Letter to New Rochelle Mayor & City Council on Armory Issue

Tonight a group of veterans and residents will be attending the New Rochelle City Council meeting to speak about the Armory issue.  I have to be in Albany tonight and tomorrow, but just emailed the letter below to the Mayor and City Council to lend my voice to the issue of saving the Armory:

County Legislator
Jim Maisano
93 Wilson Drive
New Rochelle, New York 10801
(914) 636-1621
E-Mail: CtyLegJimMaisano@gmail.com
 
March 13, 2012 
 
Dear New Rochelle Mayor & City Council:
 
I was contacted by veteran groups in New Rochelle to comment on the New Rochelle Armory, as I understand many veterans and residents will be addressing you at tonight’s City Council meeting.  Unfortunately, I cannot attend your meeting because of previously scheduled meetings I have in Albany on Tuesday and Wednesday.  Therefore, please accept this as my communication regarding the Armory issue.
 
I recognize that in the past few years, our City Council has done extensive work in evaluating Forest City’s Echo Bay development, and its different impacts on the Armory and that the current proposal seeks to utilize the Armory.  I wish to share a few of my thoughts about the Armory’s future.
 
I have publicly stated throughout this debate that any Echo Bay proposal must place the priority on saving the Armory.  I do believe the building has historical significance worth preserving.  It was a center of military activity in our city for more than 50 years.  We should take great pride in the fact that during the years when the Armory was active and open, brave and honorable Marines and Sailors trained to serve our country right here in New Rochelle.  Most importantly, some of these Marines and Sailors were deployed from our city to wartime service.
 
I applauded the city’s purchase of the Armory back in 1997 for $1 from the State of New York in an agreement that made very clear it was purchased for municipal purposes.  I remain disappointed in our city’s policy decision over the past 15 years to not utilize the Armory for the very reasons it was purchased.
 
I have attached a letter I requested in 2006 from the New York State Office of General Services (the state entity responsible for supervising the Armory deed), which verified the Armory was only conveyed by deed to New Rochelle for “park, recreation, street and highway purposes,” and that the deed contains a reversion clause that will cause the Armory to return to State control if it is not used for the intended purposes and that “[d]emolition of the structure was not contemplated . . . The City of New Rochelle could not legally contract with a developer to demolish the structure without first seeking State approval and cancellation of the covenant contained in the deed . . . If the State determines that a violation of the deed’s use restriction has occurred, the Attorney General may institute an action seeking a revesting of title to the Armory in the State of New York.”
 
Letter from NYS OGS
 
I continue to support the city’s original decision of purchasing the Armory for municipal purposes and respectfully request that the City Council take action to evaluate how this purpose can be effectuated as soon as possible, so that the people of New Rochelle can utilize and enjoy this important and historic building.
 
Sincerely yours,
 
Jim Maisano
County Legislator
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About Jim Maisano

County Legislator for New Rochelle and Pelham and attorney for litigation, real estate, wills/probate. If you need my help with legal or legislative matters, call me at 914-636-1621 or email me at: CtyLegJimMaisano@gmail.com.
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2 Responses to Letter to New Rochelle Mayor & City Council on Armory Issue

  1. Geoffrey L Rogg says:

    It is a given that the legalities have to be respected, however parochial sentimentalism has for too long shackled development in New Rochelle. There is no-one amongst us who does not recognise, remember and salute the memory of all those who have and still are defending our freedom and way of life. However, this does not mean that we have to maintain a whole structure as a memorial if there may be a better use which may benefit the citizenry and strengthen the economy of the city whilst preserving a part or incorporating the whole in an acceptable new use, legal process being respected of course.

    Those in municapal government have a duty not only to respect the past but to ensure a prosperous future for the city. Not to adapt to new circumstances or seize new opportunites is a short-cut to extinction (perish the thought).

    Keep up the good work Jim. Public service is a noble undertaking and thank God the county and city we hold so dear are not lacking in the quality and zeal of those who serve the community.

  2. Warren D. gross says:

    welcome aboard. Just the right tone and messaage for the battle at hand. It provides New Rochelle governance with the conditiional consequences of avoiding a cllear legal and moral responsilbility which, sadly, it doesn’t need given the clear custodial mandate of NYS.

    Thank you Jim for doing the right thing at the right time. Just maybe we can dispense with this “we haevn’t got any money” mantra and seek alternatie ways to restore and retain. It doesn’t need to pay for itself; it has literally paid for itself in sacred blood from service members who left to defend home, hearth and community. The least the community can do is respect that sacrifice

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