Dana Levenberg, Town Supervisor
phone (914) 762-6001
fax (914) 762-0833
16 Croton Avenue
Ossining, NY 10562
The Supervisor's Office is located on the third floor of the Town offices. Office hours are Monday - Friday, 8:30 am - 4:30 pm.
The Town is getting ready to leave for a three day weekend in honor of President's Day, and before I tell you about our week, I want to share some interesting events related to presidents and our local history.
I would also encourage you to check out the Gallery outside the Budarz Theater at the Ossining Public Library for a peek at "Me and My Presidents," a collection of presidential memorabilia compiled by local history buff William Reynolds. Although the installation runs through February 28th, the Library will host an Opening Reception on Sunday, February 19th between 2 and 4PM, light refreshments will be served.
This past Monday, my office spoke with Superintendent of Recreation Chris Soi and our Parks Foreman Mario Velardo to continue planning the grand re-opening of the Shine House in Cedar Lane Park. Just in case you haven't been following along, this is a project that has been going on for many years. Longtime residents may remember when the Town of Ossining, under Supervisor John Chervokas, purchased the land that is now Cedar Lane Park from the 52 Association, an initiative that more than doubled our acreage of parkland while also becoming one of the area's most beloved open spaces. When the Town purchased the property, the area that is now the Organic Community Garden was instead an in-ground swimming pool, and the Shine House served as the pool house. The pool was dealt a fatal blow in Hurricane Floyd and was demolished, but the pool house remained and, as it was not being regularly used, it began to deteriorate. Seeing a unique opportunity to add to our recreational facilities, previous Town Boards began to rehab the Shine House, with the majority of the labor being done with by our talented Parks staff. (I stopped by earlier today to check on the progress and found Mario and Juan hard at work, taking care of last minute touches. As you can see, the finishes are looking very nice. They stopped for a few minutes to show us around and pose for this quick photo.)
With that brief look back into history as perspective, I am sure you can appreciate why we are so very proud to announce the grand re-opening celebration, which is scheduled for Friday, April 21st. Our hope is to offer tours of the building, while also offering a program for children and adults to introduce them to our new pottery studio and flex space, and possibly also kicking off Mind, Body, Spirit-Ossining for the 2017 Spring/Summer season (speaking of which, have you filled out our survey yet?) We will also, very shortly, be calling for entries for a contest in which the winner will be producing a one-of-a-kind art piece to be mounted in the Shine House entry and welcome everyone to the building. So, consider this your invitation! We will have more details in the coming weeks, and we can't wait to see you at the Shine House!
On Tuesday, the Town Board had a short morning meeting to pay our bills and conduct some pressing business, and then most of us headed down to the Community Center to enjoy Valentine's Day Breakfast with our Seniors. I want to offer special thanks to the ossining School District and the National Honor Society students as well as all the student performers who put together an exceptional morning for our Seniors, as well as to our Town Senior Nutrition and Village Recreation staff who, as always, put together a fine morning out for our senior sweethearts.
That wasn't the end of the Valentine's Day celebration, though. Accompanied by Director of the Ossining Girl Scouts Rosie Foster, and the hundreds of valentines the Ossining Girl Scouts made, I participated in Veteran Patient Recognition Week at the Montrose VA facility, and delivered valentines and a little cheer. Special thanks to the Vietnam and World War II Vets who posed for pictures with us, as well as Nursing Administrator Chi Chi and Yvette Rodriguez from the VA for working with my office to set up this wonderful afternoon.
I also want to be sure to share how much of the Town and Village staff has been fueled by delicious food from Good Choice Kitchen this past week, most recently, this afternoon, where we were in very good company! Our office tends to lean towards veggie-based meals on a regular basis, but the variety of soups, salads, and meals available at Good Choice Kitchen will satisfy any palate. We are so proud to have this fantastic new restaurant in our community; if you haven't visited yet, I hope you will pop into their storefront at 147 Main Street and say hello!
As we move into a new week here in Ossining, I hope to see you at some of these upcoming events, including Thursday, February 23rd's Ossining Documentary and Discussion Series presentation of "What's Race Got to Do With It?", a film screening accompanied by a panel discussion, which will include students in Ossining High School's SUNY Racism, Sexism and Classism class. You can see the trailer for the documentary here.
Next Monday and Tuesday, Councilwoman Feldman, Town Budget Director Maddi Zachacz, and I, along with representation from our Tax Office and Town Court, will be attending the Association of Towns annual meeting in New York. Last year was the first time around for Councilwoman Feldman and I, and we learned a lot from the experience. I look forward to making even more contacts this year-- getting to know folks in other Towns who have encountered challenges similar to ours, and made a way around them, is well worth the price of admission! I will also be voting on behalf of the Town on Wednesday morning; the Association of Towns is one of our most powerful lobbying tools at the State level, and I am glad to serve as the voice of our community to make sure our needs are considered by the State of New York.
The Town Board will not be meeting this coming week, so the next time we communicate with you will be Friday, February 24th in my next Supervisor's Update (as a final reminder- the Town and Village offices will be closed on Monday, February 20th). Until then, enjoy the warming weather and the long weekend!
Even though the snow is done falling, it is still awfully crisp out there. I want to offer special thanks to our Town Highway and Parks crews and the DPWs in both of our Villages for ensuring that our residents and first responders could get around safely. It was a tough storm to deal with due to ice, wind, and cold temperatures, and I think you will agree that they battled it admirably.
First and foremost, if you aren't doing anything tonight, I would strongly recommend that you attend the Ossining Documentary and Discussion Series' "The Hudson River At Risk" event tonight (Friday, February 10th at 7PM at the Ossining Library), where they will be sharing three short (and timely) films followed by a panel discussion. Come learn about how pipeline projects, the proposed anchorages and contamination have the potential to affect our river and all who enjoy it, and what you can do to help.
Before I touch on this coming weekend's other events, I wanted to share with you some of what we've been up to in the Town over this past week. When we last spoke, I was en route to join many friends and neighbors at Market Square for a Unity Vigil. I was so very pleased to see such a fantastic turnout that was also incredibly representative of Ossining's diverse population. Although the weather was freezing, the crowd continued to grow as I was joined by Councilwomen Liz Feldman, Kim Jeffrey and Karen D'Attore, as well as Congresswoman Nita Lowey, Assemblywoman Sandy Galef, Assemblyman David Buchwald, Westchester County Legislator Catherine Borgia, Mayor Victoria Gearity, Village Trustee Rika Levin, and dozens of other community leaders, all coming together for the sole purpose of demonstrating how, regardless of political persuasion, that we recognize that we are stronger together than we will ever be apart. I was invited to speak, and I wanted to share my thoughts with those who were unable to attend, which I read to the crowd in both English and in Spanish.
"We are one Ossining!
Somos Un Ossining!
We are special because of the fabric of our individual lives coming together here in harmony
We are interesting, intelligent, and international
We work together to improve our lives and the lives of our neighbors, sisters, brothers and friends.
We are beautiful because of our colors.
Because of our religions.
Because of our diversity.
Because of our love and respect for one another.
We have wonderful schools, parks, businesses.
We have crafts people, boaters, professionals, entrepreneurs, and teachers, and so many more.
We have love.
This is what makes us rich.
This is what makes us powerful.
We believe in our diversity and we embrace it so that the tides of the Hudson on our grounds will raise all ships.
Let our passions, let our love for each other, let our respect for one another raise our ships and those of our neighbors and shine.
We are strong because we are one Ossining. Somos un Ossining.
Let's show the world why America is Great because of all our Ossining's by being who we are, every day, no matter what. And loving it."
My office has also been working with Sustainable Westchester to get moving on our newest "green" initiative, which involves bringing electric cars and trucks into our fleet, putting in solar charging stations, and finding a place for solar panels to help offset the Town's electric bill. We are hoping to report more details after we have finalized the logistics. There are a ton of incentives and grant funding out there for these kinds of projects, not to mention the long-term savings that come from a lower dependence on fuel and the benefits to our environment.
Our Parks crew is also hard at work getting the Shine House (and the Ice House) ready for its grand re-opening this Spring. We are still planning this event, but we are not just talking about a ribbon cutting. Be prepared for an exciting day in our newest recreation space that just so happens to have the most exceptional views around.
Speaking of our Parks, we are ramping up for our second year of Mind, Body, Spirit- Ossining and want to hear from you about what you loved and what we can improve this time around. If you participated, please take a few moments to complete our survey. We are here to make the best possible programming available for you, so tell us-- how did we do?
Finally, we are working towards getting photos of all of our Town Department Heads posted on the Town website. With the help of Michael G. O'Connor, we did an extensive photo shoot a few weeks back (see below) and I'm pleased to share that most department pages now feature the opportunity to recognize the folks who keep this place running. We still have a few who have yet to model for us, but hopefully we will have the project completed by month's end.
There are a ton of great events going on in Ossining this weekend, including the annual favorite Eagle Fest! You can find a schedule of the day's events here.
I hope to see you out and about in Town this weekend. Don't forget to pick up something for your honey, Valentine's Day is on Tuesday-- even if you aren't exchanging gifts, a home cooked meal with fresh ingredients from Down to Earth Market is a gesture they won't soon forget. You can check them out at their indoor Winter location at the First Presbyterian Church on South Highland every Saturday through April from 9AM to 1PM; Good Shepherd Distillery will be on site with their special fruit brandies, so you can treat yourselves to this awesome Valentine's Day cocktail to make your day even sweeter.
Before I get started, I want to remind everyone that tonight, many of our friends and neighbors will be joining together in a demonstration of unity at Market Square. I am proud of Ossining-- while sometimes we disagree, we also collectively realize that we are all in this together, and that crafting a better, brighter world is our responsibility. I hope you will join me and my colleagues, along with our community and religious leaders, to share a positive and hopeful message this evening.
We have a packed agenda for this coming Tuesday's Special Meeting and Work Session, which will take place at 7:30PM at 16 Croton Avenue. We will start with several public hearings, the first of which will be a continuation of our Public Hearing on Local Law #1 of 2017, which proposes zoning changes in the Unincorporated Area of the Town-- there is an updated draft that you can find here. We will also open a public hearing on pdf Local Law #2 of 2017 (8 KB) , which would extend our development moratorium by several weeks so that we can finish the important work described in Local Law #1. We also have two cabaret license renewals who will enter the Public Hearing process: Maya Riviera and Westchester Ballroom, both on North State Road.
Although the weather outside was frightful (special thanks to the Town crew and the Village DPW for making sure the parking lot at 16 Croton was thoroughly salted!), our Town Board met on Tuesday night for a Special Meeting and Work Session, which included the continuance of the Public Hearing on Local Law #1 of 2017. Our Planning Consulant David Stolman walked us through a pdf presentation (1.44 MB) that clearly outlined the proposed changes contained in the law. After a few short resolutions, we moved into a Work Session to discuss the comments entered into the Public Hearing record thus far, and gave Mr. Stolman a bit of direction as to how we intend to proceed. As the Town Board will not be meeting on Tuesday, January 31st, our next meeting will be Tuesday, February 7th, where we will begin with a Special Meeting to continue this Public Hearing with some new information from Mr. Stolman.
We will also hold several other Public Hearings that night, including two Cabaret license renewals (one at Maya Riviera and one at Ballroom Studio of Westchester, both on North State Road), and on proposed Local Law #2, which would extend the development moratorium in order to allow for completion of the dialogue related to Local Law #1 as described earlier. Once we move into Work Session, we will have several department heads join us for a discussion of Alarm Billing in the Town of Ossining, and our Building Inspector will discuss some fee schedule items related to Certificates of Occupancy. Next, Recreation Superintendent Chris Soi and Town Parks Foreman Mario Velardo will speak with us about some questions from the Board on the new Pavilion and Picnic Area Rental application, and will stay to discuss the 2017 Capital Project for our open spaces. It is sure to be a jam packed meeting, so I hope you will join us at 16 Croton Avenue or tune in live to hear what we've been working on lately.
This has been another short week in the Town of Ossining, as our employees enjoyed a long weekend in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Monday. It was wonderful to hear from so many of you who participated in the National Day of Service and contributed to making our community, and our world, a brighter place.
The Town Board held our Town Hall Meeting on Tuesday, January 17th at the Ossining Public Library, where we hosted Samantha Epstein from the Hudson Valley Sloop Clearwater, who introduced us to the Watercraft Inspection Steward program. This initiative is meant to prevent the spread of invasive species, specifically the aquatic plant hydrilla, from entering the Hudson River and surrounding waterways by installing a steward at our boat ramp and beach to inspect boats entering and leaving the river. The Stewards will also be able to speak with boaters and raise awareness of the potential for invasive species “hitchhikers." 2017 will be the third year that this program will run in our area, and for the first time, Ossining has been chosen to participate. The Town Board is pleased to introduce this program to the Ossining waterfront for the 2017, and has added a resolution to our next agenda to formally agree to proceed. If you are interested in learning about the origins of the program or the invasive species problem in the Hudson Valley, you can view Samantha’s presentation here (begins around the 5:15 mark).