New Rochelle’s LINC Project Is Shaping a More Connected Future

Discover how New Rochelle is undergoing a remarkable transformation with the LINC Project, funded by a federal grant.

The City of New Rochelle is transforming into a safer, greener, and more modern environment thanks to the help of a federal grant. New Rochelle is one of the first communities in the nation to be selected for an award of this kind. Additionally, it adopted a new DO-8 overlay zoning around the Lincoln Avenue neighborhood to encourage new development, the creation of a wider range of community-serving businesses, and the reestablishment of the neighborhood’s “community corners” at Lincoln Avenue and Brook Street.

The LINC project will transform a portion of Memorial Highway into a walkable public linear park with over eight acres of lush green space, a new 14,000-square-foot plaza with space for a 264-seat amphitheater, increased safety features, and updated streetscapes. Bike lanes will be created to allow direct access to the downtown Transit Center and connect neighborhoods west of Memorial Highway to the North Avenue shopping district and beyond.

North Ave Plaza
Birds-eye view of North Ave Plaza. Photo courtesy of the City of New Rochelle

To date, the city has received $45 million in funding for the LINC. The $16 million grant was awarded through the U.S Department of Transportation’s FY23 Reconnecting Communities and Neighborhoods and Neighborhood Access and Equity grant programs. The award is highly competitive and aims to advance community-centered transportation connection projects and prioritize projects that benefit disadvantaged communities, improve access to daily needs, and foster equitable development and restoration.

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Upon completion, the LINC will heal a historic wound in New Rochelle. In the 1950s, under the direction of Robert Moses, New York State developed Memorial Highway in the middle of a historically vibrant center of African American life and culture. The thriving business corridor was quickly closed off and made home to an overbuilt road with no connection to another major artery. This caused safety and connectivity issues that have depressed economic growth in the southwest part of New Rochelle, creating an overall geographic, demographic, and economic divide for decades.

The city is looking forward to building those vital connections between downtown, the train station, the library, and Lincoln Avenue. 

Memorial Highway
Memorial Highway birds-eye view. Photo courtesy of the City of New Rochelle

“As majority leader I said I would make sure to deliver federal funding to make this project a reality, and I am proud to deliver this major, highly competitive $16 million award to have New Rochelle lead the way as one of the very few projects selected in the country to serve as a blueprint for how we can reconnect communities that have been separated by highway construction,” says U.S. Senator Charles Schumer.

In addition to strengthening community connections, the project aims to support the rejuvenation and increased economic opportunities in New Rochelle along with Westchester and the Hudson Valley area. The project is expected to support over 400 jobs and generate nearly $82 million through the local economy each year while simultaneously increasing sustainability. 

The LINC project will update and upgrade surrounding stormwater and sanitary sewer infrastructure to accommodate existing and future needs around the Lincoln Avenue corridor, which recently experienced extensive flooding. In an effort to prepare and improve stormwater capacity, the LINC will incorporate new permeable paving and a series of rain gardens to capture, filter, and store stormwater.

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North Ave
North Ave. Photo courtesy of the City of New Rochelle

“Today, we are taking a massive step to right the wrongs of the past and build a more vibrant, livable, and equitable New Rochelle. I helped create the Reconnecting Communities Pilot and Neighborhood Access and Equity programs to support projects like this one all across our state, and I’m proud to be delivering this major $16 million grant for New Rochelle,” adds U.S. Senator Kristen Gillibrand.

The DO-8 zoning will alter the zoning around the park to encourage new developments that fit in with the city’s current landscape (namely low-rise and mid-rise buildings), attract community-serving businesses, and re-establish the “community corners.” This transformation will allow New Rochelle to blossom even more, with construction expected to begin in 2025.

The city has already held around 30 community engagement sessions in regard to the LINC, including workshops, presentations, table events, virtual calls, and in-person meetings. These have been held by the project’s design and consultant teams Karp Strategies, Starr Whitehouse Landscape Architects, and VHB.

“The LINC will build a better, more equitable future for this vital neighborhood and reconnect the Lincoln Avenue corridor to New Rochelle’s vibrant downtown and the heart of the city’s existing and upcoming transit-oriented developments, mixed-use projects, educational and workforce opportunities, and growing arts and culture community,” says Acting City Manager Wilfredo Melendez. 

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