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New Rochelle Experiments With 'Open Streets Activity Zones'

A salsa demonstration was held in an "Open Streets Activity Zone" on Church Street during the New Rochelle Street Fair. Photo Credit: NR Future
An artist's rendering of the future of downtown New Rochelle. Photo Credit: File

NEW ROCHELLE, N.Y. – The brain trust tasked with “the most ambitious downtown redevelopment in New Rochelle history,” demonstrated one of their visions for the future of the city over the weekend by implementing an “Open Streets Activity Zone” on Church Street at the annual Street Fair.

During the New Rochelle Street Fair, officials with NR Future and developers from RDRXR hosted several events on Church Street, with instructors from the YMCA, Dance Collection, College of New Rochelle and New Rochelle Racquet Club volunteering to provide performances, demonstrations and lessons at no cost to the public.

According to NR Future Community Liaison Ashley Aldrich, “being one of the top event ideas on, open streets provide a safe space for the community to engage in physical activities, ride bikes, rollerblade and above all, interact with each other without having to worry about traffic or parked vehicles. The street was available for the community to utilize in its own way.”

On Sunday, children participated in a series of events on Church Street. There was sidewalk chalk, hula-hoop competitions and children’s games that were facilitated by Ali Gurney, a sophomore at the College of New Rochelle.

“NR Future conducted an Open Street event for the public, as NR Future is determined to implement various tactical urbanism events to showcase what can be done in the interim of the actual development in 2017,” Aldrich added. “These tactical urbanism efforts will be demonstrations of ‘short term action for long term change.’”

Since selecting RDRXR as the master developer for the future downtown New Rochelle, officials have been keen to reach out to the community to determine what locals hope to see from their business district. There have been a series of meet-ups and events in the past few months as they prepared the “Recommended Action Plan.”

“This will be a partnership like none we’ve had before. Because we’re not looking to develop this site or that site in isolation. We’re looking to enhance our downtown as a whole, with multiple sites planned together,” Mayor Bramson said regarding the redevelopment.

“If we get this right, if we take advantage of the good economy, execute a good plan, show ourselves to be good leaders, and give everyone from the biggest fan to the biggest skeptic a good reason to feel that their investment in this city is paid back in full, then it’s not just our bank accounts and budgets that will be enriched by the right kind of development – it’s our city’s soul.”

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