The City of New Rochelle was recently awarded a $12 million federal grant through the U.S. Department of Transportation’s (U.S. DOT) RAISE (Rebuilding American Infrastructure with Sustainability and Equity) program for the LINC, an infrastructure improvement project that will transform a large portion of one of the City’s busiest arteries into a 21st century, linear public park with plentiful green and open space. The RAISE program is a highly competitive, discretionary grant program administered by U.S. DOT to invest in a variety of projects, including roads, that improve safety, generate equitable economic development and enhance communities around the country.
U.S. Senator Charles Schumer, who strongly advocated for the RAISE funds with U.S. DOT on behalf of New Rochelle, visited the Lincoln Avenue neighborhood on Monday afternoon with other local, state and federal officials and community leaders which included Congressman Jamaal Bowman, State Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, State Assembly Members Amy Paulin and Steve Otis, Westchester County Executive George Latimer, New Rochelle Mayor Noam Bramson, New Rochelle District 3 City Council Member Yadira Ramos-Herbert, City Judge Jared Rice, Minister Mark McLean- NAACP New Rochelle Branch President, New Rochelle Municipal Housing Authority Executive Director Angela Farrish, Director of Operations for the New Rochelle Boys & Girls Club Nate Adams, Rev. Allen Paul Weaver III- Assistant Pastor of the Bethesda Baptist Church and other special guests.
The LINC is one of six projects identified by the City of New Rochelle for funding through New York State’s Downtown Revitalization Initiative (DRI), directed at reviving the City’s downtown corridor. It will re-imagine Memorial Highway, an overbuilt car-centric connector that feeds traffic onto local streets and isolates the largely residential Lincoln Avenue neighborhood from the heart of downtown.
The LINC will reconnect this traditionally underserved neighborhood to the vibrant city center and the heart of the existing and upcoming transit-oriented developments, including the Metro North train station which is in close proximity to NYC, mixed-use developments, educational and workforce opportunities, a growing arts and culture community and additional community benefits anchored in inclusivity and equitable participation.
“We are tremendously grateful to Senator Schumer for bringing our vision directly to Secretary Buttigieg several times as a champion of this project from the beginning, and we also thank Congressman Bowman and Senator Gillibrand for their strong support. The federal RAISE program is highly-competitive, with only a handful of projects selected nationwide, and this $12 million award is a powerful vote of confidence in the LINC project and our community,” said Mayor Noam Bramson. “This transformational initiative will repurpose a portion of Memorial Highway into a linear park to reconnect the Lincoln Avenue neighborhood to New Rochelle’s burgeoning downtown. The LINC will create increased access to transit and employment opportunities and improve safety, while also creating an expansive new open space and recreational amenity for tens of thousands of residents. Combining our federal award with State dollars already allocated to the LINC through the Downtown Revitalization Initiative, the City is now in a position to fully implement this exciting vision.”
Other DRI projects underway in the City include the creation of a black box theater and art education center to help nurture the City’s growing art and culture scene. Several traffic and pedestrian improvements are also in the works around the LINC to create a safe, sustainable and more walkable environment.
“From the very beginning, the LINC has been a collaborative endeavor with not only our partners in Albany and Washington but with thousands of residents who continue to provide invaluable perspectives that are helping to shape this new public amenity. We are tremendously thankful to the federal government to be the beneficiary of the $12 million grant through the federal RAISE program that will not only help carry the LINC across the finish line but foster better connections for the Lincoln Avenue neighborhood so that they are able to enjoy the benefits of our growing Downtown more inclusively and equitably,” said Kathleen Gill, Interim Commissioner of Development, City of New Rochelle.
“This new grant will allow New Rochelle to serve as a leader in the region by creating accessible and community-building green space for a part of the City that truly needs it and builds on the foundation of our $10 million New York State DRI grant and the $1 million Bloomberg Philanthropies grant for our NRVR initiative,” said New Rochelle District 3 Council Member Yadira Ramos-Herbert.
The City of New Rochelle continues to actively engage residents surrounding the Downtown Revitalization Initiative. Through the use of a virtual reality tool (NRVR), along with a series of ongoing community activations and data collection, the City is encouraging residents to provide feedback on the future of their neighborhood. Seasonal activations for the DRI include a Holiday Market at the Train Station December 3-12 and Light the Night at Lincoln Park on December 9.
The City has also hired R.F. Wilkins Consultants, one of the State's leading M/WBE firms, to support the development of community engagement, workforce, small business and inclusionary efforts. For more information: City of New Rochelle, DRI and Ideally New Rochelle.