Happy Friday! Hope you’ve had a great week.
Ossining is closing out Earth Month strong! Last Friday, State Senator Elijah Reichlin-Melnick celebrated a group of Environmental Champions from around the district, and three Ossinauts - Erika Boetsch of the Village EAC, Gareth Hougham, President of the Hudson Valley Stream Conservancy, and Stash the Trash founder Aaron Spring - were among those honored. The ceremony took place at the Louis Engel Park waterfront. I was present to hand out certificates to our local environmental leaders.
This week, the Town and the Village were recognized by 511NY Rideshare twice yesterday for distinctions in the Earth Month Challenge. We won gold for the most rideshare signups and also took home "Most Innovative Event" for last week’s Earth Day festivities. Great work to everyone who participated in the challenge and special thanks and congratulations to Suzie Ross and Green Ossining for hosting the County's biggest and best Earth Day Festival!
The in-person return of Green Ossining’s Earth Day festival after a two year pandemic hiatus was well worth the wait! More than 4,000 people attended from all over the County. It was a beautiful day, with great food, great vendors, and great organizations sharing information about how we can take steps to protect our Earth from climate change. Local Ossining school students kicked off the proceedings with a mini-climate march, and I addressed the crowd to get things started.
Our Town Parks Department – Mario Velardo, Mark Gallagher, Alban Sylaj, and Larry Abreau – worked very hard leading up to, during, and after the event to make sure everything ran smoothly. We also had some of our board members there, and Councilwoman Feldman joined Victoria Cafarelli from my office at our Town tent to discuss alternatives to balloons for celebrations and memorials. Also at the tent: Marcus DaSilva talking about our Food Scraps Recycling and selling our compost kits, as well as highlighting our Compost Give Back Days, coming up next Friday and Saturday, May 6 and 7. (Planning to join us? Click here to complete the form and let us know!)
We also shared information about our draft Comprehensive Plan, as well as the work with Ossining Village on the Climate Adaptive Design project at the waterfront, which you can read more about here. And right next door we had Sustainable Westchester. You may have received a postcard in the mail from the Village and Town talking about how you can save money by reducing your energy usage during peak usage hours by signing up for Grid Rewards. So far, 304 Ossining ConEd customers have signed up for this money saving program, and you can too if you haven’t already! You have until tomorrow, April 30th, to get in on the savings action.
All of this to say, the Earth Day festival was a great way to kick off the spring season, think about our environment, and get back to some semblance of normalcy! On Sunday, I participated in the Stash the Trash event with Briarcliff Sustainability. A fitting way to end Earth Day weekend!
In other good news: earlier today, I attended a press event regarding the much-anticipated study of the section of State Route 9A that runs through the Town, the Village of Briarcliff Manor, and the Town of Mount Pleasant. We are so grateful to our own state legislators, State Senator Elijah Reichlin-Melnick and Assemblywoman Sandy Galef, as well as State Senators Pete Harckham representing Mount Pleasant and State Senator Tim Kennedy, Chair of the State Senate Transportation Committee for funding this study with $3 million from the State for a 10 mile portion of 9A. Also in attendance were Mount Pleasant Town Supervisor Carl Fulgenzi, Briarcliff Mayor Steve Vescio, Croton Mayor Brian Pugh, Town Board members Liz Feldman and Greg Meyer, Village of Ossining Trustee Omar Lopez, as well as representatives from the County Executive and Chair of the County Board of Legislators Catherine Borgia’s offices.
We also heard from a Briarcliff resident, Stephanie Driver, who spoke today about flooding from the Pocantico River, which was worsened by poor drainage along 9A, coming into her home during Hurricane Ida. We have heard from many residents in the Town of Ossining who experienced similar issues, and we are glad to hear that the study will address these drainage concerns along the corridor, including in the Town, giving us a path forward for construction to improve these conditions.
This stretch of 9A has been a serious problem for local drivers and residents. We are happy something is finally being done about it.
Next, Councilwoman Feldman and I headed over to Ossining High School to join Dr. Ray Sanchez, Recreation Superintendent Bill Garrison and his crew, Maddi Zachacz and Jaimie Hoffman from the Village Manager’s Office, Althema Goodson from Catherine Borgia’s office, Suzie Ross from Green Ossining, and teachers and students from Ossining High School’s Cultural Arts and Science classes for our Arbor Day celebration! We celebrated the 150th Anniversary of Arbor Day by planting an American hornbeam by the high school. The high school really put on a show with musical performances by the students and a poetry reading. Even the students from OHS Band Lunch Revue put down their guitars and rolled up their sleeves to help get the tree planted!
It was truly inspiring to see our next generation of environmental advocates doing the hard work necessary to green our planet. Click here to view the video on Facebook. You can continue the Arbor Day fun by enjoying the Nelson Park Story Stroll with your little ones!
In other news, at this week’s Board meeting, we held and closed public hearings on the draft Comprehensive Plan and our new proposed balloon legislation. Thank you to everyone who has shared your thoughts in person and in writing during these public comment periods.
A communications update: Thank you as well to everyone who has, implicitly and explicitly, provided feedback on the new Supervisor’s Update format! Our email analytics (and verbal feedback) show that most people appreciate the shorter email, but also like having all of the secondary information in one place. To accommodate both of those preferences, we will shrink the multi-page format and include simple “Read More” links to the Supervisor’s Blog on our website at the beginning and end of the email version of the Update. Topics that include important information, like Assistance Programs, will continue to have a standalone link on our blog in case you have a need to look for them specifically. But all of the fun stuff will once again be in one place!
If you like to read the Update on your phone but find iContact’s small print challenging, you might consider clicking the “Read More” link at the top to go directly to the blog. You can also follow us on Facebook, where a direct link to the week’s Update blog post is shared at the exact same time as the email blast. And for Instagram users, beginning next week we’ll be upgrading from Linktree to a new “link in bio” solution that will make it even easier to click direct links from our Instagram posts, including the weekly Supervisor’s Update post. The Supervisor’s Office is very committed to keeping everyone informed, and giving you opportunities to inform us!
To streamline the process of getting information into the Update, we also invite members of the community, including local nonprofits, business owners, group leaders, and more, to use this new form to submit items for inclusion in the Update. Items submitted by noon each Wednesday prior to publication will be included in that Friday’s Update, as long as they are appropriate for a general audience. Items do not need to be re-submitted to run multiple times; we will automatically remove events once the date of the event has passed, and continue to include items without dates as long as you would like - just tell us how long in the form. If you would like your submission to be included on the Town’s social media pages, please include a graphic that contains all the information a viewer needs to know about what you’re sharing, as well as a direct link if the viewer needs to register or learn more. Using the form and following the guidelines will help us improve readability and accessibility across formats, and ensure we include items of interest to everyone.
Last minute reminder: Town and County tax bills are due tomorrow, April 30, but will be considered timely if received or postmarked Monday, May 2. The Tax Receiver’s office is open until 6 PM today, April 29, and from 9 AM - noon tomorrow morning, April 30, to assist with bill payment. For more information, visit the Tax Receiver’s page on our website.
We will see you soon - stay safe and be well!
If your business, non-profit, or community group has an event that you would like to submit to be a part of the Supervisor's Update, please complete this form. We are happy to pass along events that provide a benefit to the community and support our local economy. Thank you for helping us to highlight all the best Ossining has to offer!
The Village of Ossining has recently launched its new parking app! Parking downtown just got easier - take a look.