One of New Rochelle’s soft spots is its tendency, born of healthy debate by and for an involved citizenship, to become deadlocked over major infrastructure and development initiatives. The effect, while not intended, would make William Shakespeare’s Hamlet proud. We have more no decisions than a solid starter for the New York Mets.
The mother of all gridlocked projects, or un-projects, is David’s Island. A succession of city governments of both parties has failed to come up with an acceptable use for this precious parcel of real estate for more than 50 years.
Just think, 11 presidents have served in the White House, one of them assassinated, another one black; men have circled the earth and walked on the moon; we have fought four major wars; the Supreme Court struck down segregation, upheld Roe vs. Wade and concluded that corporations are people. We have seen the introduction of perfect color TV, heart transplants, YouTube, Facebook and gay marriage. Jets took over the skies from piston propeller aircraft, and you can microwave baked macaroni in about four minutes.
I am sure you see where I am going with this.
Say this for New Rochelleans, we go nowhere, proactively, while hope springs eternal. Mayor Noam Bramson has set up a task force to look at alternatives for the uninhabited island. I am still betting that all those who were alive at the beginning of this play will be in the Avalon in the sky when something gets done.
Hope, yes, of course. The City Council recently gave Forest City another extension to come up with a plan for the waterfront. The economy, politics and other factors have seen the developer put forward successively smaller proposals with each new presentation. But, like Jason coming out of the lake in Friday the 13th, they keep coming back. Next, I suspect they will submit a plan for a development roughly the size of the Children’s Library on North Avenue. Most officials I talk to expect the next iteration to be dead on arrival.
Molasses moves quicker than an open democracy.
This brings us home to the City Yard. There will be one more study to assess the economic viability of doing it now. If it works out, the council has the votes to make the move and bond the project. Those folks near Beechwood Avenue will insist that it is bad for the environment, bad for traffic and an affront to their community, which is their right—an entitlement they have exercised for years. The city will respond that the first two have been refuted. The third they will have no purpose to comment upon.
So, I offer you this: Those of you who want to make a last ditch effort to publicly make a case against the move make your comments in the fields below. They will be here for the public to read, and I will submit them to City Hall.
It is your right. More to the point, here in New Rochelle, it is a tradition. We have all the time in the world.