Tonight is a big night in Ossining- the Village's "Light the Downtown" kicks off at 7:45PM.
The Village Board, in concert with the Downtown Development Committee, put together this great project to add LED lights to 50 trees in the downtown area, as well as hired a contractor to craft iron fences to contain each tree well. I hope you'll go for a stroll downtown tonight and check out the result of all of this hard work. The Greater Ossining Chamber of Commerce will provide the tunes, and all restaurants who will be offering specials related to the event will be marked with balloons, so head down and grab some delicious bites and cool off with a drink to kick off the long weekend in style! (And, if you want to adopt a tree well, there are still a few available- you can get more information here.)
Meanwhile, in the Town, we have a ton of work going on in our Town Parks to get ready for the season. While the weather has been up and down this week, our Parks crew used the one sunny day on Wednesday to get the Briarcliff Field at Ryder Park ready for action. You might recall that earlier this year, the Briarcliff Little League approached the Town Board about expanding the field, which originally was only suitable for 60' x 40' play, to also accommodate play on a 50' x 70' diamond. In addition, the Little League offered to pay for the appropriate amount of clay and a second set of bases. While the Town agreed and received this check several months ago, the clay was just delivered last week and here are the results in a "Before" and "After" set.
Between Monday and today, the group has been working at the pavilions to get them prepped for the season. The guys are working on replacing the railroad tie steps at Ryder Park with new stone steps, which we hope will last a long, long time without needing replacement or repair. The steps should be done next week.
Gerlach Park's pavilion got this new "Texas Sized Grill" installed (a special feature-- it spins to allow the chef to adjust based on the direction of the wind!) Cedar Lane and Ryder Pavilions are next on the list for this gourmet upgrade.
On Wednesday night, Maddi from my office attended a coordinated meeting between the Department of Environmental Conservation and the Department of Environmental Protection at Croton Village Hall, where the discussion was focused on the DEC's Five Year Management Plan to eradicate Hydrilla in the Croton River. Hydrilla verticillata is an invasive aquatic plant species that was first discovered in the Croton River back in 2013-- the thing that makes this particular plant problematic is that it grows quickly and, without intervention, will clog up the entire river over the next two years. This growth will make it impossible for our residents to enjoy their favorite recreational activities, and of equal if not greater importance, will create an environment that is unable to sustain indigenous plant and animal life. As it stands, the DEC is gearing up to start applying very small doses of fluridone (between 2-4 parts per billion, or ppb, well below New York State Department of Health's maxium of 150 ppb) for between 60 and 120 days this summer, which the DEC maintains is the only conceivable option to save this waterway and potentially avoid the spread of Hydrilla to the Hudson River. The application will take place in the coming weeks and will be closely monitored-- to learn more about fluridone and the Croton River Hydrilla Control Program, you can see presentations from past meetings and get information about the five year plan here.
The Town of Ossining is also doing our part to combat the spread of Hydrilla. We were approached to have Engel Park be part of the 2017 Watercraft Inspection Steward Program, under which a boat steward will be stationed at our waterfront in order to inspect boats entering and leaving the Hudson for any invasive plant or animal life. The stewards will also be part of an educational effort to inform boaters about the spread of invasive species and teach clean boating practices. These positions will be staffed in several other local communities, including Croton, Peekskill and Haverstraw, thanks to Hudson River Clearwater Sloops. Keep your eyes out for our stewards down at the waterfront this summer!
Speaking of our waterfront, the DEC sent out a bulletin earlier this week to encourage motorists to give turtles a "brake" during the summer season. During May and June is when many turtle species native to our region seek sandy areas and loose soil to lay their eggs, which means they are on the move and may be crossing the same road you're using. The DEC advises that you drive cautiously, especially in marshy areas or near rivers, and that if you see a turtle and it is safe to stop, you should try and move them out of the roadway. Be sure not to pick them up by the tail! Most turtles can be lifted with by the sides of their shells. Think you may be dealing with a snapping turtle? Use extreme caution, and either pick them up by the rear of their shell, or slide a car mat underneath them and drag them off of the road surface. Whatever you do, don't take any turtles home with you-- those little guys are protected by law, and they have their own families to hang out with, provide for, and protect. For more information on New York's 11 species of turtles (all of whose populations are declining), check out the DEC's website.
As our week winds down here, I want to remind everyone about a few weekend events. Tomorrow, Saturday May 27th, Sue Radparvar of Studio95 Zumba Fitness will lead an outdoor Zumba workout at Engel Park. This is one of our first Mind Body Spirit Ossining workouts of the season, stay tuned for information on other upcoming classes. On Monday, May 29th, the Ossining Memorial Day Parade will step off at 9:30AM at Croton Avenue at Calam Avenue, which will follow Croton Avenue down to Main Street, take a left onto Spring Street, and finish at Nelson Park. That same morning, the Briarcliff Memorial Day Parade will begin at 12 noon on Pleasantville Road and will finish at Law Park, where all will gather for memorial ceremony and the re-dedication of the new Law Park Pavilion at 1PM. We had nearly a dozen Girl Scout troops make wreaths to commemorate the day, and they turned out great! Thank you so much to Ossining Girl Scout Troops 1215, 1292, 2045, 2205, 2226, 2233, 2295, 2341 and 2353, which include girls from first through eleventh grades, for helping us to honor those who lost their lives in the defense of our freedom.
Finally, if you and your family need some cooling down this weekend, the Spray Park will be open between 12 noon and 6PM Saturday through Monday. The Ossining Farmer's Market at Market Square will also be up and running on Saturday, so come down and pick up some delicious local food for entertaining this weekend-- don't forget to stop at Pickle Licious for some hot peppers and relish to go next to the grill!
The weather is looking kind of dicey for Sunday and Monday so, as always, check the Town Facebook page to see if any of the aforementioned events have changed locations or been cancelled due to inclement weather.
I also want to remind everyone of a few events coming up next week. If you had planned to attend the Ossining Historical Society's boat ride on the Hudson NEXT Saturday, be sure to RSVP soon-- the deadline is fast approaching! (If you miss this event, you can also catch Scott Craven at the Ossining Public Library on June 7th, where he will be sharing the history of local lighthouses-- the talk is set to begin at 7PM.)
As a reminder, Town offices are closed on Monday, May 29th, so we will see you bright and early on Tuesday. Please be sure to take time to honor the memory of those who fought and died so that we could live freely. We remain grateful to them and to their families for all that they sacrificed. Wishing everyone a very safe and happy Memorial Day weekend!