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Debate Continues Over Ossining Boat Club

Ossining Boat and Canoe Club members speak out to keep their club alive at a town board meeting.
Ossining Boat and Canoe Club members speak out to keep their club alive at a town board meeting. Photo Credit: Sam Barron

OSSINING, N.Y. -- Members of the Ossining Boat and Canoe Club are passionate about maintaining their space.

At a town board meeting on Tuesday, Oct. 2, members spoke out against a study designed to see if a restaurant on the second floor of the OBCC space would be feasible.

The study will consider constructing a new building that would be raised 8 to 10 feet because of concerns from FEMA about flooding. The town-owned building is an area of excessive flooding, according to flood plain maps from FEMA.

OBCC members fear these moves would change the character and feel of the working man's club, located at Engel Park on the waterfront.

The restaurant would be part of a public-private-partnership with an unknown private partner. Supervisor Sue Donnelly said they are looking at revenue sources that would bring property tax revenue to the town,

"The building is the responsibility of the Town of Ossining, and we must consider our liability in the event of an emergency, be it physical, structural or otherwise," Donnelly said.

The club, built in 1915, has been owned by the town since the 70s. The town board recently sold the police station to generate revenue.

Greg McWilliams, a local architect, will be conducting the study and said he looks forward to comments from the public.

Meaddows Ryan, a member of the OBCC, pointed out under Supervisor John Cherovkas, the town spent $100,000 on improvements to the club.

"Throwing away $100,000 would be a poor financial decision," Ryan said. "We look out for each other at OBCC. We were up and running right after Sandy."

Robert Bruce, a Croton resident who served as commodore from 2004 to 2007, spoke about what the OBCC meant to him.

"I met my wife there," Bruce said. "I got married there. That's my home."

Councilman Peter Tripodi reminded the OBCC members that this is just a study and the study could come back and say the idea is not feasible.

"We had a study a few years ago to see whether we should make Ossining a city," Tripodi said.

The next night, the town board met privately with the OBCC at the club.

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