With a background in architecture and city planning, as well as a focus on boosting green space and sustainability, it’s not surprising that White Plains City Councilwoman Milagros Lecuona has mixed feelings about the wave of development the city has seen. “More development has brought more density and height to downtown…[and] a more dynamic business center to White Plains, but it has also drastically changed the downtown character, which lacks open spaces and parks,” Lecuona says.
Lecuona, who has served on the White Plains City Council since 2008, says that at the very top of her priority list is updating the White Plains Comprehensive Plan. “It is missing important chapters, such as sustainability, historic preservation, affordable housing, climate change, and the city’s resiliency in disaster planning,” Lecuona warns.
One area in which Lecuona has already made inroads is providing universal access to city parks—a direct result of her proposal to make all White Plains parks handicap-accessible for children. (To date, three parks in White Plains have been fully modified.) Next on the councilwoman’s agenda is to incorporate a community garden within every park. “Community gardens are a great source of community building. They provide outdoor physical exercise and an effective way to learn about healthy food and healthy eating habits. In a city as diverse as White Plains, community gardens can become the place for exchanging recipes and sharing cultural values,” she says.