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White Plains Mayor Outlines Initiatives for 2012

WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -- As 2012 begins, Mayor Thomas Roach says City Hall aims to elevate White Plains’ profile this year with green transportation initiatives and new technology tools while maintaining fiscal stability in a lackluster economy.

“Essentially I want to continue to move the city forward in a strong way while keeping ourselves fiscally stable and keeping a handle on spending,” said Roach, a Democrat. “I’d like to raise the city’s profile. We’re a very progressive city, but I don’t think that that aspect of the city gets a lot of attention. We’re viewed by people as a clean, safe, fiscally-sound city, which I think is great and accurate, but we’re going to be doing some new things next year.”

Roach envisions getting the electric car chargers the city got through a federal grant up and running for residents and businesses this year.

“As we move forward in coming years, they’re [electric and hybrid cars] going to be more of a presence and I want to makes sure White Plains doesn’t get left behind,” Roach said of five charging stations that will open at 16 Ferris Ave. “We’re a transportation hub, so I think that that will make us more attractive to many businesses.”

In spring, White Plains aims to expand its transportation system by unveiling a bike lane that runs from Dr. Martin Luther King Boulevard to the Metro North station on Water Street and then back onto Lexington Avenue. Roach says he hopes the initial lane will grow into a network of lanes that give White Plains pedestrians, bikers, and drivers “complete streets.”

Roach, who was a Common Council member from 2001 until he was elected mayor, said he was most surprised by how outdated the city’s computer and technology systems were when he assuming office. He’s been working on renovating White Plains' website and introducing an emergency alert system.

“That’s going to be a big push this year to bring out a new website and also communications with the residents in emergencies with text messages, emails, and phone calls,” said Roach.  “We want to try to make it easier through the use of electronic communications in everything from park and recreation programs to library events to information about permits and applications.”

The mayor plans to continue reaching out to the school district and neighboring communities to see how sharing services or equipment may save taxpayers money. He hopes discussions with developers may bring in extra revenue as well.

“It is a tough economy, but our brand is strong right now and we want to take advantage of that,” Roach said. “We’ll be putting a lot of effort into bringing new businesses to White Plains while preserving the quality of life everyone here enjoys.”

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