White Plains Mayor Thomas Roach is proud of the way the city, and its residents handled the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.
He touted city employees for dealing with a swath of problems in the days following the storm, and thanked frustrated residents for remaining patient despite long-lasting power outages and other problems during the week after the storm.
"I can tell you that the city employees did a great job," Roach said while speaking at a White Plains Neighborhood Association meeting Tuesday night.
Roach said police went above and beyond their duties in the aftermath of the storm, and specifically thanked White Plains Fire Chief Richard Lyman who visited with individual residents before and after the storm. He also said city employees made sure City Hall and the White Plains Library remained open.
"Most people really kept it under control under a really tough situation," Roach said. "We should all be proud."
The mayor did mention he was dissapointed with one thing—the lack of communication from Consolidated Edison officials while thousands of people were without power. Roach said clear communication could have reduced the stress level for those without power, and was possible given the resources available within the city.
"They were communicating very poorly," Roach said, noting that the online map Con Edison provides during storms provided no detailed information and wasn't kept updated after the storm.
Residents without power who subscribed to the Code Red emergency alert system received updates from the city throughout the storm, Roach said, but details would have been more useful with more input from the power company.
"We were doing their job for them," Roach said. The mayor added that he has stressed the need for better communication at meetings with Consolidated Edison since the storm.
One popular topic over the last month has been placing electrical wires underground. Roach said Tuesday that the cost of burrying all of the city's wires is too expensive, but that he is interestd in placing electrical feeders underground at some point.
Placing the feeders underground would limit the widespread impact of future storms, Roach said.
Roach also provided updates on a variety of other topics during Tuesday's informal discussion, here is a brief overview of what was discussed.
The new Cambria Suites Hotel set to open near Five Guys Burgers on Main St. has already broken ground and is expected to open for business during the summer of 2013.
Roach said the hotel will include two floors of retail space and six floors of executive suites. The hotel is expected to offer a more affordable alternative to the upscale Ritz-Carlton and Crowne Plaza Hotels nearby.
"To have a hotel with a better—or more moderate—price-point right in the center of downtown is great," Roach said, adding that the new hotel should drive business to nearby shops and restaurants.
The City of White Plains will also continue to look into ways to improve traffic and pedestrian flow throughout downtown, Roach said. Among things to be considered are the placement of bike lanes, one-way streets and any other tool that could improve pedestrian safety.
(Vote in Patch's poll about the use of one-way streets downtown)
New Years Festivities
Live music will begin downtown at about 10 p.m. on New Years Eve. A free cab program will also be introduced next week, which will be available from 11 p.m. on New Years Eve to 3 a.m. New Years Day.