If you are reading this on Friday night-- take note! Gullotta House is hosting Family Fun Night down at Louis Engel Park tonight between 6PM and 8:30PM-- procees to benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society. If you leave soon, you will still have time to catch one of Ossining's legendary sunsets over the Hudson, too.
Also tonight-- bring the kids to the Joseph G. Caputo Recreation Center at 95 Broadway for a free screening of Disney's "Moana" starting at 6:30PM-- chips and drinks will be provided. This is a family friendly event, but best for kids between Kindergarten and 4th Grade.
Before we get into all that, let's take a step back! Last Friday, I attended the Council of Governments Meeting at Westchester County Center, where I was joined by our Tax Receiver Holly Perlowitz. The topic of discussion was the concept of Charitable Trust legislation. Not familiar? In a nutshell, New York State has enabled local municipalities to take a series of steps to establish these very specific trust funds which would allow taxpayers to make a donation to one, up to 95% of which could be used to pay local taxes. This would then allow NYS taxpayers to take tax deductions consistent with years past, before the enactment of the SALT (State and Local Tax deduction) legislation which limits deductions for property and income taxes to $10,000. As part of our Town Hall Meeting on Tuesday evening (June 19th), the Town Board will be having a preliminary discussion about our understanding of the process and parameters (which is still, to all parties, incredibly murky). We will be at the Ossining Public Library at 7:30PM for our meeting, which will also include a Special Meeting to hold a public hearing on our CDBG applications (check the Youtube video of this week's joint session with the Village of Ossining), as well as a discussion about our Accessory Apartment law and enacting solar codes. I hope you will join us for what is sure to be an incredibly informative evening.
We have had a busy week here in Ossining-- as the weather gets warmer, we have more and more folks visiting our parks and the work there never stops. This week, the guys were up at Cedar Lane Park (aside from their usual field striping, mowing, etc. all over Town!) doing some work at the Ossining Organic Community Garden. When we were doing some much needed drainage work out at Cedar Lane last year, the OOCG's shed needed to be moved and we have been trying to figure out a new solution ever since. Since they have opted to move forward with buying a new shed that will be delivered at month's end, our Parks Department needed to built something for them to "park" it on. When the shed arrives, it will be seated on this slab to keep it watertight and a little insulated from the very wet ground we have up at Cedar Lane.
However, we are talking about a pretty big shed here, and while our guys are strong, there is no way they can carry it all the way through the garden to the back fence! So the obvious solution? Build an access road. Now, when the shed is delivered, it will be able to be safely dropped into place, and the path will also allow the gardeners at the OOCG to access the shed on a regular basis by a direct path without any trip hazards.
While this work was going on, our Parks Foreman noticed something pretty cool-- our EV (electric vehicle) chargers were both being utilized, and not even by Town of Ossining vehicles!
If you remember, we officially opened these three charging sites (one at Cedar Lane Park, one at Engel Park and one at Ryder Park) on Earth Day back in April. Since the Town's installation costs have been subsidized by a grant from New York State, we are also able to provide three hours of free charging per vehicle, and it's great to see that some of our residents (or Park visitors) have availed themselves of this program. Keep it going, Ossining! We are doing a great job of lessening our dependence on fossil fuels, one day at a time.
On Tuesday of this week, we met with John and Jennie Nolon of Pace Land Use Law Center who we partnered on a successful CFA State Grant last year. We discussed what our approach will be to develop a work plan review to update municipal land-use policies and regulations to incorporate complete streets and smart growth principles such as mix of land uses, compact design, housing diversity, walkability, open space preservation and development that fosters non-motorized transportation options as part of achieving Climate Smart Communities certification and local public health goals. As Pace continues to help us develop this plan, we will update the board and the community.
Today, I also took a ride up to New Paltz to visit the DEC with Gareth Hougham of Hudson Valley Arts & Science, as well as Village of Ossining Mayor Victoria Gearity, Village Manager Debbie McDonnell, and Town Council Member Liz Feldman (and former Commodore of Ossining Boat & Canoe Club). Gareth has been working with grant money from the NYS Department of Environmental Conservation to develop a plan and get permitting in place for a new public dock extension which would go off the Village dock next to the ferry dock. Gareth has been working with multiple stakeholders to help Ossining find ways to increase safe, affordable recreational access to the Hudson River for community members, as well as to make Ossining more accessible for different types of large and small boats alike. It was a productive meeting, and hopefully after a year of working to come up with a plan to address all the many interests, there are now clear next steps to take in order to get closer to a blessing and eventually permitting by the DEC.
The Ossining Farmer's Market is back this weekend after a short break last week, and it's looking like a beautiful weekend on the horizon-- why not stop and pick up some snacks to entertain friends while you listen to some live tunes from Marc Fleisher and the Pen Pals? This Saturday also brings another pig roast from SVF Kitchen, and you will be able to pick up containers of pulled pork beginning at 11AM. Grab some veggies to cook up and you're ready to dine al fresco to welcome summer to Ossining!
We will also be kicking off the 3rd year of Mind, Body, Spirit Ossining this weekend. We started this afternoon with Recess Rocks! at Engel Park, and tomorrow morning (Saturday), my good friend Elisha Simpson of the Crossover Yoga Project will be hosting Rise and Shine Yoga at 8:30AM, also at Engel Park. Later that morning at 10:30AM, join the ladies of Delphi Dance Ensemble and try your luck at some belly dancing, right on the Engel Park stage. Look here for the schedule for next weekend through the end of July-- more to come in August and September!
Also tomorrow? Portugal Day! Come enjoy some delicious Portuguese food (I will probably be assigned to bring home a dozen "Natas," or egg custard tarts), some traditional and modern Portuguese music, and so much more. The fun starts at noon at the corner of Main and Spring Street-- see you there! Pro tip: the fun goes until 11PM, so pace yourself!
Beginning this coming Tuesday (6/19), St. Ann's Parish will hold their annual parish festival on the grounds of St. Ann's School (Eastern Avenue)--be sure not to miss this popular community event, which will run each evening through Sunday, June 24th between 6PM and 11PM. Come for games and rides, but stay for the food-- it is not uncommon among Ossining residents to visit each night (yes, each night of six nights) for dinner, and there are plenty of choices, from Italian fare to Portuguese treats, cherrystone clams on the half shell (a personal fave) and so much more. I suspect after that advertisement, I will see you there. Right?
You can also check out "The Sting" at Bethany Arts Community on Somerstown Road, produced by Theater O. With gender-blind casting (seventh-grader Audrey Schnecker plays Johnny Hooker, the Robert Redford role), this show encapsulates the slick and sassy world of the 1930s con. Working with unique staging (audience on two sides) and fun choreography and music, the play will delight audiences of all ages. Get your tickets for the shows on Thursday (6/21), Friday (6/22) or Saturday (6/23) nights here-- tickets are $10 each and all shows begin at 7PM.
The 23rd is going to be a great day for community service-- besides the gravestone cleaning, you can sign up to help Green Ossining and the Village of Ossining to stencil Ossining's storm drains and keep our storm water system healthy. There are more than 2,000 storm drains in Ossining, and between 10AM and 12 Noon on Saturday the 23rd, you can help get some of them stenciled. Sign up here to volunteer- spots are limited!
Wishing a very Happy Father's Day to all the great dads, granddads, step-dads, and father figures out there. We all benefit so much from having strong male role models in our lives and in our community, and I am incredibly thankful to have had so many in mine.