Town Perspectives – Ossining

Current Priorities and a Look Ahead
We asked the Village Managers of Sleepy Hollow, Tarrytown, Briarcliff Manor and the Town Supervisor of Ossining to address recently completed projects, current priorities and challenges and 2020 initiatives.

Tell us about a current project either recently completed or ongoing where Town government has placed its attention this year 

We continue to look for ways to ensure our community is healthy—fiscally, environmentally, and physically and mentally healthy, that is.  To that end, we made great progress on our work to connect downtown Ossining to the N. County Trailway/Empire State Trail by getting engineering completed to restripe North State Road for bicycle and pedestrian safety. We also enacted a solar code and PILOT to encourage community solar development. We continue to add to our sustainability efforts by improving our Town fleet, adding hybrid and fully electric vehicles. We also won a grant to add a foodscrap collection program to the Town (including for the Villages of Ossining and Briarcliff) at Cedar Lane Park. We applied for and successfully won a grant from the state for a Comprehensive Plan with Sustainability Elements. Our contract finally came through towards the end of this year, and we are now working to get our steering committee together so we can draft an RFP and embark on the plan. 

What are some of the challenges facing your Town in terms of growth, parking, available housing, village basic services, etc.? 

Challenges continue to be finding a balance between preserving open space, growing our tax base, traffic, school enrollment growth, and making sure our sewer and water infrastructure keeps up with the times. We also know that, with property on the Hudson River, we need to be cognizant and plan appropriately for the impacts of sea level rise and climate change. Finally, we know that as the demand for living spaces in suburbs is changing, we need to think about development being appropriate to meet that demand while still fitting in with the feel of the community. We also know that planning for future development requires being aware of the impacts on public health. 

Name an area or issue where a coordinated effort is needed within your Town. If appropriate, please explain how residents can get involved. 

Our Comprehensive Plan as well as the Climate Adaptive Design Studio are both excellent places for residents to get involved.  Furthermore, Census 2020 is critically important for Ossining. The Town has partnered with the Village and other stakeholders to form Ossining Counts, our Complete Count Committee for 2020. We will need all residents to participate to make sure we count 100% of those residing here so that we can be sure we have the resources we need to remain a healthy community now and well into the future. 

What projects are you focusing on for 2020? 

We will continue to work on finding outside funding to help pay for large infrastructure projects as well as private/public partnerships to help offset taxpayer dollars.  Economic Development, Sustainable Initiatives, and working on programs to support the overall physical and mental health of our community will continue to be at the forefront of our efforts. We will work closely with our Villages to make sure we are on a successful path, working jointly to save as much as possible while being respectful of our respective identities. 

Any other Town-related topic you’d like your residents to know about.  

We continue to support our senior citizens with our Senior Nutrition program which offers hot meals daily on a sliding scale basis. We have noticed that homebound deliveries of meals have gone down, while visitors to the Community Center have gone up. This is a program that many might not realize is available to anyone over 65 who resides in the Town of Ossining. There are also lots of opportunities to socialize, learn, dance, play music, get active, and continue to be a vital member of our community. We hope anyone who would like to learn more will contact 914-762-1350.

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About the Author: Dana Levenberg