I am very excited to get this weekend going! Most of us in Ossining think of the Village Fair as the real kick-off to summer, and it's almost here! I hope that you will join me, along with several thousand of your friends and neighbors from Ossining and throughout Westchester, for a fun day of live music, food, shopping and general merrymaking. If you plan to drive to downtown, please remember to give yourself plenty of time to find parking-- it's usually a little tight. However, since the weather is expected to be nice, why not walk it? (Or, at least, some of it?)
Make sure you stop by the Town of Ossining booths outside of Bob's Army Navy-- the Town Environmental Advisory Committee, along with Green Ossining, will be there to teach you more about how you can get involved in making our community more sustainable, and at the Town table, learn about our upcoming events this summer, including the 3rd year of Mind, Body, Spirit Ossining! Check out the 2018 schedule here.
As a special reminder, due to the Fair, there will be no Ossining Farmer's Market this Saturday. However, there will be plenty to snack on at the Fair itself, so you won't go hungry, we promise!
We had a wonderful event at Dale Cemetery this past Sunday unveiling the new map and signage for the Dale Cemetery Heritage Trail, which were paid for from a NY State grant through State Senator David Carlucci’s office. Former Town of Ossining Historian (and current Ossining Historic Cemeteries Conservancy member) Martha Mesiti shared some background on the project with the assembled crowd before we got to head out and take a look for ourselves.
The signs look bright, clean, and tell the stories of some of Ossining's most famous and interesting residents in a way that is approachable and fun-- special thanks to the OHCC for all of their hard work on this project, which we are sure will continue to bring visitors and students of local history to Ossining well into the future.
Please take some time to pay a visit to the Cemetery and to immerse yourself in Ossining’s History. Big, big thanks to our partners, Ossining Historic Cemeteries Conservancy for all their hard work in getting this trail ready for prime time and to Pete Connolly and our Cemetery staff for all of their time and effort as well.
On Tuesday, we attended the Mid Hudson Region’s Economic Development Grants Kick-off for 2018. Now that we have heard what the focus is of the region and the state, we will be evaluating the projects we have in the works, some of which also involve Dale Cemetery, to determine which of them might be eligible for grant funds through New York State. It is also an excellent way for us to generate ideas for future plans as well. Live, Work, Play continues to be the focus of our region and many of our initiatives to increase use and access to our public spaces align nicely, so stay tuned for more information from us on grant applications.
You may remember that last week, I shared with you that Performance Artist Tim Youd would be joining us here in Ossining for a special project. Well, last Sunday, Tim got started with his re-typing of "Falconer" by John Cheever in our very own Guard Tower in Louis Engel Park.
I went to visit Tim and see how he was doing-- he loved the view, but he did ask to borrow a fan, a request I was happy to accommodate.
Go visit Tim during daytime hours during the next week, and learn more about his innovative work in this NYTimes article from this April.
On the other side of Town, our Parks employees (in an effort to let Tim type in peace, just kidding), lots of work has begun to shore up some of our other parks for the season. One of the most crucial projects on the schedule? Do some drainage work at Buck Johnson Park off of North State Road.
You may be thinking, hey, that doesn't look so bad, right? Wrong. Check out the flooding on the park from another angle and you can see why this went to the top of the list.
With some shallow trench work, our guys managed to secure the area and control the runoff, so we will be seeing a lot less water on the park surfaces during the next rainstorm, which hopefully is several months away.
The water has now been re-routed into a drain, and woodchips were added to hold back the groundwater, they will tackle the other, less damp side of the playground this fall. Nice work, guys!
They have also spent quite a bit of time at Gerlach Park, where we are still working to finish up the Pavilion and get it ready for summer renters. Before the final paving, though, there was some sitework still to do, including the removal of a rotting tree stump...
...and the installation of a retaining wall coming up the service road hill to the Pavilion, which started, as most walls do, as just a pile of rocks.
By digging down a bit and making a foundation, the wall quickly came together.
If you've never seen a stone wall built, it is a very cool process seeing how smaller pieces of stone are wedged in to hold the larger ones up, and several of our guys are pros at it.
Check out the finished product-- pretty impressive huh?
I was also invited to meet this week with Ossining resident Michael Fermann, who has a special request for the Town and Village Boards. Michael has identified a problem-- after inviting a friend with a physical disability to join him at the playground, he learned that most playgrounds (including those here in Ossining) are not accessible to kids with mental, sensory or physical disabilities. There are, however, several brands of playground equipment that allow everyone to play together, and Michael asked me and Mayor Gearity if we would consider learning more and integrating these pieces into our Ossining playgrounds. We think this is an excellent idea and are excited to learn more, and I am so appreciative of Michael bringing this is our attention. Well done!
Earlier this week, we officially announced the lineup for Ossining’s 2018 Summer Waterfront Concert Series to be held at Louis Engel Park-- we are starting a few weeks before the fireworks this year, thanks to the generous donations from The Westchester Bank, Sterling National Bank, Greater Hudson Bank and The Mike Risko Music School, which have allowed us to expand the series, a request that community members have made for several years now. Check out the acts we have scheduled for this summer, and get your folding chairs and coolers ready for another great summer on the Hudson here in Ossining!
- Friday, June 22nd: Roadhouse Roosters
- Friday, June 29th: Out After Curfew
- Tuesday, July 3rd: The Jon Bates Band will start the Independence Day celebration off at 7:30PM. Bring your dancing shoes because this party band will be sure to get you up on your feet before and after you watch the dazzling fireworks display explode over the Hudson River.
- Friday, July 6th: Soul Projekt
- Friday, July 13th: Taj Weekes
- Friday, July 20th: Jigsaww
- Friday, July 27th: KJ Denhert
- Thursday, August 2nd: Powderfinger
- Friday, August 10th: The Mike Risko Band
- Friday, August 17th: DJ Catch1
- Friday, August 24th: Sundad
- Friday, August 31st: Culture Hound at 7PM; The Old Mill Singers at 8PM.
All performances begin at 7PM unlkess otherwise noted-- make sure to bring some cash with you and enjoy dinner at one of our amazing local food trucks. It makes for a great night on the waterfront that the whole family can enjoy, and still get home in time for the evening news.
So with all that good news, lets boogie into the weekend, shall we? Kicking off the weekend is first night of the Ossining Jazz Festival, a tribute to women in jazz and blues. Tonight, check out Anne Carpenter and Camille Gainer Jones starting at 7:30PM at the Elks Lodge-- Saturday night will also take place at the Elks Lodge, featuring Kristen Mather de Andrade at 7:30PM and KJ Denhert at 9PM, and on Sunday, Bethany Arts Community will host the Ossining School Jazz Ensemble beginning at 12:30PM. Purchase your tickets here.
Finally, the OCAA (Ossining Cultural Arts Advocates, a volunteer group working with the Ossining Union Free School District) wants you to clean your closet and donate to our schools. The OCAA and PTA are collecting shoes to raise money for teacher grants and student scholarships, and the goal is to collect 2500 pairs of new, used and gently-worn shoes by the last day of school. There is a collection box in each OUFSD school, and also one at Theater O on State Street. They aren't too picky when it comes to style-- bring your shoes from last season, those outgrown by your kids, galoshes, cleats, crocks, clogs, platform shoes, even swim flippers!
In some sad news, we learned last Friday that longtime Village and Town Constable and Court Officer Allen Gantz had passed away. Allen was an active community member, running Miller’s Cleaners for many, many years, spent more than 30 years volunteering with OVAC, and serving as a Volunteer Firefighter for Ossining Hose Company # 1. Married to his wife Helen, and love of his life just 2 days short of 52 years, he was beloved by his daughters and their families. He will be sorely missed by the Ossining community.
The Town Board will not be meeting on Tuesday next week, but instead will hold a brief Legislative Session at the Ossining Public Library's Budarz Theater beginning at 6:30PM on Wednesday, June 13th, before we join with the Village of Ossining Board of Trustees to hear your feedback about the Community Development Block Grant projects we will propose for this coming three-year cycle, and that part of the meeting will begin at 7PM. Looking forward to seeing you there!