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The City of White Plains officially re-opens the Library Plaza. The newly refurbished plaza completely transforms what had been a flat, non-descript concrete 68, 500 sq. ft. space behind the White Plains Library (between the Library and the Westchester County Courthouse). The new plaza features elevated gardens, including an 8-foot high grass-covered knoll, benches, trees, and new energy efficient lighting. Other new elements include a Discovery Garden for younger children with herb plantings, wind chimes, talking tubes, and other interactive features (see attached brochure for details), and a small performance area for concerts and programs. Additional drainage and waterproofing were also part of the project to reduce water infiltration into the Library garage below the plaza.
The new plaza will become another attractive public outdoor space that the City can program and use, as well as a perfect spot for nearby workers to enjoy their lunch, and a wonderful place for moms, dads, and caregivers to take children for a small outing. In our urban/suburban community these open spaces take on particular importance. They offer a reprieve from the urban environment. With this plaza, the City saw an opportunity to re-imagine this public space, change its character, and strengthen its connection to the Library and to the community.
The plaza gardens feature native plants, which are species native to our area, and thus more likely to thrive here. These plants are highly attractive to pollinators (think birds, butterflies, bats, and bees!) because they are sources of nectar or pollen. The pollinators sustain our ecosystem and produce our natural resources by helping plants reproduce. As a result of the City's efforts to create these native plant gardens, Pollinators of White Plains, our local interpretation of Pollinator-Pathways.org, has designated the Library Plaza as the first Pollinator Pathway in the City of White Plains. Pollinators are in decline due to pesticides and loss of habitat. Pollinator Pathways is a national movement to plant native plants and reduce pesticide use in order to restore these important natural pathways for pollinators. For more information about the pollinator pathways movement and how you can participate in your own backyard, visit: https://www.pollinator-pathway.org/whiteplains.
As an example of different levels of government working together collaboratively for mutual benefit, Westchester County, which owns a small piece of the plaza near the court house, contributed $600,000 to the project cost, which totaled approximately $6 million.