What a beautiful day! While the weather is a little warm for May, it is so energizing to see the sun shining bright as we move into the weekend.
This week, we received more good news on some of our grants-- the Department of Environmental Conservation notified us that the Town has been awarded an additional $32,000 for two more electric vehicle charging stations in our parks! That brings us to a total of $53,000 in funding from the Zero-Emissions Vehicle Rebate program, which will fund charging stations at Engel Park, Cedar Lane Park, and Ryder Park, as well as the first year of lease payments for Town's new Nissan Leaf. Extra special thanks (once again) to Ron Kamen with Sustainable Westchester for helping us secure this funding. We have been working very hard to make Ossining a more green community, and this is just one of many steps we will take towards that goal.
Speaking of making Ossining more green, Maddi, Victoria, and I met with a subcontractor from NYSERDA last week about ironing out the details of our Clean Energy Communities proposal, which we have to submit to NYSERDA in July. The Town is eligible to receive $50,000 in funding due to the "high impact actions" we completed recently, including Community Choice Aggregation, Energize NY financing, introducing an electric vehicle to our fleet, and committing to benchmarking the Town's energy usage. The $50,000 from NYSERDA will hopefully contribute greatly to improving the bike-ability of neighborhoods in the Town, and we will have more details on this proposal very soon.
Our Work Session this week also brought about some movement on a project that has been on the back burner for some time, which pertains to our beloved Spray Park at Louis Engel Park. The spray park is a destination for many local families on hot summer days, and in 2014, the Town began a conversation about installing a UV recirculation system for the water, which would result in both an environmental and financial benefit for Ossining. The designs were engineered and the Department of Health signed off, and the Town went out to bid for the equipment and installation. Much to everyone's surprise, the bid came in at over $500K and the project was shelved. However, thanks to some creative thinking by our Engineering team, we have figured out a way to completed the work for nearly $200K less than that bid back in 2015 by using one of our annual bidders for the work. Based on our calculations, by using 90% less money on water, the system will have paid for itself within 10 years of its installation and is expected to last many times that long. Also, as our Water Superintendent Andy Tiess pointed out, the Water Department has been hard at work this past year using leak-detection equipment all over the Town and Village to ensure that not a drop is wasted, and implementing this project will help increase available water for all Ossining residents. We see this as a win-win, and the Board has agreed to get the ball rolling. The plan is to start on the installation this fall-- we will keep you posted on our progress. Also, don't forget-- the Spray Park will be open beginning Memorial Day weekend! Check the Town website for information about hours of operation.
Some other great news about our Town Parks-- earlier this year, the Town Board approved some important capital work throughout our Town Parks, as well as at Dale Cemetery. Nearly all of the approved equipment has been purchased, and now we have moved on to the bricks-and-mortar work. This week, our new "Texas Sized Grills" were delivered, and our Parks crew was able to get the footings installed at 2 of our 3 pavilions.
Admittedly, that doesn't seem so exciting on its own. However, when you consider what it will replace, you will see why it's noteworthy. Check out the old grill from the Ryder Pavilion, which has obviously been out of commission for a while.
Next week, all of the restoration work at Ryder Park Pavilion will get underway, including drainage/ gutter work, new stone steps going down to the road, and new pavement around the pavilion and on the basketball court. Cedar Lane Pavilion will get a similar treatment in early June, and then Gerlach will be getting all of these upgrades (and then some) in September. Also in mid-June, our new Picnic Areas, which will include ADA compliant picnic tables, new hot coal disposal cans, and smaller "smoker" grills will be ready to rent. We are making a tremendous amount of progress in our beautiful parks, and we hope you will get out and visit them soon, we are ready for you!
Last weekend was the kick-off to Mind, Body, Spirit - Ossining 2017 with a Recess Rocks lesson from Open Door Friday afternoon. Thank you to Leanna D'Agostino and Open Door's AmeriCorps members for organizing these fun classes for kids and their families. Unfortunately, the Mother's Day workout with Enrique Rosario had to be cancelled due to the crazy amount of rain we got last Saturday. Mark your calendars, though -- Enrique will be back on Sunday, June 11th for a Father's Day workout! There are no scheduled classes this weekend, but next Saturday, May 27th at 3PM, start your Memorial Day weekend right with a Zumba workout at the waterfront with Sue Radparvar of Studio95 Zumba. Sue hosted many classes last year, and we are very excited to have her back. Visit the Town's Facebook page to let us know you plan to come, but registration is not required.
This is going to be another wild weekend in Ossining, starting with another reading of Westchester Collaborative Theater's "The Maltese Babka" at their new spot on Water Street. There is another show on Saturday, May 20th at 8PM, and then a special reading on the afternoon of Sunday, May 22nd at 3PM, which will include a Q&A with the playwright and director.
Tomorrow (Saturday, May 20th), the Ossining Historic Cemeteries Conservancy will be hosting their second gravestone cleaning of the year at Historic Dale Cemetery. No experience is required—just a willingness to learn, and maybe get a little soggy and a little dirty! This is an especially important task, as Dale Cemetery gets ready for many ceremonies and visitors for Memorial Day. Meet at 104 Havell Street at 9AM for a fun morning of community service.
Also tomorrow? The Ossining PBA will be squaring off against the Sing Sing Corrections Officers in a charity softball game at Veterans Park with all proceeds going to benefit the Fagan- Hartye Scholarship Fund. Even better, our buddy Gio Toribio (you may know him as Chief for a Day) will be throwing the first pitch!
On Sunday the 21st, support the Clear View School by running in their annual 5K. Sign in begins at 7:45AM, followed by the Kids’ Fun Run at 8:45AM and the Trail Run/Walk at 9AM. The race starts at the Joseph G. Caputo Community Center and takes place on the historic Old Croton Aqueduct trail.
At the same time, the Ossining Historical Society will be presenting a Memorial Day Program honoring Ossining and local veterans, including Edmond C. Genet, John L. Worden, Robert G. Yerks, Fox Conner and Maryknoll Father Vincent Capodanno. This rain or shine event requires an RSVP—please call 941-0001 to reserve your spot for this special glimpse into Ossining’s story.
Finally, on Sunday May 21st, OVAC will be hosting a very special in honor of EMS Week. Late last year, OVAC purchased a new, state-of-the-art ambulance, which will be dedicated in honor of former Ossining Town Supervisor Martha Dodge. It was through Martha's hard work and perseverance that the Mid Hudson Ambulance District was formed, which provides ambulance service to Ossining, part of the Town of New Castle, and the Villages of Croton and Sleepy Hollow, and is considered a model for EMS shared services state-wide. I hope you will join us at OVAC Headquarters to kick off EMS week and for ambulance dedication.
On Friday, May 26th, the Village of Ossining invites you to "Light the Downtown" as they light 50 trees with more than 50,000 lights.
Looking ahead a few weeks, please mark your calendars for Saturday, June 3rd, when our very own Scott (formerly Captain) Craven will be guiding a boat ride on the Peekskill Evening Star. As we all know, Scott is a nautical history buff, and this promises to be an educational trip on the Hudson.
Finally, I have some exciting news about our Tax Office, which I also shared at our Work Session this past Tuesday. As you may recall, Gloria Fried, who has honorably served as our Receiver of Taxes since 2002, tendered her resignation effective June 30th, 2017. As hers is an elected position, the Town Board has the opportunity to appoint a candidate to the unexpired term. I have the honor of announcing tonight that the Town Board has unanimously chosen Holly Perlowitz, a 30 year resident of Ossining, to the remainder of the term, which expires on December 31st, 2017. Holly is a consummate professional who has served our community in a variety of capacities over the years, and currently serves as Treasurer for the Ossining Micro Fund, sits on the IFCA Board, and was a founding member of Grow Ossining. I am delighted to have the opportunity to appoint Holly to this role at a legislative meeting in the near future. I look forward to working alongside her, and I hope you will join us in welcoming Holly to the Town of Ossining team beginning July 1st.