Jared Rice

JARED RICE - NEW ROCHELLE CITY COUNCIL

In 2010, Jared was first elected to the New Rochelle City Council representing District 3.  Jared was then re-elected with 87% of the vote for a full four year term that began on January 1, 2012 and most recently ran unopposed for his new term which began in January 2016. In his brief time in office, Jared has taken the lead on many initiatives throughout New Rochelle including My Brother's Keeper; the Committee on Community Policing; the renaming of the Ruby Dee Park at Library Green; and l in bringing  jobs to District 3 residents by way of job training in both the construction industry and burgeoning green jobs sector.

 

 

THE RE-IMAGINED LINCOLN AVENUE CORRIDOR (Part 1 – LINCOLN PARK)

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Approximately one year ago, I convened a town hall meeting to discuss the implementation of a comprehensive plan for the Lincoln Avenue corridor. In what ended up being a spirited conversation, several important issues were raised by the few hundred people in attendance that evening. The most significant issues highlighted as immediate needs were:  1) improved Lincoln Park amenities; 2) a modernized Remington Boys and Girls Club; 3) better and safer traffic flows – particularly at the intersection of Lincoln Avenue and Memorial Highway; 4) cleaner streets and sidewalks 5) workforce housing 6) meaningful retail options; and 7) more open space. From that meeting, I,  along with city staff, and several members of the community have begun the hard work of planning for the future. Here is what we are doing with respect to Lincoln Park.

Lincoln Park Master Plan

 

With a Master Plan drafted by a professional consultant, and newly approved matching funds to go along, Lincoln Park is set to continue with its much-needed renovation. After several community meetings with dozens of residents, the expansion of the Grow! Lincoln Park Community Garden was prioritized as being an action item that can get done right away, and was eventually designated as the initial project of the park Master Plan. The Grow! Lincoln Park community, a dedicated group of volunteers, took a vacant space of grass adjacent to their initial modest garden, and transformed it into a much larger garden, and lively civic space. Community gardens are extremely valuable in that they provide fresh and nutritionally rich foods, and also produce intergenerational learning opportunities for local residents. In addition to the community garden, Phase One of the Master Plan also included new water and irrigation systems, lighting upgrades, and the installation of security cameras at the park.Grow cropped small pic

Phase Two of the Lincoln Park Master Plan will be the complete renovation of the playground. At 16 years of age, combined by the heavy usage of this park, the playground no longer can enjoyably accommodate the needs of the community. With the purchase of new “State of the Art” equipment – costing over half a million dollars – area residents can expect the playground to be removed and replaced by latest this fall with a modernized playground that we all can be proud of. The playground was not able to be financed all at one time due to the expense of the high quality equipment that will be installed. Currently, our city finance department is waiting for the the second half of federal Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) funds to be approved in the coming weeks prior to the city moving forward with the installation. Along with new park benches and attractive landscaping, our future playground – as shown by the beautiful rendering I just received from our Parks and Recreation department – will be hardly recognizable. In the meantime, the city will continue to maintain the current playground as best as possible.

Lincoln Park playground sketch

The future phases of the Lincoln Park Master Plan will likely include upgrades to the basketball courts and sports field, more park landscaping, and hopefully, outdoor exercise equipment for adults to use in lieu of people using the playground equipment for that purpose. And the best part is that all future phases have already received funding as part of the city’s Ten Year Capital Plan. To be exact, last December, $2.2 million was allocated to serve the needs of Lincoln Park from 2017 until 2026; that’s more than enough to meet the goals previously identified by the community. It is vital that we send a message to the users of Lincoln Park that they deserve a park that is clean, safe, fun, and well-kept.

Stay tuned for future updates on what is being planned for this corridor, particularly related to road redesigns, workforce housing, a Remington Boys and Girls Club renovation, and more park news.

 

Sincerely,

 

Councilman Jared Rice

Comprehensive Planning for the Lincoln Avenue Corridor

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Lincoln Town Hall

 

With an estimated few hundred people in attendance, we hit the ground running with our first Comprehensive Plan Town Hall meeting for the Lincoln Avenue corridor. While the Comprehensive Plan is being created for the entire City of New Rochelle, I feel that it is vitally important to include a robust zoning analysis of the Lincoln Avenue corridor. The only way to accomplish this is through maximum community participation.

After opening remarks by Pastor Allen Weaver of Bethesda Church, the host site for the meeting, I was able to share some updates regarding happenings in the third district. From that point, our Development Commissioner Luiz Aragon introduced the concepts behind the city’s Comprehensive Plan, and the City’s consultants, BFJ, shared a presentation with the crowd.  Then we were ready for questions and comments pertaining to the corridor.

Many productive things were said throughout the evening and many valid concerns were raised. I’ll tick off a few of the themes.  (more…)

Re-Election Announcement

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For the past four plus years, I have been blessed to be a member of the New Rochelle City Council.  During this time, I am grateful to have made many new friends as I have worked tirelessly on behalf of my district and my city. Although much has been accomplished thus far, there is still much to get done.  Accordingly, it is with tremendous joy that I announce my intention of seeking another term as the New Rochelle City Council representative of District 3. (more…)

New Rochelle prepares to accept the My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge

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I am proud to announce that the City of New Rochelle and the City School District of New Rochelle have entered into a historic partnership designed to eliminate opportunity gaps, barriers, and challenges facing youth in our community, namely boys and young men of color.  At the March 17th, 2015 council legislative meeting, an ordinance was unanimously passed to retain the services of a consultant to assist New Rochelle in creating an action plan for the “My Brother’s Keeper Community Challenge”. The costs of the consulting services are not expected to exceed $20,000.00, of which the City School District will fund half. (more…)

The Creation of the Committee on Community Policing

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I am happy to announce that at last night’s council meeting, there was unanimous support for an idea that I proposed for a committee on community policing. This 15 person committee, which will be selected by the City Manager and Police Commissioner, will be co-chaired by Cathryn Lavery, PhD., Chair & Graduate Coordinator for the Department of Criminal Justice from Iona College, and Michele Rodney, Esq., Dean of Criminal Justice from Monroe College.  New Rochelle is fortunate to have the support of our institutions of higher learning and I expect greatness to result from this process. Please see my below memorandum which outlines what the Committee on Community Policing is all about. (more…)

Fall 2013 newsletter

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I am proud to have been able to work on numerous projects that have contributed to the well being of our community. The following newsletter highlights some of this work. Stay tuned for more updates as I seek to keep our district and city informed about issues that affect us all.

View or download here

JaredRice_newsletter_fall2013

It’s Time To Get To Work

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The NY Youth Works program (an initiative led by Governor Cuomo) seeks to create opportunities for targeted groups in our society that face chronic unemployment. A result of this project is a collaboration between the City of New Rochelle, and the New Rochelle Municipal Housing Authority (NRMHA). This joint effort, along with the monies secured from Youth Works has located over a quarter of a million dollars in job training and job placement money.

In addition, through the efforts of the Westchester-Putnam Workforce Investment Board, two separate grants totaling $138,000.00 each were awarded to the City of New Rochelle and to NRMHA individually. The grants are designed to serve similar populations but with different purposes.

The first part of this two grant process initiated by the NRHMA has not only begun, but it has started off with a bang with last week’s graduation ceremony for 14 young people that completed an arduous eight week construction training course. With an economy on a rebound, and investment dollars being injected into our community, NRMHA took a lead role to provide opportunities for careers in the construction trade. The NRMHA designated the National Builders Association to provide construction training to those participating in the project. Fourteen young people, aged 18-24, were provided with pre-apprenticeship construction training skills designed to get their careers kickstarted. Out of those 14, four were already placed in the Heritage Homes redevelopment project while more hires are expected to be made shortly both in that project, as well as other projects that exist in New Rochelle. A second construction training course is slated to begin in early 2013.

The New Rochelle Youth Bureau through the City of New Rochelle expects their grant to come online in early 2013 as well. This will ultimately complete the two pronged process of utilizing these NY Youth Work funds to bring economic development to New Rochelle. I suspect that their program will be equally creative and effective in creating a pipeline from training to actual jobs. Until then, we as a community must continue to work to create positive opportunities for all of our residents both one day, and one person at a time.

 

Eye on the future

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As another year comes to an end, another difficult budget was passed by my colleagues and me on the New Rochelle City Council.  When considering the New York State unfunded mandates, recession induced declining revenues, and a diminishing property tax base largely created by individual property reassessments, it becomes that much harder to provide the core services that allow New Rochelle to function properly.

However, in this budget, we were able to avoid layoffs, keep minimum manning levels in the Fire Department steady at 27 per shift, and maintain leaf pickup services that do not require residents to bag their own leaves. Additionally, key investments were made with an eye on the future, including studies to find greater efficiencies in the Department of Public Works and the Fire Department.  Moreover, monies were set aside for additional capital improvement projects, and greater marketing tools for our Department of Development to attract new businesses. All of this was done with a tax increase of 6.99% which amounts to a 1% increase on the total tax bill for the average New Rochelle homeowner.  

It is always tough to ask taxpayers – including myself – to pay an increased rate on their property tax bill, especially in these tough economic times.  As we deal with the aftermath of the “Great Recession” and become adjusted to our realities of this “new normal it is imperative that we grow our way out of this situation as opposed to the mentality of “cut, cut, cut” until there is nothing left.  This is especially true with a workforce that is already at dangerously low levels. 

With a rebounding economy ripe for investment dollars, New Rochelle has an opportunity to take advantage of our tremendous natural assets.  Much work has already been done, especially in our downtown; it is time for us to reach our potential as the “Queen City of the Sound”.

 

 

New Job Creation Opportunities

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Despite the challenges associated with running a local city government such as New Rochelle, results can be achieved if the right teamwork is present.  With so many issues to deal with at any given moment, it is often best to combine them into one workable solution.  With that being said, I am happy to announce that New Rochelle will partake in Governor Cuomo’s “NY Youth Works Program”.
This program was signed into law on December 9, 2011, and was designed to encourage businesses to hire unemployed and disadvantaged youth by providing businesses with tax incentives.  Under this plan, many objectives can be reached simultaneously, including economic development, job creation, and overall concerns surrounding the plight of our under performing youth.
 
At a seminar recently held to provide prospective employers, community organizations, government officials and others with more information about the NY Youth Works Program, there was a high level of energy as many stakeholders from the New Rochelle community expressed interest in becoming a participant.  In order to be eligible, both businesses and employees must undergo a minimal certification process.  With the already high level of interest that has been expressed, I believe that we are off to a great start.
 
However, in order to make this program a complete success and achieve its maximum potential, there must be a collaborative effort. This program is capable of either being very successful or very unsuccessful; my intentions are for the former.
 
For more information, please log onto  https://labor.ny.gov/careerservices/youth-tax-credit.shtm.