WHITE PLAINS, N.Y. -= Westchester County's four largest cities have partnered with the Westchester County Association to develop smart high-technology growth initiatives, it was announced during a Thursday press conference.
Mayors from Mount Vernon, New Rochelle, White Plains and Yonkers said they have agreed to sign a "Smart City ComPACT" and, as a first step, work with the WCA to bring to gigabit broadband to every household, business, healthcare facility and educational institution within three to five years.
This is the first such compact between cities in the nation, the WCA said in a news statement.
“This is nothing short of revolutionary for our county,” said William M. Mooney, Jr., president and CEO of the Westchester County Association. "We are creating a vision for the next thirty years.”
“Smart growth is what we’re about, and gigabit broadband will be the game-changer," Mooney said. "Nothing will have transformed Westchester as much since the opening of the Tappan Zee Bridge 61 years ago."
The WCA said it has hired Joan McDonald, former New York state Commissioner of the Department of Transportation and a nationally recognized expert in economic competitiveness, sustainable development and transportation solutions, as a strategic advisor for The Blueprint for Smart Growth, which was announced at the end of August.
At Thursday’s press conference ay WCA headquarters, McDonald provided a brief history of smart growth and its implications for the region.
“Simply put, smart growth is about the ‘new urbanism’ where cities are livable, affordable, innovative, and sustainable,” McDonald said.“Today, smart growth is also characterized by mixed-use development, sustainability, community collaboration, and super-speed broadband."
Officials pointed out that Westchester is home to the world’s largest biotech company, Regeneron, and the world’s largest information technology company, IBM, as well as the world’s top healthcare systems -- namely Montefiore, Northwell, NewYork-Presbyterian, Memorial Sloan Kettering, WMC Health, Mt. Sinai, and the Hospital for Special Surgery.