acres has a deed restriction which would prohibit the City Yard from being relocated there, from your years as a member of the School Board, you should. However, all I am asking you is to present us with a viable alternative instead of wasting everyone's time with suggestions that you know can not be done
Martin Sanchez January 17, 2012 at 04:10 PM
Reality or realtor. You should know that the New Rochelle Armory also has a deed restriction and look what the Mayor is trying to. Corruption can make some people do miraculous things with deeds.
Billy January 17, 2012 at 05:13 PM
Reality here are 2 or 3 questions for you: 1 Does the city yard even need to be moved? I've seen noting stating that NR has to move it. 2. Can we afford to move it? The price tag is $13 million, of which the city has nothing to put towards that amount so it'll have to borrow that amount plus the costs of the transaction so maybe we need to borrow $14 million. If the city could get a 2.0% interest rate (and I'll bet lunch w/anyone that the rate will be higher) for the 20 year term the mayor wants, the cost is $850,000 per year just to pay the principal and interest. Where's that money coming from? How is this good for New Rochelle? If you can't reply with a) something close to the truth or b) something that makes me laugh, please don't bother.
Reality January 17, 2012 at 08:34 PM
Mr. Sanchez, there you go again with your disingenuous ways. What does the Armory have to do with moving or keeping the City Yard where it is? Let's try to stay on topic. Billy, according to the article NR taxpayers, which I am one would save over 3 million dollars if the City Yard was move instead of being renovated at its present location. So the real question is can we afford not to move it Not moving it would cost the tax payer a fortune in added taxes. Maybe that makes you laugh but I don't find it funny
Billy January 17, 2012 at 09:06 PM
You brought up deed restrictions not Mr. Sanchez and just in case you didn't know, the Armory is right next to the current city yard and the mayor wants to give (for nothing) both properties to Forest City to develop so they are linked. But the article didn't address leaving city yard where it is and leaving it as it is. That'll save us $13 million as there's nothing wrong with the current city yard. Why would we want to renovate city yard? To park the garbage trucks in neater rows? So to sum it up, I advocate doing nothing and saving tons of money. NR only loses when it spends money that it doesn't have (like borrowing the entire amount of this project) on things that it doesn't need (a brand new or even renovated city yard).
Reality January 18, 2012 at 12:08 AM
I brought up the truth about Ward Acres and Mr. Sanchez knows that. It is my understanding that the City Yard & the Amory are two dinstinct properties and two different issues. As to why would we want to renovate the City Yard I suggest you ask the Admistration and the City Council (both Republican & Democratic members) who all agree that the City Yard must be renovated and updated if it is not moved. To imply that the goal of the City is enable garbage trucks to park in neater rows is disingenuous. Billy, we have come to expect better of you. The only way New Rochelle loses is if it takes no action to address the challenges and problems facing the City Yard.
Martin Sanchez January 18, 2012 at 01:32 AM
The challenges and problems that you note pale in comparison to the tax burden that we will place on our children. Fixing and repairing the DPW yard should suffice for now. Do you really believe that the Ratner et al developers care about New Rochelleans? Do you really believe that creating more upscale housing is the current solution? Have you notice how sadly vacant the majority of the Trump building is? And the new Avalon is not entirely occupied? The priorities for New Rochelle require innovation and better entrepreneurship - something our current leaders in City Hall lack.
Reality January 18, 2012 at 02:46 AM
Mr. Sanchez with all due respect you are comparing apples and oranges and not staying on message. I don't believe that Forest Ratner cares about New Rochellians, but this article isn't about developers, upscale housing, Donald Trump or if the NY Giants are going to win this weekend, so why bring them up. The only question that is up for discussion from this article is should the City Yard be moved or renovated and based on the experts and the study noted it would save the taxpayers millions of dollars if it is moved. Lets focus on that and if you evidence to dispute the study please share it with us.
Billy January 18, 2012 at 06:08 PM
Reality, I think you’re missing the point that NR can & will survive if it does nothing & spends nothing on the current site. There's nothing in the report that says that the current city yard needs $16 million worth of renovations. Why not leave it as it is and save $13 million? I'm also not so sure how successful a residential development situated between a cement plant & sewage plant is going to be, regardless if its on the water or not. Have you ever been at Five Islands Park at low tide & down-wind from the sewage plant? It can stink pretty bad.

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