Six Downtown Revitalization Projects to Strengthen Community Development, Improve Infrastructure and Revitalize the Economy
Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced six transformational projects for New Rochelle as part of the $10 million Downtown Revitalization Initiative award. The strategic investments in downtown New Rochelle will further enhance and highlight the community's strengths, including regional accessibility, vibrant arts and culture, and the city's Downtown Overlay Zone, which has catalyzed five new private developments in the DRI Area since 2015. The investments are part of the Governor's ongoing efforts to revitalize the economy and create more opportunities for the Mid-Hudson Valley region.
"With the help of the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, New Rochelle will achieve greater neighborhood development, improved community spaces, and new opportunities for education and workforce advancement," Governor Cuomo said. "These targeted investments will further enhance the city's dynamic culture and its intertwined professional and residential environments."
"New Rochelle has a vibrant arts and culture scene, and the city is working to transform its southern neighborhoods to increase walkability and accessibility of its downtown district," said Lieutenant Governor Kathy Hochul, who made today's announcement. "Investment in these projects will improve connectivity, linking downtown with the Lincoln Avenue Corridor, provide residents with new recreational opportunities, and enhance quality of life. We are focused on revitalizing the Mid-Hudson region by strategically supporting economic development that continues to attract businesses and strengthen the economy for generations to come."
New Rochelle was named a DRI Round 3 winner in September 2018. New Rochelle will connect its evolving, prosperous city center with the mile-long Lincoln Avenue Corridor that contains mixed-income residential housing, a newly renovated hospital, green space, a Metro-North Train Station, and part of the city's Arts and Cultural District. The Downtown New Rochelle Strategic Investment Plan will build upon significant public-private investment over the past few years to spur commercial, residential, and mixed-use development in the city. DRI investments will leverage city resources and private investments to forge connections between residential neighborhoods in the northern portion of the corridor with commercial, institutional, and cultural resources to the south. The city envisions infrastructure improvements that will improve pedestrian and traffic circulation and extend the downtown's walkable, sustainable, transit-oriented design into this corridor to create a bustling environment in which to live and work.
The specific projects to be funded through the DRI include:
Install Complete Streets Amenities and Traffic Calming Measures along the Lincoln Avenue Corridor: Improve the Lincoln Avenue corridor's accessibility, appearance, and safety for those traveling by foot, bicycle, or vehicle through complementary circulation improvements between Webster Avenue and North Avenue. Improvements may include new or improved crosswalks, pedestrian ramps, curb extensions, traffic calming measures, signage, a bike path, designated bike crossings, the elimination of parking at key intersections, revised road geometry, reconsideration of speed limits, and new and relocated bus stops.
Revise Zoning to Encourage Neighborhood-Scale Development: Establish a new zoning overlay district in the Lincoln Avenue Corridor area to encourage a greater mix of residential and commercial uses and pedestrian-friendly urban design. This effort will include related planning studies, required environmental review, and a robust public engagement process.
The Linc: Transform Memorial Highway into Public Open Space: Remove and re-purpose the eastbound portion of NYS Route 5 as public open space, providing residents with recreation opportunities and laying the groundwork for the development of the proposed recreation center. DRI funding will be used for temporary barriers, signage, striping, and the removal of asphalt and paving.
Create a Black Box Theater and Art Education Center: Establish a new community performance and arts education venue on the second floor of a redeveloped former historic film house at 587 Main Street to provide cultural programming to residents, attract visitors to the downtown, and serve as a cultural anchor on New Rochelle's Main Street. The project will include interior fit-outs to accommodate amenities such as a theater, exhibition space, and a coffee shop.
Upgrade Lincoln Park with Public Comfort Station: Construct a public comfort station adjacent to the Lincoln Park pool house to serve users of the recently installed play equipment and basketball courts, and to support the implementation of the Lincoln Park Master Plan.
Install Amenities in a Park created to serve a New Affordable Housing Development: Install amenities in a park under development on the corner of Winthrop Avenue and Brook Street to provide residents of the new, adjacent 288-unit affordable housing development and the broader community with a safe, attractive, and accessible space for gathering and recreation. Examples of amenities include a playground, basketball court, game table area, grass lawns, shade trees, benches, and lighting.
New Rochelle developed a Strategic Investment Plan to revitalize its downtown with $300,000 in planning funds from the $10 million DRI grant. A Local Planning Committee made up of municipal representatives, community leaders, and other stakeholders led the effort, supported by a team of private sector experts and state planners. The Strategic Investment Plan for downtown New Rochelle examined local assets and opportunities and identified economic development, transportation, housing, and community projects that align with the community's vision for downtown revitalization and that are poised for implementation.
The DRI projects are the latest example of Governor Cuomo's ongoing commitment to New Rochelle and the Mid-Hudson Valley region.
New York State Secretary of State Rossana Rosado said, "Thanks to Governor Cuomo's Downtown Revitalization Initiative, New Rochelle will greatly benefit from these targeted investments. The DRI projects identified will make the city more attractive to new residents, visitors and businesses, and serve as another must-see destination in Westchester County."
Empire State Development President, CEO and Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, "The Downtown Revitalization Initiative exemplifies New York State's commitment to foster both new jobs and the communities that support them and I look forward to seeing these strategic investments contribute to the city's transformation, by building its infrastructure, cultural assets and public spaces."
New York State Homes and Community Renewal Commissioner RuthAnne Visnauskas said, "Governor Cuomo understands that each city, town and village across New York has unique challenges and assets. In New Rochelle, the Downtown Revitalization Initiative is investing $10 million for projects identified by the community to increase access to affordable housing, improve infrastructure and further economic development. Across the Mid-Hudson region, the Governor has invested $895 million in the last eight years to create or preserve affordable housing for nearly 30,000 residents. With the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, we are building a stronger and better future for New Rochelle and the entire Mid-Hudson region."
Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins said, "These projects will have a transformative impact on the City of New Rochelle. Connecting the city center with the Lincoln Avenue Corridor will be a major benefit for residents and businesses in addition to the investments being made in the city's Downtown Overlay Zone, local arts and infrastructure. The Downtown Revitalization Initiative has proven that communities can establish strong urban centers through local input and smart economic growth."
Assembly Member Amy Paulin said, "The City of New Rochelle has made a tremendous amount of economic progress to realize its economic potential and is well-positioned to benefit from the Downtown Revitalization Initiative. These projects, which amplify the city's assets and strengths, will drive further investment and bring even more visitors, businesses and residents to our community."
Assembly Member Steven Otis said, "In New Rochelle we are very proud to be a recipient of such a great grant to start bringing our city to the 21st Century. Governor Cuomo's Downtown Revitalization Initiative continues to bring investments and development to our downtowns for present and future generations to enjoy."
Donald Christian, Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council Co-Chair and SUNY New Paltz President, said, "The Downtown Revitalization Initiative has encouraged economic growth and job creation throughout the Mid-Hudson region, and I am glad to see New Rochelle benefit as the latest recipient of DRI funding. These wide-ranging investments will enhance the city's economic and cultural assets, and foster a stronger regional economy."
Westchester County Executive George Latimer said, "This is a great day for New Rochelle as we see that important projects for the city will be funded. This will lead to further investment in the community and reinvigorate pride in our community. I thank Governor Cuomo and the Mid-Hudson Regional Economic Development Council for ushering in a new era for New Rochelle."
New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson said, "The projects funded by the DRI will forge stronger physical, economic, and social links between our burgeoning downtown and the Lincoln Avenue corridor, provide for a transformative, historic investment in infrastructure, open space, and mobility, improve public safety, and help all people in New Rochelle benefit from inclusive growth and prosperity. With the State's invaluable financial support, we will make this community-guided vision a reality, and I could not be more grateful or excited."
For more information on the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, go to: www.ny.gov/programs/downtown-revitalization-initiative.