Well, today is the day that some of us have been waiting for and some have been dreading-- the first day of fall! We had a fairly mild summer and it sounds like the warmer weather will continue for at least another few weeks, but the calendar tells us that today is the day to break out the Halloween decorations and brew up some pumpkin spice coffee. Looking for a slightly less commercial way to celebrate the day? The Mariandale Center at 299 North Highland Avenue will be celebrating the Autumnal Equinox tonight at 6:30PM-- come learn about the Equinox, take an Autumn Labyrinth prayer walk, and enjoy seasonal refreshments while the sun sets. Visit www.mariandale.org for more information on this and the other fantastic programming offered right here in Ossining.
On Tuesday, my office, along with Village of Ossining Mayor Victoria Gearity, Village Manager Debbie McDonnell and Village/Town Engineer Paul Fraioli were joined by representatives from the Westchester County DOT, Green Ossining, the Village's Downtown Redevelopment Working Group, Pace University's Land Use Law Center and Open Door for an Idea Accelerator Workshop; this full-day workshop was brought to us by Bloomberg Philanthropies as part of their Mayors Challenge competition, which is a chance for a community to win up to $5 million to implement a project. Ossining was one of 300 communities across the country to participate in one of these workshops. The "problem" we chose to examine was transportation, and we spent the whole day “unpacking” problems related to transportation in our community, in an effort to better identify ways to increase connectivity utilizing alternative approaches to transportation methods, such as jitneys, technology, and multi-modal approaches to transportation for cyclist and pedestrian access. This exciting opportunity came up with very short notice, so we look forward to bringing more stakeholders to the table over the course of the next few weeks to develop an “idea” to submit to the Mayors Challenge. In addition to helping us develop a competitive application, this workshop was a great exercise in problem solving and thinking outside the box on tough issues facing Ossining and ways we can innovate solutions that can be replicated nationally and internationally to help other communities combat similar challenges. Here we are with our facilitator, Elias Alcantara, who helped us stay focused throughout the day! (Admittedly, the meals provided by Good Choice Kitchen were deliciously distracting at times.)
Construction continues at the Route 9A/ Route 134 intersection, although I am proud to say that the local share of the work is nearing completion. I went out on Wednesday and visited our Town Highway Department securing the three new sections of stormwater pipe running parallel to Route 9A and got to see the completed wall section as well.
Big shout out to Matteo Velardo, John Orlando and Kevin Moore for their hard work and to our Highway Foreman John Martin and our Superintendent of Highways Michael G. O'Connor (shown here with me, admiring the guys' handiwork) for seeing this project through after many long years of hold ups.
The State will be continuing work through next week, so please be sure to observe the detours for another few days. As much as this project forced a lot of us to adjust our schedules a few times, I will say that I am extremely proud of how well we were able to coordinate-- this was a nearly unprecedented collaboration between three government entities to get four important projects completed in a tight time frame. Congratulations to everyone on all of the hard work that went into this. We can't wait to see the finished product!
Work has also continued at the Cedar Lane Park, which we are getting in great shape for next summer. Our Parks crew began the work of attaching the installed gutters on the pavilion to the underground drainage, which required a lot of digging.
Once the drainage pipe was laid in place to capture the runoff from the roof, the next piece was to tie in the new drainage to the existing system. Guess what? More digging.
Luckily, the guys were able to make short work of this thanks to the new excavator we were able to purchase as per the Town Board's 2017 Capital Improvement plan. We got this excavator off of a state contract, and I dare say that after 6 months of service, it has more than paid for itself.
As we know, all of our parks (especially Cedar Lane) are used year-round, so this work on the pavilion will also lend itself to a new and improved "Forest O' Fears" for 2017, which will take place over two nights, on October 27th and 28th, this year.
Why are they beginning late on October 14th? Well, that day, the Ossining PBA will be holding its Road and Trail 5K, with proceeds benefitting the Hope for Heroes Foundation-- register here! The race will begin at 9AM, with on-site registration beginning at 7:45AM. Make sure to sign up for this great community event that supports a great cause.
Our friends in the Village of Ossining wish to remind you that, beginning on the evening of Monday September 25th, we will begin our semi-annual 5 week long hydrant flushing throughout the Village of Ossining and Unincorporated Town, which will take place between the hours of 9PM and 1AM to minimize disruption to residents. When they are flushing in your neighborhood, you may notice some discolored water early in the morning—don’t be alarmed, just run the tap for a few moments. If the discoloration persists, please call the water department at 941-6111.
Another important reminder for the coming week-- School Tax bills are due by September 30th. Technically, since the due date falls on a weekend, payments will be accepted by the Tax Office through Monday, October 2nd. In order to accommodate folks who wish to pay in person, the Tax Office on the 3rd Floor of 16 Croton Avenue will hold extended hours (8AM-6PM) on the last days of collection (Thursday September 28th, Friday September 29th, and Monday October 2nd.) Want to be notified of all of these deadlines? You can subscribe to Holly's emails here.
Speaking of which, I encourage you to consider stopping by Saint Augustine Church on Sunday, September 24th between 9AM and 3PM for their community blood drive. The New York Blood Center will be in the Parish Hall accepting donations in honor of our very own Gio Toribio, a very brave little 5 year old who, not very long ago, was diagnosed with a very aggressive form of cancer. Gio has since been given a clean bill of health, but consider helping those like him who are still in need by donating blood this Sunday. Walk-ins are welcome, but you can also make an appointment online here.
We have an incredible weekend coming up in Ossining, so let's get it started!
Maryknoll Sisters will hold their annual Fall Festival tomorrow (Saturday the 23rd) between 11AM and 4PM, including craft and food vendors, children's activities, live entertainment and a raffle. Click here for more information on this family friendly event.
This is the second-to-last weekend of the 18th Annual Hudson River Valley Ramble, so check out some of the other programming coming up in our area by visiting www.hudsonrivervalleyramble.com. You have a lot of local options for tomorrow, Saturday September 23rd.
Other events taking place this weekend and beyond are highlighted below.
On Saturday, September 30th, Yoshimi Arai of Magokoro New York (you may recognize her for her local art shows and her beautiful artisinal gifts at our annual Earth Day celebration) will be hosting "The Art of Making Sushi" at our very own Cedar Lane Arts Center. The program runs from 11AM-1PM, you can register here. In October, she will be hosting a session of Origami for Kids and a session of Origami 101 for adults, also at CLAC-- check out the pdf Fall Recreation Brochure (3.31 MB) for information on how to sign up for one or all of these great experiences in our park.
Finally, have you heard about #OssiningRocks? This group is painting rocks to "hide" around Ossining to cheer up their neighbors, and it's easy to participate! All it takes to participate is some rocks, paint and a paintbrush and some creativity! (You can Google it or check our Pinterest for ideas, if you're feeling unsure at first. Be sure Check out their Facebook group to learn more about this fun group activity, and take advantage of this opportunity to spread some cheer around Ossining!