We have just completed our last full week of 2017-- this year flew past! Next week, the Town offices will be closed for half a day on Friday, December 22nd and for a full day on Monday, December 25th in observance of the Christmas holiday. We will also be closed for a half a day on Friday, December 29th and for a full day on Monday, January 1st in observance of New Year's, so we have an awful lot to squish into a few short days. So, we'd better get to it!
This past week, the Town Board met with 14 potential candidates to fill the vacancy left by Councilwoman Kim Jeffrey's recent departure. We were floored by how many committed, brilliant, creative and volunteer-minded people came forward to serve our residents, and it was a true pleasure to get to meet the folks we didn't yet know and to get to know some familiar faces a little better. We had a very hard decision to make, but we plan to announce the candidate that we have selected for appointment at the Town Hall Meeting on Tuesday, December 19th. I hope you will join us, as this will be a very special night. Last year, we chose the last Town Hall Meeting of the year to recognize the members of our many volunteer boards, who work tirelessly behind the scenes to keep our community running smoothly without any form of compensation. We look forward to continuing that tradition this year to present all of our volunteers with certificates and let them know just how much they are appreciated! We will end the meeting with a small reception and light refreshments, so come help us celebrate some of the unsung heroes on Ossining this Tuesday.
Also as part of that Town Hall Meeting, our Parks Foreman will be presenting a slideshow of the extensive work that has taken place in our Town Parks in 2017. As you may recall, the Town Board authorized a sizeable transfer from our General Fund balance into several Capital Projects to do some long overdue work at our three pavilions, including new drainage, paving and some serious masonry work to shore up old walls and even create some new ones. If you've been following my updates for awhile, you have seen a lot of this work piecemeal, but to see it all at once is really impressive. I know Mario looks forward to sharing all of this work with you, and we're excited for you to see it!
Another project in our Town Parks this year was the completion of the Cedar Lane Arts Center, formerly the Shine House, which the Town parks crew has worked on for several years. They effectively tore the finishes off down to the studs and reconstructed the building, including foundation work, roofing, siding, new windows, new walls, painting... there was almost nothing in the building that wasn't overhauled. We held the official grand re-opening on April 21st of this year, where we were joined by the Ossining Arts Council for an exhibition and the unveiled the new logo for CLAC: remember this?
Well, the next step was to create a 3D sign using the art submitted by contest winner (and local design master) Brian Sheridan. Using a piece of the old dock from Cedar Lane Park and pieces of pottery glazed and fired at CLAC, Mario has been working on creating the sign that will welcome visitors to the Arts Center.
We met yesterday to have a quick check-in about the design-- here I am with Keith Gordon, the CLAC Art Studio Manager, Mario Velardo and Marco Piscopiello at the Ryder Park Shop.
We figured it out, and it will hopefully be installed early next week. You must admit, that is a pretty awesome concept-- using site materials and incorporating pottery? Artistic genius at work, if you ask me!
I also wanted to share that on Wednesday, I drove to Albany for the REDC (Regional Economic Development Council) Awards to learn how we fared with some of our grant applications to New York State. I am pleased to share that the Town was awarded $70,100 to review and update our land use policies to incorporate smart growth principles-- this could mean encouraging compact design, a mix of land uses, housing diversity, open space preservation, walkability, and development that fosters non-motorized transportation options, all in order to improve public health here in Ossining. We had help on this application from the Pace Land Use Law Center, so I want to give special thanks to Jennie Nolon Blanchard for her expertise, and to Victoria Cafarelli, our Grants Guru, for her support on these and all of our grant submissions.
There is not a whole lot going around in Town this weekend, but Teatown will be hopping! Tomorrow (Saturday, December 16th), they will be holding a Christmas Bird Count between 8 and 11AM-- adult groups will take a census of the birds they see, and that data will be submitted to National Audubon, who will use it to measure trends in population and health of migrating birds. Looking for something to do with the little ones? At 1PM, join the Teatown staff to decorate a tree for wildlife. Learn how to create goodies for the birds, squirrels and other wildlife so that they can get in on the celebration too! Check out the Teatown calendar for more information on how to register.
Finally, if you are anything like me, I suspect you are not quite done shopping for family and friends for the holidays. If so, you (or, we!) are in luck: our friends in the Village of Ossining have partnered with the Greater Ossining Chamber of Commerce to introduce "Ossining Bucks" this winter. You may remember that in past years, the Village would bag parking meters during the holiday season so that you could do your local shopping without feeding the meter. The Ossining Bucks program takes a different approach: businesses around Town who are participating in the program will give you $5 off of a purchase when you use Ossining Bucks-- think of it as an incentive to shop local and keep that money here in Ossining! You can pick up your "bucks" at the locations listed below, and you can check out the Chamber website to find businesses who are participating.
I want to close by sharing with all of you that Ossining lost a very special person earlier this week. Al Ross has been an active member of the Ossining community as far back as I can remember-- he served as a Constable for the Village and Town of Ossining, was a member of the Village of Ossining Police Auxiliary, and was active in St. Ann's Parish and the Ossining Elks. He was also a proud veteran of the US Army, and was a member of the American Legion Post 506 here in town. I knew Al well outside of these activities, and we got a chance to talk about many things together over the years while I worked for Assemblywoman Galef and then during my tenure as Supervisor. While we didn't always agree, he was a passionate, interesting and kind man, and he will be missed around Town for sure. Our greatest sympathies to his wife Arlene, his three children, his two grandchildren, and all of his dear friends.