You may notice that I am writing a little early today, and with very good reason-- today is the Town and Village of Ossining Holiday Party! Between 1PM and 4PM today, we will be enjoying some delicious food and one another's company down at the Recreation Center. (There will also be some singing-- it's a longtime tradition that all new employees are called to the front to serenade the crowd with their very best "Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer"-- good luck to all those on the docket!) I hope to see you later tonight at Market Square for the annual Tree Lighting starting at 6PM-- there will be music by DJ Johnny G and Mike Risko, and OHS "Gimme the Mic" students will perform. Hot cocoa and cookies will be served, and Santa will pay us a visit (rumor has it, his sled is in the shop and our friends at the Ossining Fire Department will be giving him a lift!)
Speaking of the holiday spirit, please consider picking up a gift or two for a child in need. We have a Toys for Tots box in the Clerk's Office at 16 Croton Avenue, and it will be there for another two weeks or so.
It is also a bit of a sad day for us in the Town, as we say goodbye to Town Councilwoman Kim Jeffrey, who announced last week that she planned to resign effective today in order to start her new role in the Westchester County District Attorney's Office. At our meeting this past Tuesday, Kim said her goodbyes to our community and several of us had some kind words to share with her, including Ossining Village Mayor Victoria Gearity. Councilwoman Jeffrey has been a fierce advocate for our Unincorporated Town, and she has stood firm in her convictions when representing our residents-- we will miss her sincerity, her passion and her humor, but we wish Kim all the best in her new role. One thing is certain: she won't be a stranger!
As a proper sendoff, the Town Board has named today (December 1st, 2017) "Kim Jeffrey Day" in the Town of Ossining, so if you see her around today (or any time this weekend, because, why not?), I encourage you to congratulate her and thank her for her service.
My office continues to work on the Restore NY grant submission, which will hopefully allow us to rehabilitate the Reuben House at Cedar Lane Park. The ultimate goal for the project would be to aggregate public input to create something new there, perhaps a pop-up restaurant or event space. The rules and regulations for this submission are many, and Victoria Cafarelli, our Grants Guru, has done a phenomenal job navigating them all! The submission must be received in Albany no later than December 15th, so the time is growing near-- I look forward to sharing updates on this fascinating project with you once we hear how we have fared with the State!
Our Parks Department is scrambling to finish their outdoor work for the season before the first real snow hits (not till January, fingers crossed!), and the work at the Gerlach Pavilion continues. There are new concrete slabs poured for the doorways at the comfort station entrances, which will be attached to the paved ramp that will be installed next. We are hoping to still have time to pave in 2017, but depending on the plants and the temperature, it may have to wait until springtime.
The guys also finished the drainage work around the Pavilion itself-- they installed a trench drain on the wall side of the Pavilion to ensure that water doesn't pool.
See that space between the wall and the pavilion floor? That will also be paved when we do the ramp up to the comfort station.
Gerlach Pavilion was in the best condition, by far, of all three of our Pavilions, but once this work is complete, they will all be looking fine and ready to host your parties, picnics and special events for Summer 2018.
Finally, we had a special visitor here this week-- the Town Board contracted for Eric Schmid from Tobin & Co. to come do a risk assessment for the Town of Ossining. Eric has met with key staff in a variety of departments and will continue to do so next week-- once Eric has completed his work, we should have a better picture of how the Town is managing our assets and get some recommendations on how we can tighten up our controls.
Please be reminded that in place of our regularly scheduled Tuesday meeting week after next (December 12th, which is the first night of Hanukkah), we will be meeting bright and early on the morning of Monday, December 11th at 8:30AM for a short Work Session, followed by our Legislative Meeting to pay our bills and approve the 2018 Budget, after which the Board will adjourn into Executive Session to interview several candidates for the Town Board vacancy.
We will also be holding a Town Hall Meeting on December 19th to honor all of our volunteer Boards in the Town of Ossining and hopefully to announce who will be joining us on the Town Board in 2018. I hope you can join us.
In the meanwhile, have a wonderful weekend-- I suspect I will see many of you out and about at some of the community events going on around Ossining-- there are an awful lot to choose from!
On Saturday, December 2nd between 1PM and 3PM, the Briarcliff Chamber of Commerce will be hosting a Cookie Scavenger Hunt-- grab your map from Dunkin Kehn, Holbrook Cottage, Wondrous Things or Posh Polish and find those cookies! On Sunday, December 3rd, just down the road at the Law Pavilion, you can join in on the Briarcliff Community Bonfire & Holiday Sing Along, sponsored by the Village of Briarcliff Manor and the Briarcliff Friends of the Arts (BFA). Along with a traditional bonfire and sing along, the event will feature vocal performances by the Lubin Carolers, children's crafts and refreshments.
On your way to either of these great events in Briarcliff, be sure to bring along something for the Annual Coat Drive hosted by the Village of Briarcliff Manor Police Department PBA-- they are looking for new or gently used winter coats, which can be dropped off at the Police Headquarters (1111 Pleasantville Road) anytime before December 8th. They will also be collecting for their Annual Toy Drive-- all toys will be delivered to the Maria Ferari Children's Hospital at Westchester Medical Center.
Finally, don't forget our other community holiday events coming up later in the month, including Breakfast with Santa on Saturday, December 9th-- there are two seatings (one at 10AM and one at 11AM), so be sure to call the Recreation Department at 941-3189 to reserve your spot! Also mark your calendar for the Menorah Lighting on Tuesday, December 12th, hosted by Chabad of Briarcliff-Ossining.