Archive for the ‘Opinion/Commentary’ Category

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Veterans Career Fairs at the Armory? Why Not? But Until Then….

March 13, 2011

 

Veterans Career Fair Sponsored by http://www.Milicruit.com

As long as war and conflict wages on around the world, troops will be deployed. Most will find themselves returning home to a world much different from it was before they left . For many, the need for support services will be fundamental in their ability to get their lives back in order. With record unemployment and a stagnant economy as their new enemies, don’t you think we owe it to them to give  a leg up wherever we can? Serving with honor as they trade their youth for a battlefield, aren’t we  obliged to open the door of opportunity for anyone who needs it. They’ve done their duty, it’s time to do ours.

Imagine the lives touched by the Veterans Resource Center , at the Armory. That day will come, but until it happens, the Save Our Armory Committee will continue to support and report on the veterans services we would like to see right here in New Rochelle.

To that end, Milicruit will be holding a virtual career fair for veterans and their spouses the week of March 10 to the 17th. Go to http://www.veteranscareerfair.com and take advantage of the opportunity to connect with recruiters from corporations such as GE, Microsoft, Merk, Pepsi and others. From their site – “To build on the success of past Milicruit virtual career fairs, we have joined forces with MOAA. This event will offer veterans and military spouses an opportunity to meet with dozens of industry leading employers as if in person, but from the comfort and convenience of home.”.

This career fair is being deployed in cooperation with the following organizations. Visit their sites, help serve and support those who have served our Nation.

VetSuccess,gov

Veterans Employment and Training Service (VETS)

Military Officers Association of America (MOAA)

Hire Heroes USA

Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA)

Wounded Warrior Project

Student Veterans of America

The Military Channel

We thank you for your service.

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Armories – Then and Now

February 20, 2011
Illinois Armory Postcard - Then

The potential of this building has been realized

In this series,  we will begin to look at various armories around the country in an effort to represent how their intrinsic value served as a foundation to link the past with the future. While the actual applications may vary, you’ll start to see a theme of community enrichment on so many levels.

A marvelous structure from both design and engineering standpoints, the Armory now houses the University of Illinois Men’s and Women’s Track and Field events. From the UI Fighting Illini Facilities website : ” When completed the Armory was the largest free-span, no center support system, structure in the world.  The “drill hall” now referred to as the main floor, measures 200 feet by 400 feet with a ceiling height of 98 feet.” * Impressive in its own right.

Intercollegiate athletics, local sports at a national level, just one of the many ways these grand structures continue to weave the fabric of a local society as they unlock the potential of future generations.  97 years of service, generations of students moving on to change the world, setting the example for those who follow. Go ILLINI !

Illinois Armory - present day

A Stellar Example Reinforcing the "Rich in History" Theme

 

A cluster of mediocre co-ops or a community enrichment facility in a historical setting, what would serve the interest of New Rochelle best? The answer is clear.

 

 

 

 

IT’S YOUR ARMORYUSE IT !

* cited from the University of Illinois Division of Intercollegiate Athletics. For more information or to show your support visit;   http://www.athletics.illinois.edu/facilities/default.htm

Historical postcard courtesy of  US Town Views “The largest town postcard website”.  Visit their site, there’s something for everyone.

 

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Read Along And Get Involved – You’ll Be Glad You Did

February 16, 2011

On July 20, 2010, representatives of the Save Our Armory Committee presented their vision of how community involvement would put the Armory back in the hands of the public where it belongs. This building sole purpose is to serve its community and it’s shameful that administrations past and present can’t come together to allow this icon to fulfill its potential. Take a look throughout this site and read up on how we got into this mess. then take the time to listen to Committee members put forth their concept on how to save the Armory without burden on the taxpayer. how to return this building to the citizens of New Rochelle.
Below is a partial transcript of that presentation. We hope this motivates you to get involved.
We Thank YOU!

“Vision Statement

So, we begin with a vision, a vision of success, a vision for the next chapter in New Rochelle’s history
And it all happens AT THE ARMORY

The opportunity to revive a structure unique to New Rochelle and its culture. Realizing how local history and indeed world events have been shaped by those who have walked through its doors

A facility, already in our possession, one that few others can even claim to own. We are compelled to take advantage of this resource to honor those who have come before us and provide a platform for those yet to come.
A showcase for the best of what New Rochelle has to offer, be it athletic, arts, our rich history or our untapped future. All in a natural setting that reconnects our city with the majesty of the New Rochelle shoreline.

We will need to ask ourselves – how do we stand out from the crowd rather than behaving like the crowd?

Imagine, if you will, this new facility, living, breathing and dynamic in nature, always something new.

Sparking interest with the public as they ask “What’s going on at the Armory this month?”. Dinner, a show and a moonlit walk along the shore, a championship basketball game, or the reflective experience of the New Rochelle Hometown History museum exhibit. So outstanding other towns will beg the question
Where can we get our OWN Armory?

Imagine the potential going forward as we advance the need to save the environment. The ideal platform to demonstrate the latest in environmental technology. Imagine this all behind a glass wall as we invite young students from all around to witness the practical application of the principles learned in the classroom.
Sparking their young minds and bringing out the best of the best to lead the way towards a better tomorrow

This potential exists, right here, right now, right in our own back yard.

If we can just shift the paradigm to accept this vision , we will find that the goals of reconnecting the waterfront , stimulating growth , preserving history , serving the community , honoring our veterans AND protecting the environment can all be realized by allowing this iconic facility to make ITS contribution.
We need not change the concept of WHAT to do in Echo Bay , we merely need to decide HOW to achieve these goals

This historic icon will provide the catalyst for the continued success in Echo Bay and we invite ALL of our neighbors to join in shaping, what is, the next chapter in New Rochelle’s history.

Thank you so much for your time”

IT’S YOUR ARMORY – USE IT DON’T LOSE IT

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The Cost of Echo Bay? Can Your Back (and Wallet) Take the Strain? Half a Billion and Counting

February 13, 2011
Estimated cost to taxpayers for development

Are these numbers far from the truth?

Following Anthony Galletta’s reporting on the state of affairs in New Rochelle is always an eye opener. His recent debunking of the mayor’s voodoo economic numbers regarding the purported “net benefit” bestowed upon the citizens of this city is a case in point. In Part 1,he points out how the stated benefit from development has apparently grown from a $2 million to a $7.5 million benefit in just 18 months(I wonder if the election year has helped pump up the numbers, or are we really doing that well). In Part 2, he provides a glimpse into the real numbers affecting the cost side of the “net benefit” equation. As usual, well done Anthony!

As we “develop” our way into bankruptcy, I’d like you all to take a look at some of the numbers surrounding the Echo Bay project. Granted, these are my own projected estimates and I’m having a little fun with the invoice above to prove a point, but even a 25% swing would still be a huge burden to place on the backs of the taxpayer. We absolutely need to uncover the total costs involved if there is to be any semblance of an informed decision in what would be New Rochelle’s largest development in history. With residential housing making up most of the Echo Bay project,(remember, the property tax base will be abated in some form) could there really be enough sales tax revenue to offset the costs incurred? How much clothing, pottery, and souvenirs can you actually sell? How in the world could the cultural enrichment provided by adaptive re-use of the Amory be replaced by a stack of mundane apartments?

Strangely enough, the projected cost to the city is about equal to the total cost of the project. As in, we’re footing the bill to let Forest City own the property. After all, a builder builds your house and you pay him to do it, but eventually you own it. We would be paying to build Echo Bay and we will never own one square inch of it. Even the so-called “public space” will forever be owned by the developer.Go figure.

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Investing in the Future by Preserving the Past

February 9, 2011
Post Card of the New Rochelle Armory ca.1930's

             Pristine and Ready for Service to the Community and the World                 (photo courtesy of  Bill – Thanks!)

Inspired by the need to provide for the National Defense, this building trained, mustered and sent off countless military groups to defend and protect our interests at home and abroad. Training and drills kept the troops sharp and at the ready for the moment when duty called. That’s just part of the service this iconic building provided to this city and region. Sporting events, dances and performances filled the hall bringing the community together in celebration of the lifestyle our freedom afforded us. She also served in times of tragedy as volunteer efforts rallied to marshal supplies to assist in the days following what would become this generation’s Pearl Harbor as the tragic events of September 11th unfolded before a nation’s eyes. Throughout World War 2, Vietnam, Korea, Desert Storm, and terrorist attacks, this monument to the American spirit stood fast and at the ready to do what she could for a proud society.

Wouldn’t it be shameful on all of us to let this historic monument fade into oblivion in the interest of taxpayer subsidized housing? Wouldn’t the community enrichment provided by historic interpretation, encouragement of the arts and the competition of youth sports be the most sincere form of tribute a grateful society could impart upon future generations. Sparking the minds of our children by showing them the possibilities that lay in front of them. To bring out the best of what New Rochelle has to offer and capture that American spirit again?

Together we can bring back the connections to our rich history, to let future generations know we’ve done all we can to give them their chance to shine.

Stay informed,  stay involved, and most of all, stay the course.

It’s YOUR Armory. Use it!

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UPDATE-Troops Landing at New Rochelle Armory are Asked to Leave by City Manager

August 29, 2010

Update – JUST TO BE CLEAR- The following story is meant to represent what can be acheived through community involvement, nothing more, nothing less. That being said and to avoid any misinterpretation of the story, the city manager was doing exactly what he is required to do, that is, to protect the city’s best interest. Anything less would be inappropriate by any measure. To reiterate, Mr Strome was courteous and above all, professional in his dealings with the situation. The lack of basic paperwork required to perform such work left him with no choice in protecting the city’s interests. This policy is applied to anywhere there is work being done on city property, not just the Armory. This was explained to the volunteers and now to the readers.

It was a beautiful Saturday morning when a small but enthusiastic army landed on the Armory property. With a level of commitment and energy that could only be rivaled by the brilliant sunshine, the all volunteer army commenced operation “clean up” at the beleaguered facility in hopes to spruce up the area for the September 11 Memorial Service. Armed with rakes, brooms and paintbrushes and an abundance of enthusiasm, it only took a few hours to spruce up the grounds of the iconic structure at no cost to the taxpayer. Making a difference isn’t always as easy as it sounds though. As the saying goes – no good deed goes unpunished – so, holding true to the adage, work came to a screeching halt when City Manager Chuck Strome arrived. In a courteous but firm manner, the volunteers were informed that all work was to stop and the premises need to be vacated. Perhaps the hardest part of the eviction was explaining to the younger volunteers how the cleaning up of overgrown brush and a new coat of paint could be considered as a bad thing. Helping them to focus on all they had done so far, instead of what they couldn’t accomplish, helped them to realize that their contribution made a huge difference in spite of the city’s actions. So maybe all the weeds weren’t removed, and maybe the painting wasn’t finished, but all in all the younger volunteers came away with a true sense of how commitment to your town and getting involved does make all the difference. A lesson well learned, even if there are few weeds left.

After meeting and talking with this bright young group, the future seems in good hands. A heartfelt THANK YOU! to all involved, especially Jim Killoran and Habitat for Humanity for making a difference every single day.

Even more photos here



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New Rochelle Armory – Forest City OK’s Plan Discussion – Local Group to Present City With Alternative Plan

July 19, 2010

Forest City Enterprises has granted permission for the City Council to hear an alternative plan for the preservation and adaptive re-use of the New Rochelle Armory. The new plan will be outlined by Save Our Armory committee members Ron Tocci and Peter Parente. The current agreement between the city and the developer grants exclusive rights to Forest City regarding the property included in the Echo Bay development project scope. The alternative plan will be unveiled on Tuesday, July 20 @ 7:00 PM, in the council conference room.

Waterfront access, youth and senior services, sports and veterans services are all part of the vision for a renewed Armory venue. Preliminary discussions with Monroe College have provided a glimpse into the possibilities available in the new facility. As to the question of a partnership between the College and proponents of the Armory Plan, Monroe spokesman Rob Seitz stated “Monroe would consider participation in a feasibility study with the veterans if they get City Council approval,”.

Forest City will be submitting a revised plan for the Echo Bay area in the fall, prior to the expiration of the current Memorandum of Understanding, at which point the city will have several options available.

The plan intends to demonstrate how the preservation of the Armory and the revitalized Echo Bay area can draw from each other to best benefit the community.

The plan will be available online shortly after its presentation on the New Rochelle Armory website and here, on Talk of the Sound.

More to follow…..

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