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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.

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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