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New Rochelle Mayor: State of Our City Is Strong

Noam Bramson gave his annual State of the City address at Davenport Club.

It was a speech that acknowledged the past, looked to the future and thanked residents for making the city strong.

Mayor Noam Bramson gave his State of the City address Thursday. He said he was confident that the people of New Rochelle can rise to the task of facing the future.

"My confidence comes from each of you and from thousands of others who share the same hope and determination," Bramson said. "It comes from knowing that there are no challenges as large as the talents with which we can face them."

The speech, sponsored by the New Rochelle Chamber of Commerce, was presented after a dinner at the and lasted about 40 minutes.

Bramson set the scene by saying "the worst of the recession is behind us, finally giving way to a season of fresh promise."

He outlined a series of concerns that the city faces, first of which is the city budget.

"Don't make the mistake of thinking this is an accounting exercise," Bramson said. "It is much more, because each number in a budget says something fundamental about our values."

He said he believes New Rochelle has managed the recession's impacts "as well as or better than any comparable community, and I am proud of all that our public workforce, from our managers to our employees in the field, has done to squeeze savings out of every department and accomplish more with less."

The was spotlighted by Bramson in their collective efforts to recommend priorities upon which the city can concentrate.

While he said it was too soon to talk specifics, "[w]ith the panel's help, we are determined to shape a government that is ready for the 21st century and that honors the values of the people of New Rochelle."

Planning and development, as well as sustainability, were highlighted at length in Bramson's speech.

The mayor mentioned the proposed , the new commercial development along Garden Street, the study of the areas surrounding the Transit Center and working closely with and as examples of positive movement in development goals.

Bramson singled out the on re-use options as something that cut through "decades of stalemated and fruitless argument to make clear what can and can't work."

"This spring, I will ask the council to take up the conclusions of the Davids Island Task Force, and set a course that—step by step, phase by phase—can make our vision real," he said.

"For more than half a century, New Rochelleans have dreamed of, fought over and ultimately faltered in service of this goal," Bramson said. "Let our generation be the one that finally achieves it."

He concluded by talking about the people of New Rochelle—how they live in a diverse community, how they celebrate artistic expression and how they step up to the plate when necessary.

The mayor asked members of the audience who participated in the Davids Island Task Force, the Iona College Planning Committee, the Citizens Panel on Sustainable Budgets and the Comprehensive Plan Committee to stand and be acknowledged.

"Saying in generous spirit: The common good is our responsibility," Bramson said. "And we will not rest while there is work still to be done."

Albert Tarantino, R-District 2, said the mayor's speech was a generic speech about what could happen in the city.

He said he prefers a different style or approach than some of Bramson's ideas.

"I believe in rebuilding the city brick by brick," Tarantino said. "We need to know what we want to be as a community."

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