The Summer Concert Series kicks off just one week from today! Every Friday starting July 2 and running through September 3, Louis Engel Park will be the place to be with food trucks lining up at 5pm, and the concert starting at 7pm. Our series will start with The Thornwoods next Friday. Huge thank you to the amazing team that organized this year’s events – the Greater Ossining Chamber of Commerce, Mike and Miriam Risko who helped line up the bands, and Sing Sing Kill Brewery who will be curating the inaugural season of a craft beverage corral. Join us each Friday at the waterfront – we can’t wait!
It is grant season! We applied for several Community Development Block Grants, which is federal funding administered through the Westchester County Department of Planning, to add new amenities to Louis Engel Park including a new bathroom facility at the southern end of the park to replace our existing bathroom facility, rehabilitating the fishing piers, and constructing a smaller combined bathroom/vendor kiosk at the northern end of the park. These applications are part of the Town’s commitment to fund large-scale projects for our parks and public spaces, without solely dipping into taxpayer funds. We are also gearing up for applications to the New York State Consolidated Funding Application, due in July, and we anticipate our applications for state funding will also be focused on our parks. Applying for grants has been a key focus of my time with the Town and I am proud to share the Town has brought in over $1 million in grant funding since the start of my tenure. We will not hear the results of this particular grant for a while, but I will keep you informed as the news rolls in.
The Town was challenged by NYSERDA to help residents reach certain energy-saving goals this year, and we were excited to see so many in Ossining and Briarcliff come on board. Our partnership with Sustainable Westchester made this possible. If you are interested in learning about lowering your electric bill, reducing your carbon footprint, or considering the purchase or lease of an electric car, reach out to them to get helpful answers to your questions. They also keep track of great rebates for residents. This Wednesday, June 30 they are hosting a virtual tour of homes that have adopted energy-smart technologies. Tours are available via zoom starting at 7:30. Register at SustainableWestchester.org/Webinar or call (914) 242-4725 ext. 122.
The NY Emergency Rental Assistance Program (ERAP) is currently accepting applications. This program was created by New York State to support households that are behind on their rent, have experienced financial hardship, are at risk of homelessness or housing instability, and that earn at or below 80 percent of area median income. Once approved, eligible households will receive up to 12 months of past due rent. Those eligible could also receive up to 3 months of additional rental assistance, if the household spends 30 percent or more of its gross monthly income on rent. The program also will provide up to 12 months of utility arrears for eligible applicants. You can apply through the NYS website, but if you need some assistance you can dial 211 and you will be connected with a local non-profit agency who can assist you with your application.
$800 million in small business grants are available to help offset the impact of the pandemic. If you are a small business owner, or know someone who is, you can find more information about the program and small business recovery applications on the New York State website. Grant awards will be calculated based on a business’ annual gross receipts for 2019 and can be used to cover payroll covers, insurance, rent/mortgage payments, and more.
This week we also had Primary Elections across the state. Thank you to everyone who came out to vote in Ossining in a primary for registered democrats. Of course, I would like to thank those who supported my reelection and look forward to being on the ballot in November. Turnout is significantly lower for primaries and during non-presidential election years, and was really low this year. Only about 1500 turned out to vote out of 12,000 registered as democrats. Participation in elections at the local, county, and state level is critically important - in fact the more local the position, the more likely you will engage directly with that elected official or require a service handled by one of our offices. The next big voting date coming up is Tuesday, November 2nd for the General Election. Put this date in your calendar now so you will be ready.
Ossining and Briarcliff have an event-filled summer prepared for residents and visitors!
On Tuesdays in July, the Ossining Recreation Department will offer family-friendly entertainment in a Village park. Shows start at 7pm, so call your favorite local restaurant, pick up dinner, and come by for the fun.
The Village of Ossining is hosting their Summer Acoustic Music Series in Market Square on Wednesday evenings starting July 7th. Shows start at 7pm and end at 8:30.
The Briarcliff Chamber of Commerce is also bringing the summer fun! Music fans are invited to Law Park Field for a concert series starting July 11th and continuing every Sunday until August 1st.
We have made a lot of progress on the COVID front. Just this week the state of emergency was lifted in New York State, which has lifted the remaining restrictions in place and accommodations afforded to businesses and organizations since March of 2020. This means that for the most part, we can go back to enjoying pre-COVID life, but also some of the conveniences we have become accustomed to, like Zoom Town Board meetings (more on that later!). CDC guidelines are still in place, meaning that masks are recommended for anyone who is not yet vaccinated. If you need help navigating the vaccination process, it’s easier now more than ever to cross this item off your list so you can really start enjoying your summer!
The Ossining Volunteer Ambulance Corps is offering Moderna, Pfizer, and Johnson & Johnson vaccines at events next week. The most convenient option? Stop by on Wednesday, June 30 anytime from 9am to 6pm at OVAC headquarters (8 Clinton Avenue). You can make an appointment here. OVAC has partnered with vaxupwestchester.org to help residents with the form or answer vaccine-related questions (Spanish speaking volunteers are available). Remember, it is okay to have questions – this past year has felt overwhelming and there is nothing wrong with speaking with a qualified professional. Local pharmacies are also offering the vaccine and willing to speak to you about the different options.
This week I awarded certificates of recognition to Boy Scouts from BSA Troop 18 for achieving Eagle Scout status. Eagle Scout is the highest achievement or rank attainable in the Boy Scouts of America. Please join me in congratulating these young community leaders!
Ossining and Briarcliff are sending reminders to residents that all dogs over 4 months old must be licensed. These licenses ensure that dogs have up to date rabies vaccinations. They are also used to help track down owners if a furry friend gets lost. Town Clerk Sue Donnelly has put together a short mailer with a QR code to make the license process quick and easy! The mailer also has information about use of the Dog Park at Cedar Lane and Dog Run at Ryder (use is free for residents, $25 for non-residents).
The Ossining Public Library now has an app to help residents navigate the library system, search for items, place holds, and even check out materials. In honor of Juneteenth they released a fantastic reading list and resources for residents interested in learning more. Download the new WLS Mobile App and start reading! The Niche Academy tutorial can walk you through all the steps you need to get started. Check it out here.
The IFCA Housing Network Thrift Store is hosting an outdoor flea market at Star of Bethlehem. Stop by on Wednesday, June 30 from 11am to 3pm for great finds.
Friends of Hilltop Hanover Farm & Environmental Center is launching an outdoor film series. Films will play at sunset on Friday July 2nd, Saturday July 17th, and Saturday July 31st. Rain dates will be the day after the originally scheduled date. Register here for tickets and book now as the guest count is limited.
HORAC Ministries is holding a Fish Fry Fundraiser to offset the cost of their free Community Healing Camp. The Fish Fry is today until 5pm for $20 per ticket. The camp is held during the month of July and every cent counts toward providing food distribution, school supply distribution, family counseling, free lunch, health and wellness information, college mentorship, a fun place for kids and more.
We are also happy to see so many families enjoying the grilling areas at Louis Engel Park. Please be reminded that for groups over 20 people, you need to make a reservation to use the space. By making a reservation, it helps the Town plan ahead and be sure we have enough staff available over the weekend to accommodate visitors. You can learn about how to rent the Louis Engel Park picnic areas, and our other beautiful parks spaces which are available to rent online here. Also, please help keep our parks clean! If a trash can is full, seek out one that is not, or carry out your garbage to throw away at home or at another municipal trash receptacle. Helping reduce litter protects our Hudson River as well as making the park nicer for everyone. We are all in this together!
If you are looking to launch your boat at the Ossining waterfront this weekend, please remember that permits are required for launching watercraft from the Bryan Johnson Boat Ramp at Louis Engel Park. Daily and seasonal passes are available for purchase online at www.buymypermit.com/ossining/. With a seasonal pass, you will be mailed a sticker for your trailer and your license plate will be permitted for parking in the trailer parking spaces near where you can launch your boat. Please note: daily permit holders are not allowed to park in the trailer spaces. We are working on getting updated signage installed at Louis Engel Park, so save yourself time by getting your pass now.
Tuesday is the fifth Tuesday of the month so there will be no Board Meeting next week. The next meeting will be a Work Session on Tuesday, July 6th. Earlier this week, Governor Cuomo announced that the state-wide state of emergency that has been in place due to the COVID-19 pandemic since last March had been lifted. As such, we will need to return to in-person Town Board and Land Use Board meetings starting with our July 6 meeting. I know it has been a while, so please remember that Work Sessions are held on the first and third Tuesdays of the month in the Boardroom at the Ossining Municipal Building (16 Croton Avenue) and Legislative Meetings are held on the second and fourth Tuesdays of the month at the Courthouse (86-88 Spring Street). We are looking forward to seeing people in person again, but remember, you will still be able to view our meetings live on GOTV and on our website, if you still want to keep up with the Town Board virtually.
I hope everyone has a lovely weekend!