Although the weather outside may lead you to believe we are moving into the summer months, we are actually nearly a month away from the first day of spring! If the bright skies and increasingly longer days make you want to sing, you aren't alone-- but why not sing with a buddy? As you may remember, we are partnering with the Ossining School District on their roll-out of the Ossining Basics program, and this month focuses on the principle "Talk, Sing and Point." Since babies learn language from the day they are born, we can help to prime them for learning when we point to objects we are talking (or singing!) about and build those connections more easily. Although February is almost over, there is still time to share these lessons with the little people in your life-- you can learn more about "Talk, Sing, Point" here.
Several of us spent the first two days of the week in Manhattan at the Association of Towns Annual Meeting. This was my second year attending and I must say, I am encouraged by how hard our Association is working to represent us at the State level.
The guest speaker on Monday at the kick-off to the whole conference, was US Attorney for the Southern District of New York Preet Bharara, who reminded us of the importance of integrity at all levels of government. Especially in these times when residents and the media are hyper-vigilant about the operations of their local governments, I feel proud to stand with the Town team who has, in my first year as Town Supervisor, already demonstrated a commitment to doing right by our taxpayers at every turn. I was joined by colleagues on the board and my office, from our Tax Receiver’s office as well as from our courts. We all spent time in a cross section of workshops to learn more from experts in the field as well as our colleagues across the state about how we can be doing our work for the Town even better, to better serve you more efficiently and effectively.
Much of the rest of our week was spent working on a variety of park-related projects. On Wednesday afternoon, I met with our project team for the Open Space Corridor and Bike Lane Project, for which we have been granted $30,000 by Hudson River Greenway to design a bike lane that will connect some of the many open space assets that intersect Croton Ave/Somerstown Rd/Rt. 133. This would include the Old Croton Aqueduct, the Briarcliff-Peekskill Trailway, and the North County Trailway. We are partnering with the Town of New Castle and Village of Ossining to make sure the route we select will bring the most benefit to all involved parties. Soon we will be reaching out to stakeholders in all the communities to join us as we start mapping what could be possible. We are excited about the opportunity of tying together our wonderful parks and open spaces and connecting them more easily to one another by foot or by bike as well as connecting them to our business districts.
We also visited the Shine House, where our Parks crew is hard at work to get ready for the April 21st grand re-opening. This weather has been extra conducive to getting work done on the site, and it is hard to believe we are less than 2 months away from the end of a very long process. We also met earlier today to discuss the next steps for another project at Cedar Lane Park, the "Cedar Lane Park Pond Facilities Rehabilitation," sponsored by NYS Senator David Carlucci, which will involve the replacement of the red PBA dock on the road side of the pond, the replacement of the floating dock with a manicured beach for kayak launching, and a stone dust path around the circumference of the pond. This project has been approved for funding through the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York, and we plan to open a capital project at our next Town Board meeting to help us get started. Our in-house grant writer extraordinaire Victoria Cafarelli has been working with our Parks Foreman Mario Velardo and Village/ Town Engineer (and Interim Village Manager) Paul Fraioli on this project since its conception last year; we hope you look as surprised as Mario does once you see what's in store!
(That reminds me-- it isn't too late to fill out the Mind, Body, Spirit- Ossining survey about the 2016 season; let us know what you thought about this program highlighting Ossining's open spaces and wellness businesses, and how we can improve in 2017!)
I also represent Ossining on the Plan4Health task force for the American Planning Association, working with other stakeholders to see how we can better plan our communities around healthy living. I look forward to sharing more about the assessment this group will be undertaking and the Roundtable discussion we will have in June to bring together many interested parties who would like to support this important goal.
The Town Board did not meet this week, since several of us were in the city for the AOT meeting. However, we will surely be making up for lost time this coming Tuesday, February 28th, when we will have our Regular Meeting at 16 Croton Avenue at 7:30PM. We will be continuing the public hearing on Local Law #1 (click here for the most recent draft, unchanged since January), and a cabaret license renewal for Ballroom Studio of Westchester on North State Road. We will then stop for a short Work Session, during which we will see a presentation from the National Foundation for Affordable Housing Solutions, Inc., a group that is purchasing the Maple House building and is asking for an extension of the current PILOT agreement --we have invited the Village, Schools, and Library boards to join us if they are available and anticipate they will each have some representation there on Tuesday. We will then return to our Regular Meeting for another batch of resolutions, including two bond resolutions for work in our parks and in Dale Cemetery. I do hope you will join us, whether in person or through the live broadcast, for what promises to be an informative Tuesday night.
As we walk into the last weekend of February, I hope everyone will continue to take advantage of the beautiful warm weather and spend some time exploring Ossining. It would be a great time to check out the Sing Sing Kill Greenway, if you have yet to make your way across, and visit 6 Degrees of Separation, who will be celebrating George Washington's Birthday (and the anniversary of the last time the Liberty Bell was rung) through March 1st with a special beer menu from Bell's Brewery. Make it a great Ossining weekend!
The Ossining Library will also be hosting a great program this Saturday, February 25th, about electric vehicles. The Town is working towards adding a few to our fleet-- if you have ever been interested in how an electric vehicle may work for your family or business, I encourage you to check out this great (free) program tomorrow.
Although a bit farther out, I want to remind everyone that the Briarcliff Public Library will host Assemblywoman Sandy Galef's March 9th. 2017 Town Meeting, where the Assemblywoman will be discussing her priorities for the 2017 Legislative Session, along with the STAR property tax rebate program and ethics reform. I encourage you to attend this meeting and share your ideas with the Assemblywoman. The Town Meeting will begin at 7PM in the Briarcliff Community Room. Also in Briarcliff? The Briarcliff Student Council, the Interact Club and the BFA will be hosting all Briarcliff senior citizens to a pre-theater reception, including a light dinner, coffee, tea and dessert, at the Briarcliff High School cafeteria at 5:30PM on Thursday, March 2nd. The reception will be followed by a dress rehearsal of Rodgers and Hart's "The Boys From Syracuse." Please register by Monday, February 27th for this free event by calling 941-6560. Also, Briarcliff elections are just a few weeks away on March 21st-- be sure to see the Briarcliff Village Clerk if you need an absentee ballot.
I want to close by sharing that the Village of Ossining lost one of their own several weeks ago, when DPW worker David Caputo unexpectedly passed away at his home in Ossining, leaving behind a wife, a six year old son, and three stepchildren. David was a dedicated Village employee for 18 years, and his passing is an incredible loss to the department, to his friends and his neighbors. The Ossining DPW has set up a GoFundMe account for the Caputo family; all donations are appreciated.