All I can say is, thank goodness for the Spray Park! We have experienced steady 90 degree + temperatures for the past several days, but it seems that a short reprieve may be coming this weekend, so fingers crossed that we may all be able to breathe and move just a little bit easier. Why not make the best of it and enjoy an evening with a cool river breeze? The Uncle Brothers will be taking the stage at Louis Engel Waterfront Park tonight (Friday, July 21st) at 7PM. You'll want to bring the kids along-- The Uncle Brothers are family-friendly entertainment, themes like respect, conflict resolution, and kindness figure prominently in their material, and who couldn't use some more of that in this day and age? I look forward to seeing you down there-- bring a picnic dinner to enjoy, or a few dollars to buy a snack from our food trucks. It's going to be a great night out in Ossining!
Tonight is also opening night for WCT's "July One Acts" at 23 Water Street, the show begins at 8PM. I was invited to the "Sneak Peak" last night and I thoroughly enjoyed all four plays. I recommend you check it out, if not tonight, than at one of the other performances this weekend (Saturday, July 22nd at 2PM or 8PM, or enjoy a special Q&A session with the playwrights and director after the 3PM performance on Sunday, July 23rd. We are incredibly fortunate to have such innovative and affordable entertainment right in our own backyard, and many members of the WCT group are Ossining residents!
Before I get into some of the other great Ossining events coming up this weekend, I want to share a little about what we've been working on this week.
Yesterday afternoon, the Town hosted a meeting of our various stakeholders for our Bike Lane project, which continues to develop into something very exciting. Our initial idea was to find a way to connect our green spaces and business hubs in a way that was less dependent on access to an automobile and enthusiasm for the project caught on quickly. We met with representatives from the Village of Ossining, Assemblywoman Sandy Galef's office, the Towns of New Castle and Yorktown, Westchester County Department of Planning, Westchester County Department of Transportation, the Westchester Cycle Club, and the NYS Department of Transportation, and we are getting closer to something substantive that we will share with the public to solicit your input. While we are still in the planning stages now, stay tuned for the announcement of a public forum sometime this fall.
Also yesterday, my office participated in a training with Carla Castillo of Hudson Valley Regional Council, who walked us through the process of "benchmarking" our gas and electric usage in our buildings. We met Carla when we began the process of earning our "Clean Energy Communities" certification earlier this year, which involved taking (and documenting!) some of the great work that Ossining has done to reduce our environmental impact in recent years, as well as implementing some new initiatives to keep us pushing forward. "Benchmarking" is one of our new actions, which will allow us to determine how well our different measures (some suggestions have been insulation around wall sockets and LED light fixtures) will work once we get underway. Once we have a year of reports under our belt (we started with January 2017,) we look forward to sharing our data with you and hearing some new ideas on how to further improve!
You can still get in on the "greening" as a private citizen-- don't forget that the deal on the all-electric Nissan Leaf is still good while supplies last for all Con Ed customers!
This morning, we also held the first meeting of our "Internal Green Team," which included one Town staff member from each of our buildings, to discuss how we can capture some additional energy savings across our departments. As you may be aware, the Town owns very few buildings and rents most of our office/program space from the Village of Ossining (16 Croton Avenue, 86-88 Spring Street, 95 Broadway and the Armory on 9A.) However, we certainly have some room to improve in our own spaces. While all of the internal lights at the Town Highway Department have been converted to LED fixtures, there are still several outdoor lights that contain halogen bulbs, as do the restrooms in our parks, most of our Parks Shop at Ryder Park, and two of our three pavilions. We see this as a great first step towards reducing our carbon footprint, and I look forward to sharing some more ideas from our staff the next time we meet.
Speaking of our Parks, we are back on track with our capital projects work after a few rainy days last week. Our crew spent this week getting our new ADA- compliant picnic benches assembled and sealed, which are headed down to Engel Park as we speak.
Another project this week was to apply a seal coat to the "new" basketball court at Ryder Park. You may remember that, at the recommendation of our Parks Foreman and the Recreation Advisory Committee, we decided to convert the small basketball court next to the Ryder Pavilion to a grassy games area-- it was determined that one of the tennis courts across the park road, which has not been used for some time, would be a suitable replacement for the time being and, after a summer of use, we would revisit the issue in September. The Parks Department was able to use their new sealing machine to make short work of getting the court fixed up yesterday, and spent some time today applying the lines. What a difference a day makes!
I got to visit Cedar Lane Park earlier today for something that's new to us-- the Cedar Lane Arts Center (CLAC) held an art show and some of our youngest residents got to show off what they've been working on with Cathy Carabee-Faiella, one of our exceptional instructors.
It is so much fun to see all of this work paying off and folks enjoying the Arts Center. Have you tried a class yet? Check out the pdf Spring/Summer 2017 Recreation Brochure (2.92 MB) for more information on how you can get your hands dirty this summer at Cedar Lane Park! Or, if you have some art you would like to exhibit this fall, please contact Miriam Haas to be considered for the Ossining Arts Council's first ever Open Studio Tour in October. There are already 14 artists signed up, but there is room for a couple more!
You may remember that earlier this year, Governor Cuomo announced the New York State Excelsior Scholarship, a program which would allow eligible New York State residents to attend a SUNY/CUNY school free of charge. This is the first program of its kind in the United States, and is expected to improve college accessibility for more than 900,000 New York families. Today (Friday, July 21st) is the deadline to apply for the first round of this program which will begin with the Fall 2017 semester. Ready to apply? Head right this way! Not sure if you qualify? Check out the FAQ page after following the link.
Another reminder-- this coming Tuesday, July 25th, is the Town's Foreclosure Auction, which will take place at 16 Croton Avenue at 1PM. There is still time to become a certified bidder-- learn more about the auction here.
That same evening (Tuesday the 25th), the Town Board will be holding our Regular Meeting at the Courthouse (7:30PM), but you may wish to attend the Village of Ossining's meeting instead. Just this once, they will be meeting on a Tuesday, but this will be a special presentation of the Downtown Redevelopment Committee; you can join them in the Budarz Theater at the Ossining Public Library beginning at 7PM. If you can't make it, you will be able to watch it on the Village's Youtube channel later in the week.
In the meanwhile, check out some of these great events this weekend and beat the heat! Don't forget to consider Teatown when preparing your weekend plans-- tomorrow, they are holding a program called "Rabbit Ramble" as part of their "Summer Saturday Adventures" series that your youngsters will love, or the adults can try out "Shirin-yoku" (or "forest bathing", a meditative walk through nature) on Sunday morning. Check our their Eventbrite page to learn more and register for these and other great programs year-round.
I also want to remind everyone who may be looking for some family-friendly activities this summer that the Ossining Public Library offers discounted or free tickets to many local (and semi-local) adventures that you can get with your Library Card! Plan a trip to The Maritime Aquarium in Norwalk, Connecticut or the Neuberger Museum of Art in Purchase, or take a trip into the city to visit the Museum of the City of New York or the New York Transit Museum. The folks at the Circulation Desk can help you get access to these exciting activities this summer, all you need to do is ask! (Maddi in my office asks that I remind everyone that the Bronx Zoo is also free to all on Wednesdays year round, but they will happily take a donation!)
(Thinking of going out on the Hudson on your own? We received this from the NYS Thruway Authority earlier today in reference to some restrictions due to the ongoing work near the Tappan Zee Bridge-- please check it out and observe posted regulations whenever you are out on the water.)
Also, be sure to clear your calendar for Sunday, August 13th at noon, when the Ossining Boat and Canoe Club will host their annual clambake. Looking for tickets? Any member of the OBCC can help, including our very own Town Councilwoman Liz Feldman.
During your travels on Saturday, I urge you to check out the Ossining Farmer's Market between 8:30AM and 1PM-- rumor has it that this year's bumper crop of peaches has arrived and I can attest to their sweetness and juiciness, so grab them while you can! A grilled peach caprese salad, a big icy pitcher of peach lemonade, the possibilities are endless this time of year! The Ossining Public Library will also be on site with their mobile book sale, so consider helping out the OPL while you grab a new beach read.
And don't forget, the St. Augustine's Festival runs through Sunday night, so be sure to take a spin on the Ferris wheel, enjoy some delicious zeppole (light colored clothing is preferable!) and enjoy time with family and friends. Summer is so short!