Improve Renaissance Plaza Image: Add Paying Merchant stalls. Upgrade Music Cibelli Recommends

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 WPCNR CAMPAIGN 2013. From Cass Cibelli, Candidate for Mayor of White Plains. August 4, 2013:

Renaissance Plaza needs to improve its image. What could be the jewel of our downtown seems drab and stuck in time, seemingly tired and uninviting. Particularly now, on Wednesday nights, the fountains are jammed with people listening to loud, contemporary music while a chalkboard chronicles the scribbles of a sentence stem begging, “Before I die”.

We Propose:  “As I live…” displayed electronically, and erected high so as citizens watch the fountain waters rise, their eyes take in positive and refreshing messages. These messages may be texted from all over the world, or right from our very own town such as announcements, words of encouragement welcoming home soldiers and congratulations to graduates, local teams and civic groups; it all can be managed from a lap top computer.

In terms of Public Safety, the band shell needs to go. That it sits in a full lane of traffic just raises the probability that if for any reason, the City needs that space at a moment’s notice; it just doesn’t have it, at great peril to pedestrians and automobiles; save to mention bicyclists. A city-owned light truck sits idle with no emergency vehicle in sight. Perhaps it was inconspicuous?

Save the electricity, down size the unnecessary overhead, and transform the arts.  Change the experience from a top down, passive performance venue like cover bands, to a more appropriately amplified musical performance such as string quartets and light jazz ensembles; moreover, Doo Wop artists and the many tribute artists currently on the circuit.

It appears that from the sound and volume of the cover bands, the fact that the bands tower over the crowds, losing the natural buffer all those bodies provide, restaurant patrons within ear’s shot while dining alfresco obviously strain their conversations.

Economically speaking, the City spends taxpayer dollars to produce this venue and fails to leverage its clout to raise revenues by utilizing a space like Renaissance Plaza Fountains effectively.

We see in Renaissance Plaza a chance for real culture.

A venue whose ambiance deserves what is pleasing to the eyes, palate and particularly to the ears so citizens can choose where to spend their dollars and hear themselves think.  In Frascati, Italy, there are merchants with fresh fruits, gelato and Panini, jewelry; both costume and fine, literature, paintings and prints, and as you shop or browse, you remain engaged and free to be you.

Here at home we will generate fees from Participating Merchants so residents, visitors and future investors alike experience the real 21st Century White Plains. We can replicate world class experiences in White Plains.  We propose to promote local and world-renowned artists, musicians and retailers. That they be celebrated in White Plains doesn’t come free. It’s a win-win situation, particularly for tax payers. We do not believe for a second that owners of the Residences at the Ritz Carlton expected their investments to include a regularly scheduled Block Party outside their windows?

This November, we have a real chance to change the direction of White Plains by focusing now on what seniors, young families and their children deserve: A quality of life supported and paid for by raising revenues and relieving us of the current outrageous tax burden. The lack of vision at Renaissance Plaza is endemic of the lack of vision for the entire 10 square miles that makes up White Plains.

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