Does anyone else remember a few days ago when it was 60 degrees and sunny? That was nice.
We are really up against it with this weather. All over Ossining (and, really, Westchester), there have been reports of blown transformers and power outages, along with downed trees and power lines. We know that Con Ed has extra crews working through this, so if you are suffering from an outage, please know that teams are working to get you up and running. It seems that the worst of the precipitation is behind us, but the wind is expected to continue through the early morning tomorrow. Please make sure all your devices are charged, and download the Con Ed app on your tablet or smartphone. Their interactive outage map continues to improve and will show you real-time information about outages and expected restoration times in your neighborhood. If you need to report an outage, call 1-800-75-CONED.
In the meantime, please help our first responders and stay off of the roads to the extent possible. If you see a downed power line, avoid it and dial 911. Make sure that you observe the parking rules that apply in your neighborhood, and be sure to check on your elderly neighbors if possible. We are great at pulling together during times like these, so hopefully before we know it, the sun will be shining again.
This past week, the Town Board had several special guests at our Legislative Meeting, beginning with County Executive George Latimer. The CE has been in Ossining several times over the last month, joining us for a press conference about the County's support for the Sing Sing Prison Museum Project and teaming up with County Legislator Catherine Borgia for Coffee and Conversation at the Community Center. Just last week, he attended a Village of Ossining Board Meeting to discuss the County's Good Neighbor Policy, the very same legislation he came to discuss with us. One of Mr. Latimer's first priorities when he was sworn into office was getting this legislation passed-- the idea is that, whenever the County is considering policy that will affect a local municipality, the County will consider feedback on the issue from the municipality before pressing forward. George was only with us for a few minutes, but he had a great message to share-- watch the meeting video here (34:15).
Our next guest was Eagle Scout hopeful Ryan Salyer. Ryan came to us in a bit of an unusual way—last year when our Parks staff was cleaning up Cedar Lane Pavilion, the far steps leading down to the football field were brought to my attention. The steps are made of wood, and while expertly constructed, are starting to look a little worn and in need of repair. The plaque nearby told us that Anthony Pili, an Ossining resident, worked on the steps as his Eagle Scout project many years ago, and go figure—we know Anthony from Greater Hudson Bank! Anthony got in touch with the local troops and found a scout to work on the project with us.
Ryan, who has been in scouting for 6 years, joined us at our meeting to discuss his proposed idea for a scope so he can get to work fundraising for the project. The Board was happy to learn that Ryan has been working with Parks Foreman Mario Velardo to get an idea of what materials he will need to move forward, and the Board gave him a very enthusiastic thumbs up! We are so very fortunate to have young people like Ryan in our community who know the importance of giving back, and we can't wait to see what he comes up with.
I am looking forward to warmer day as we have closed the Request for Performers for the 2018 Summer Concert Series. We had 38 (!) bands submit their credentials to be considered, and the Ossining Arts Project will be meeting soon to give everyone a listen and pare down the list (although we wish we could have them all!)
We can hopefully have a few more bands perform in 2018, as we have been hard at work seeking sponsors for the series. Do you work for or own a local business who may be interested in contributing to this community tradition? We are hopeful that, if we bring in enough donations, we can have a few Saturday concerts this year as well. With the variety of genres seeking a spot this year, you could attend every concert and hear a different style of music each time. From world fusion to urban folk soul, from modern country to "high energy dance grass," the OAP has their work cut out for them!
Engel Park is the place to be when it gets warmer, and our Parks crew is hard at work to get it ready for Spring. You may recall that last year, the Town was awarded grant funding to help us purchase three electric vehicle charging stations, and we decided that Engel Park would be a great place to put one. Our waterfront is a little tricky in terms of jurisdictional boundaries-- Metro North owns all the spots facing the train platforms, the 3 Westerly side of the waterfront, as well as the train station parking facing the water, is Village of Ossining property, and Louis Engel Park (from the Boat and Canoe Club south to Sing Sing Prison) is Town property. However, as you may have noticed, the Town only has a handful of spaces in a small separate lot inside the park. To avoid losing a parking spot to the charging station, we evened off the lot with its current lines.
We bumped out the parking lot borders and have actually created two additional spots, one of which can only be used as an EV Charging spot.
Since setting up the concrete forms took a while, our Parks crew also decided to replace the sidewalk around the comfort station. Both projects are all prepped and ready for concrete & blacktop, which should get done next week (weather permitting, of course-- the snow starting early today caught us off guard.)
On the other side of Town, another one of our parks got some well deserved love this week. Just before the Cedar Lane Arts Center first opened last Spring, we announced a sign contest wherein folks could submit an idea for CLAC's branding campaign. At the opening, the Ossining Arts Council announced the contest winner-- Brian Sheridan submitted an awesome cedar cone design which he explained showed off small parts that equaled a whole, similar to how the Art Center came together, and which the OAC felt lent itself to the history and future of the site, and our guys got to work bringing it to life last summer. With the help of Keith Gordon and the OAC, our Parks staff used pieces from an old Cedar Lane Park dock and pottery shards from CLAC to create this beautiful burnished wood sign, which we unveiled on Wednesday afternoon. Left to right are Keith Gordon, Brian Sheridan and Mario Velardo.
We got a big crowd at the unveiling, which also served as an art show for some of our AMD students. We enjoyed refreshments after the unveiling, Cathy Carabee Faiella led her regular art class for younger children, and everyone had a great time learning about CLAC and the offerings for spring and summer. If you are interested in trying out an adult or children's art program, there are lots of programs from which to choose. Check out the registration brochure for more information.
Yesterday I attended the Lower Hudson Urban Waters Summit to learn more about how other communities in the region are approaching caretaking of their rivers and streams. There were many great speakers and organizations represented. Mitzi Elkes from the Town’s Environmental Advisory Committee and Gareth Hougham from the Town Planning Board were both in attendance. There was a lot of information shared about different approaches to taking care of our precious asset: water. We will continue to work collaboratively with all parties to make sure we do our part to protect clean water in Ossining.
Once this windy, soggy weather leaves us later tonight (we hope), we will have a couple days to dry out, and it's a good thing too-- there is plenty to do around Ossining this weekend. The Ossining Arts Council and Westchester Collaborative Theater will team up for the next several weeks to present their Living Art Event at the Steamer Firehouse on Main Street (although the performance for tonight, March 2nd, has been canceled)-- as with all other events this time of year, be sure to check social media before heading out to ensure there have been no weather related complications.
Tomorrow will also be a great chance to get to the Down to Earth Farmer's Market at Market Square-- no Oscars Party would be complete without snacks, like a nice bruschetta with bread from Wave Hill Breads and olives from Pickle Licious... grab a bottle from Adega Wine Shop and you're in business.
Join ODDS on the 15th for a special "Bring Your Daughter to the Documentary" event-- Girl Power!!
On March 16th, the Bethany Arts Community, housed in the former Maryknoll Brothers building on Somerstown Road, will be hosting their first Local Artists Exhibition. Come check out this beautifully restored space and meet the fantastic folks who have chosen to make Ossining their new home.