City News

Posted on: August 11, 2016

New Rochelle Installs Smart, Eco-Friendly ‘SOOFA’ Benches

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The City of New Rochelle Installs Smart, Eco-Friendly ‘SOOFA’ Benches
Urban furniture brings digital to public spaces

The City of New Rochelle is excited to announce the arrival this summer of the whimsically named “Soofa” charging stations and benches at four locations throughout New Rochelle. Far from your run-of-the-mill park bench, these modern outdoor charging stations and benches use solar power to charge small electronic devices via USB--including cell phones—so users will never run out of power while conducting life on the go!

“This is one part of our broader effort to position New Rochelle as a forward-looking city, ready to compete successfully for the residents and businesses of the future,” said Mayor Noam Bramson.

The City acquired two Soofa charging stations with benches, and two charging stations to locate next to existing city benches. Soofas have been installed in high-pedestrian areas to best provide services and invite community engagement. “These colorful benches combine both form and function as gathering spots that offer a fun and sustainable way to utilize free, ‘smart technology,” said New Rochelle City Council Member Ivar Hyden.

Folks will be able to relax and “recharge” by enjoying the outdoors while powering up their mobile devices at the following locations: Huguenot Park near the Huguenot Children’s Library, Ruby Dee Park at Library Green, and Flowers (City) Park. Ralph Dibart, New Rochelle Downtown Business Improvement District Executive Director, said, “By offering free Wi-Fi and other cool features, the ‘Soofas’ are a perfect complement to the BID’s efforts to spur activity and business in our downtown.” The fourth location, which will have a charging station and bench, is the new park to be created at the entrance to the pedestrian bridge at North Avenue and Burling Lane (set to be completed and open in 2016).

The benches were funded in part by the City of New Rochelle’s Local Development Corporation. “Upgrading our urban tech infrastructure is a critical piece in improving our overall municipal infrastructure and promoting economic development growth,” said Bernard J. Michael, chair of the New Rochelle Corporation for Local Development.

So please join us in finding a seat, connecting and helping to spark the next great, new idea!

Soofa Benches were provided by Changing Environments Inc., leading the way in smart city applications. Soofa is committed to reinventing overlooked but ubiquitous city infrastructure, like benches. It was founded by a team of female engineers and designers from Harvard and MIT who share one vision: getting people out of their homes and into a smarter and more sustainable city. Soofa makes the city of tomorrow, today.

Equipment was funded courtesy of the New Rochelle Corporation for Local Development whose mission is to help relieve and reduce unemployment, improve and maintain job opportunities, instruct or train individuals to increase or develop their capabilities for such jobs for the purpose of aiding, retaining and attracting not-for-profit entities in the City and lessening the burdens of government by acting in the public interest.

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