What would you like to see built at the Rockland Psychiatric Center (RPC) property?
That was the topic of discussion at the 2012 Rockland Planning Use with Students (PLUS) project at RCC. On Friday, four Rockland high schools joined more than 30 community leaders to go over land use ideas.
Students from Nanuet, Clarkstown South, Tappan Zee and Spring Valley high schools prepared six different local projects that they presented and discussed with the community leaders who acted as mentors:
- Nanuet—Expanding the Nanuet Education Resource Center to Add a Greenhouse; Community Center on Convent Road; Abandoned Fruit Farm and Huffman Koos
- Clarkstown South—West Nyack Road
- Tappan Zee—Rebuilding the German Masonic Home of Tappan
- Spring Valley—Old Route 59 Drive-In
"This is giving students experience in becoming our future community leaders," said Nanuet Teacher Chuck Barone. "It's very hands-on. You learn these concepts in the classroom and now they can apply it to real life."
Students needed to take form sustainable plans with consideration for economic, environmental and social benefits and impacts. Mentors encouraged students to carefully consider the impacts of their choices and to think more deeply about how to build a strong integrated plan. The mentors brainstormed ideas with the students and brought new insights to their local planning projects.
“It’s interesting to have a hand in the community,” said Tina Savarese of Clarkstown South. “I’m happy to see how many adults took time out of their day to meet with us and that they value our opinions.”
"Applying learning and problem solving is part of the district's mission," said Steve Schlanger, Nanuet Assistant Superintendent. "It's great to see the students work with community leaders to hone their ideas."
Mentors included Sonia Cairo, executive director of Keep Rockland Beautiful, George Potanovic, executive director of Stony Point Action Committee for the Environment, Rockland Legislature Chairperson Harriet Cornell, Paul Adler of Adler Consulting and Rand Realty, Thom Kleiner, mid-Hudson regional representative of the Department of Labor, and more representatives from organizations such as United Water, Americorps, Rockland Farm Alliance, real estate agencies, law firms and more.
“It was so wonderful to see so many of the students in each of the groups take an active role in presenting their pans,” said Cairo. They learned from each other and from the mentors who provided them with helpful feedback and suggestions.”
“Rand Realty is committed to property land use ,growth and development of Rockland County. We want to make Rockland a live, work and play community,” said Adler.
After a presentation from Supervisor Andy Stewart on the RPC, Students and mentors broke up into groups to work collaboratively on planning for the RPC property.
“We are right in the middle of trying to figure (the land use for RPC) out as a town and I’m deeply appreciative that (the students) are focusing on it today and I know we’re going to get some great ideas from this process,” said Stewart.
“(The program) was such a success in so many ways,” said Cairo. “It literally is a hands-on project with all the students around the table contributing ideas for the redevelopment of the Psychiatric Center property and helping to illustrate them on the map.”
Sponsors of Rockland Plus are Frank & Joanne Gumper, HSBC Bank USA, NA and First Niagara Bank Foundation. PLUS partners include Keep Rockland Beautiful, Columbia University Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory, Rockland County AmeriCorps and RCC.