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Ardsley Village Manager Offers November Report

Photo Credit: Village of Ardsley

VILLAGE MANAGER REPORT FOR MONDAY, NOVEMBER 17, 2014 PREPARED BY GEORGE F. CALVI   1. THRUWAY GRANTS TEMPORARY USE PERMIT: am pleased to advise you that on November 4, the New York State Thruway notified the Office of the Village Manager that it has agreed to amend the use permit for us to use the requested space behind the DPW garage for the duration of the 30 month Ashford Avenue bridge rehab project commencing March 2015 to store our public works vehicles that will be displaced from the front of the garage during the construction.  They will not charge us an annual rent but rather a one time $500 permit amendment fee. I have extended a special note of thanks to Gail Winters, Division Permit Coordinator, at the NYSTA office in Suffern for all her assistance in this matter.   2. THANKSGIVING OBSERVANCES: Village administrative offices, the Library, the Community Center and the DPW will be closed on Thursday, November 27 and Friday, November 28 in observance of Thanksgiving.  There will be no bottle and can recycling collection  that week, and there will be no trash collection on Friday. However, there will be a Village-wide trash collection on Saturday, November 29.  For more details about the recycling and trash collections, please call the DPW garage at 693-0117.   3. TAX BILLS DUE: The second installment of the Village tax bill becomes payable on December 1 and can be paid without penalty until the end of the business day on Wednesday, December 31. Though the other administrative offices will be closing at 12 noon that day in observance of New Year's Eve, the Office of the Village Treasurer shall remain open until 4:00 pm to receive payments. Payments made in person after December 31, or that arrive via mail postmarked by the USPS after December 31, or arrive after December 31 without a USPS postmark,  will be assessed a late penalty as required by New York State Real Property law.  Meter-mailed postmarks are not valid proof of timely payment. Please bear in mind that no Village official is empowered to waive the late fee for any reason.   4. JOINT REPAIRS ON BRIDGE: This week and next there will be joint repairs on the Ashford Avenue bridge which is going to generate traffic.  First of all, the on / off ramp of the bridge will be closed this Wednesday through Friday (Nov. 19-21), and then again on Monday and Tuesday (Nov. 24-25) of next week.  The posted detour for motorists who customarily use that ramp will be at Lawrence Street.  The closure hours will be limited from 9:30 am to 3:30 pm each day, and the ramp will be open to motorists on the weekend.   There will also be a single lane closure each direction between Route 9A and Southfield Avenue near Scaramella's Restaurant in Dobbs Ferry on Thursday and Friday (Nov. 20-21) of this week, and Monday and Tuesday (Nov. 24-25) of next week also between the hours of 9:30 am and 3:30 pm.  Should you have any questions, kindly telephone the Westchester County Traffic Engineering Division at 995-2555.      5. THANKS FOR THE MEMORIES: In 1946 Sam Goldwyn released a wonderful film called "The Best Years of Our Lives."  The drama received seven Academy Awards including Best Picture, and had absolutely nothing to do with me.  Its title, however,  pretty much sums up the last 24.5 years of my life spent with you as your Village Manager.  Little did this fellow know back in 1990, he would be spending nearly a quarter of century dealing with the trials, tribulations, and triumphs of this one square mile community.   In a sense 1990 was a relatively quiet time in the Village, and much was still done with pencil and pen.  The Village Treasurer and the Village Clerk would break their routine each day at 10:00 am, and prepare tea and scones for themselves and anyone who happened to stumble into the offices.  Computers had not arrived yet, nor had postage machines, fax machines, copy machines with collators, or even smoke detectors, but we did have an Addressograph! Construction was slow.  If my memory serves me correctly, a grand total of 5 building permits were issued that year. The fleet of vehicles were ancient, but not as ancient as our Village Hall whose attic and walls were shelter to many squirrels, bats, and other furry fauna, with  heaving floors, a failing HVAC system, and  non-functioning windows. The timbers in the basement were still scarred black from an oil fire in the 1970s, and one of my first big assignments was to secure a firm to install metal reinforcements so the floors wouldn't collapse.  My second big assignment was to get a bond issue to cover the cost of introducing computers to the workforce.  My third big assignment was to determine how to address the trout who had taken up residence in the Village Green parking lot -- a very long story unto itself.   The Village Board was embroiled in a debate with the local merchants about the costly retro-fitting of fire sprinklers in the various storefronts, and much in the way of midnight oil was burnt as this routine stretched on for months and months.   Roll the cameras forward to 2014.  To the casual observer not much has changed, but the landscape really has changed, and the changes have been vast.  The ancient Village Hall was finally demolished and a new modern facility was erected in 1998. A new fire house arrived a few short years later. The reconstruction of Ashford Avenue and its sidewalks, first conceived by my predecessor, Tim Idoni, in 1989, was finally completed in 2001. The library endured not one but two expansions thanks to the generosity of the Carvel Foundation and a joint services contract with the Village of Elmsford, and of course the legendary tenacity of Floyd Lichtenberg.  The 1960s vintage ASVAC building was demolished, and thanks to the cooperation of the NYC DEP and the leadership of Captain Pat Hoffmann and her volunteers, a new modular building arrived in the last decade.  The bucolic Jordan property was subdivided, and Jordan Lane came to be with its several beautiful homes.  The Ardsley Garden Club with the help of a state grant erected a beautiful clock in Addyman Square. Thanks to Arline Weston and Frank Jazzo, Revolutionary War signs were erected in Bicentennial Park and McDowell Park illustrating Ardsley's role in that era. With the guidance of the Little League Commissioners and Mayor Leon the parking lot was paved  in McDowell Park, a new modular restrooms facility arrived, and 4 ball fields were restored.  Pascone Park has its skatepark now thanks to Lorraine Kuhn, and a gazebo thanks to Cheryl Mathew.  Milton Pintell subdivided his property and the 175 unit Woodlands - Atria and the nearby beautiful homes on Sylvia Avenue came to be.   Consolidated Edison was finally persuaded to take over the maintenance of the power lines on McCormick Drive which ensured the Middle School would receive immediate response in the event of a power outage after a major storm. Bridge Street was revived with the arrival of new or remodeled buildings occupied by Doctors United, Riviera Bakehouse, Bucci Auto, and Stagioni.  Lou Cillo built a beautiful office building on the south side of the Village, and Maurice Hyacinthe and the DeCicco Brothers revitalized a shopping center in the heart of the Village.  Mayor Leon secured a large state grant, and,  with the aid of Don Marra, we now have sidewalks we can be proud of on Heatherdell Road, at least between Farm Road and Town Park.   And the changes will continue.  Although the plans are in place, I leave a Village Board and a very talented new Village Manager who will be faced with the tasks of contending with the reconstruction of the Ashford Avenue bridge, the widening of a portion of Route 9A, the dedication of the 22 unit affordable housing project on the former Waterwheel Restaurant site, and whatever traffic is generated during the construction of Rivertowns Square.  I have full confidence that Mayor Porcino and Trustees Malone, Kaboolian, DiJusto, and Monti will perform their tasks admirably as did the five mayoral administrations before them.    Often I hear people say they moved here for the schools, and  though the schools dearly deserve their fine reputation, I dare say the schools represent only part of the equation. Ardsley has always been very fortunate with the people who reside here.  The volunteer spirit in this community has always been  alive and well, and  continues to thrive even in this era of busy dual income households. The residents stay in tune with what their local government is up to whether it be via newsletter, local newspaper,  television, the Internet, over the fence gossiping with a neighbor, or showing up unannounced at the front counter of Village Hall.  No matter the mode of communication, the important thing to take away is that the people of Ardsley care about what happens in their community, they really do care, and as a local municipal administrator I really cannot ask for more than that.  And so, from the bottom of my heart I thank you all for caring, for volunteering and for letting me be part of your lives these last few decades! -- George Calvi, Village Manager

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