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New Rochelle To Create ‘Friends of the Parks’

Artist’s rendering of Echo Bay shoreline restoration.

The New Rochelle Parks and Recreation Department is planning to create a volunteer “friends of the parks” committee and a related nonprofit foundation that could raise funds and receive grants to develop sustainable parks. The idea was presented in a budget report by a 15-member volunteer, non-partisan, citizen’s committee and was recently highlighted by Mayor Bramson.

The report recommends that the city should leverage grants and private contributions by encouraging “the formation of a private, nonprofit organization dedicated to raising funds and supplementing public resources for park capital improvements and maintenance. Such organizations are common and have proven beneficial in many communities.”

Parks and Recreation Commissioner Bill Zimmermann noted that the proposed nonprofit foundation would be able to get private donations and grants that city government cannot. He added that the initiative also  “will begin to cultivate a true citizen driven advocacy group” to support sustainable parks.

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Zimmerman says that initiative “requires several procedural steps” before the friends group is created. “My best guess is that we will require a minimum of eight to ten months to establish such a group under New York State filing application and legal process. Preliminary work will begin later this month on formulation in concert with the City Manager and Finance Commissioner as we move this forward.”

The city already benefits from new public funding, having recently announced an award of $1.5 million in Regional Economic Development Funding for the reclamation of the Echo Bay waterfront. The funding, from Governor Cuomo’s Regional Economic Development Council (REDC) Initiative, will enable the reclamation of what is now contaminated and inaccessible land, and will help develop a mixed-use waterfront community featuring more than 5 acres of open space, plus retail venues and rental housing. (See our previous coverage on Echo Bay.)

“This grant will help achieve a dramatic, positive transformation along New Rochelle’s waterfront, including significant new public access to the shoreline,” said New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson. “I am delighted that the state recognized the significance and economic potential of this exciting project.”

Photo: City of New Rochelle

Joyce Newman
Joyce Newman
Joyce H. Newman is an Emmy Award-winning environmental journalist, educator, and gardener. She holds a Certificate in Horticulture from The New York Botanical Garden, and is a tour guide there.
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