Strategic Plan Goal of Station Survey; 1st Community Meeting in Feb; Grid Properties to Include residential on former Sholz Property; New Planning Commissioner Briefs Neighborhood Associations By Ayana Meade

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WHITE PLAINS COMMISSIONER OF PLANNING, COMMISSIONER, CHRISTOPHER GOMEZ, (4TH FROM RIGHT) AND COMMISSIONER OF BUILDING, DAMON AMADIO  (5th FROM RIGHT) APPEARING AT THE COUNCIL OF NEIGHBORHOOD ASSOCIATIONS TUESDAY EVENING IN WHITE PLAINS. Photo by Ayana Meade

WPCNR Post Road Posting. Special to WPCNR by Ayana Meade. November 12, 2015:

“You’ve probably been reading about the train station re-development, ” said newly appointed Planning Commissioner Christopher Gomez, during Tuesday’s Nov. 10) White Plains Council of Neighborhood Associations (WPCNA) meeting, where he and Damon Amadio, Building Commissioner, addressed questions about the train station and a host of other neighborhood development projects, during a public forum meeting at the Education House.

The million dollar grant issued to the city by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERTA) will be used to look at better ways to integrate the transit connections at the station to downtown, create a walkable pedestrian friendly environment, and better integrate the different modes of transportation around the train station, says Gomez.

When asked whether creating sufficient parking at the station is a part of the plan, Gomez replied that the initial phase requires the city to work within the current infrastructure.

Strategic Vision Survey Goal.

As it stands, Gomez says developing a strategic plan is the ultimate goal during the 12-month process.  He and his team have picked a consultant for the project, and will be working with stakeholders and neighborhood community associations like WPCNA to develop a strategic vision to address the issues facing the station—i.e., whether creating a “new” train station is the goal, or better access to it, or if more open space around the train and bus stations is the plan.  Gomez also thinks addressing how the community looks at zoning codes and laws that govern future development in the area is important.

The Stakeholder Task Force was formed by the Mayor and represents, different segments and stakeholders from the community.  While Gomez says they are somewhat limited by the scope of the grant in terms of how many people can serve, the goal is to ensure that those selected represent a cross-section of the community and their constituents.

Community members at-large will have an opportunity to weigh-in on the project through an interactive web portal scheduled to launch by the end of the year, and the first public meetings will be scheduled for sometime in February—exact date TBD.

 The Prelude–Enter the new Winbrook

The other neighborhood revitalization project Gomez is excited about is the development of a mixed-use affordable housing community, and training center called The Prelude.  The Prelude is the first phase in the redevelopment of Brookfield Commons (previously known as the Winbrook Public Housing Complex).

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THE PRELUDE TODAY. Photo, WPCNR

Rising on the corner of South Lexington and Quarropas Street, the Prelude includes 104 new affordable housing apartments, and a 13,500 square foot community education and training center. This first phase in the project will cost $42.18 million.

The future phases will replace all of the older, out of date complex towers with new, green mixed income buildings.  Through partnerships with various regional organizations for adult education and training, the center will offer training in hospitality, the culinary arts and healthcare, as well as other skilled trades including technology.  Ribbon cutting of the training center is scheduled for January.

(Editor’s Note: WPCNR learned Thursday morning that residents from the Winbrook complex had begun to move in starting approximately two weeks ago according to a person familiar with the area who spoke with one of the first residents whod told an official she was very pleased. WPCNR has learned that some of the offices on the first floor are being used, in fact a meeting was being held there this morning in one of the conference rooms. Another source familiar with the building said about 40 percent of the new apartments in “The Prelude” have been moved into. They were coming from Building 135 and the Winbrook building just across from the entrance.)

Grid Properties to Include Residences on old Sholz Property at Maple/ Post Road

Other questions posed by the group included one regarding what type of development project is planned for the large section of land between Maple Avenue and East Post Road.  Amadio responded that Grid Properties acquired the land about 1-2 years ago—they’ve developed concepts for the site but haven’t submitted anything official yet.

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The Grid Properties Parcel Today, looking East from Rathbun and Maple to the Downtown.. Photo, WPCNR

They’re proposing building a high-end small retail space—similar to those in Eastchester.   They’re currently doing marketing and obtaining tenants. There will be a small residential component that will face Maple Avenue, and the balance will be boutique-style retail space.

One attendee asked about the city’s efforts to help community members with obtaining solar panels at a reduced rate.  Amadio replied that while the city did consult with Solarized Westchester and thought the project was a good idea, it did not feel it was appropriate for municipalities to endorse the selection and contractual aspects involved with installation, and therefore opted out.

A question posed by a member of Eco Neighbors regarding the status of the city’s progress with obtaining it’s Climate Smart Communities Certification—a program that provides local governments with a robust framework to guide their climate action and enables high performing communities to achieve recognition for their leadership. Gomez responded that his staff has a conference call scheduled for next week—sitting down with the Commissioner of the DPW.  There are only 6 cities in the entire State of NY that currently have the certification, so Gomez is hopeful that White Plains can obtain the certification status.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

White Plains Planning & Development Meeting

By Ayana Meade

 

“You’ve probably been reading about the train station re-development, ” said newly appointed Planning Commissioner Christopher Gomez, during Tuesday’s White Plains Council of Neighborhood Associations (WPCNA) meeting, where he and Damon Amadio, Building Commissioner, addressed questions about the train station and a host of other neighborhood development projects, during a public forum meeting at the Education House.

 

The million dollar grant issued to the city by the New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (NYSERTA) will be used to look at better ways to integrate the transit connections at the station to downtown, create a walkable pedestrian friendly environment, and better integrate the different modes of transportation around the train station, says Gomez. When asked whether creating sufficient parking at the station is a part of the plan, Gomez replied that the initial phase requires the city to work within the current infrastructure.

 

As it stands, Gomez says developing a strategic plan is the ultimate goal during the 12-month process.  He and his team have picked a consultant for the project, and will be working with stakeholders and neighborhood community associations like WPCNA to develop a strategic vision to address the issues facing the station—i.e., whether creating a “new” train station is the goal, or better access to it, or if more open space around the train and bus stations is the plan.  Gomez also thinks addressing how the community looks at zoning codes and laws that govern future development in the area is important.

 

The Stakeholder Task Force was formed by the Mayor and represents, different segments and stakeholders from the community.  While Gomez says they are somewhat limited by the scope of the grant in terms of how many people can serve, the goal is to ensure that those selected represent a cross-section of the community and their constituents. Community members at-large will have an opportunity to weigh-in on the project through an interactive web portal scheduled to launch by the end of the year, and the first public meetings will be scheduled for sometime in February—exact date TBD.

 

The other neighborhood revitalization project Gomez is excited about is the development of a mixed-use affordable housing community, and training center called The Prelude.  The Prelude is the first phase in the redevelopment of Brookfield Commons (previously known as the Winbrook Public Housing Complex). Rising on the corner of South Lexington and Quarropas Street, the Prelude includes 104 new affordable housing apartments, and a 13,500 square foot community education and training center. This first phase in the project will cost $42.18 million.  The future phases will replace all of the older, out of date complex towers with new, green mixed income buildings.  Through partnerships with various regional organizations for adult education and training, the center will offer training in hospitality, the culinary arts and healthcare, as well as other skilled trades including technology.  Ribbon cutting scheduled for January.

 

Other questions posed by the group included one regarding what type of development project is planned for the large section of land between Maple Avenue and East Post Road.  Amadio responded that Grid Properties acquired the land about 1-2 years ago—they’ve developed concepts for the site but haven’t submitted anything official yet.  They’re proposing building a high-end small retail space—similar to those in Eastchester.   They’re currently doing marketing and obtaining tenants. There will be a small residential component that will face Maple Avenue, and the balance will be boutique-style retail space.

 

One attendee asked about the city’s efforts to help community members with obtaining solar panels at a reduced rate.  Amadio replied that while the city did consult with Solarized Westchester and thought the project was a good idea, it did not feel it was appropriate for municipalities to endorse the selection and contractual aspects involved with installation, and therefore opted out.

 

A question posed by a member of Eco Neighbors regarding the status of the city’s progress with obtaining it’s Climate Smart Communities Certification—a program that provides local governments with a robust framework to guide their climate action and enables high performing communities to achieve recognition for their leadership. Gomez responded that his staff has a conference call scheduled for next week—sitting down with the Commissioner of the DPW.  There are only 6 cities in the entire State of NY that currently have the certification, so Gomez is hopeful that White Plains can obtain the certification status.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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