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A Look at 2017…From a Village Perspective

River Journal reached out to Village Administrators and Managers in Sleepy Hollow, Briarcliff Manor, Tarrytown, Ossining and Irvington, asking them to summarize the 2017 calendar year. On the following pages are their responses to the same questions asked of each.  Some responses are brief; others are detailed.  Some answers are unique to their Villages, while others seem to be shared among the five communities that share boundaries along Route 9.

 

Anthony Giaccio, Sleepy Hollow Village Administrator

1. How many years have you served as either Village Administrator or Manager in your current position?

9.5 Years

2. What changes have you seen within your Village over those years and specifically in 2017?

Waterfront Development.  57-unit River House is now fully occupied, Farmer and the Fish is open and the Riverwalk has been extended.  Also, obviously the significant progress that Edge-on-Hudson has made to redevelop the old General Motors site.

3. Prioritize the importance of current projects either recently completed or ongoing. Choose at least 3 areas where Village government has placed their attention.

(1) Water Tank completed this fall.  This tank needed to be constructed to serve the future needs of the Village.

(2) Comprehensive Plan process has begun and will get more involved this coming year.

(3) East Parcel Project including moving the DPW from its current location.  This project will potentially include a new recreation center and other outdoor recreational facilities.

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

The Village budget is always a challenge. The Village needs to continue to provide quality services and improve its infrastructure, while at the same time keeping taxes down.  We have been fortunate to see increased tax revenue from development, but this development also requires additional services. Illegal housing is also a major challenge for the Village.

5. Name a problem area or areas where a coordinated effort is needed within your Village. If not a problem area, then an area that requires governmental vigilance.

Downtown Revitalization including the impact that the Edge-on-Hudson project will have on the business district and inner-village housing. This is one of the reasons that the Village is updating its comprehensive plan.  The comprehensive plan requires and encourages input from not only all Village Boards, but from residents and business owners as well.  This will hopefully result in ideas that will help the downtown.

6. What projects are on tap or in the planning stages for 2018?

Village Projects include: (1) Streetscape improvements on Beekman Avenue.  (2) Continued progress on redeveloping the East Parcel. (3) Tri-Village water consolidation project. (4) Comprehensive Plan (5) Fremont Pond Improvements (6) Riverside Drive River Walk Project (7) Purchase of a new Ladder Truck for the Fire Department. (Private projects of note will be the completion of the Beekman Avenue Bridge renovation and continued site work by Edge-on-Hudson.)

7. Lastly, add any information of import for your specific Village that you would like our readers to know.

Again with the comprehensive plan underway, residents and business owners are encouraged to get involved in the process.  There will be public meetings scheduled in early 2018.  The Village will also look for ways to enhance tourism to help stimulate the Village’s local economy.

Philip Zegarelli, Briarcliff Village Manager

1. How many years have you served as either Village Administrator or Manager in your current position?

I will have been the VBM VM for 9 years in February.

2. What changes have you seen within your Village over those years and specifically in 2017?

While my focus has been on the traditional quality of life and service level for our residents, the heavy lifting of work is on major infrastructure projects.  Our Full Water Supply Project is complete and added enhancements are in the offing. We have initiated 5 projects partially funded by 4 grants linked to road and intersection improvements. One phase has just been completed and the Spring of 2018 will be even more intense.

3. Prioritize the importance of current projects either recently completed or ongoing. Choose at least 3 areas where Village government has placed their attention.

Water Supply is certainly one and we are heading up the Tri-Village Water Works to ensure the three villages have the best facilities while focusing on economies of savings by working together. Next has to be finishing up all the road improvements following our boundaries from Pleasantville to Ossining having had gas water mains upgraded. A third important project is the M/BOT’s (Mayor/Board of Trustees) focus with residents and businesses to address the needs to upgrade and beautify our Central and 3 Satellite business areas.

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

We have several vacant corporate properties whose original use is just not economically feasible in today’s Westchester County.  Citizen’s groups have been instrumental in addressing what future use these properties can be directed to.  The overwhelming investor perspective is for housing raising from millennials to seniors; VBM is a great place to live and more people want to move in.  The M/BOT need to weigh those desires with maintaining just what Briarcliff is today.  We are all very proud that Village services have not only been held to high standards, but have actually been enhanced.

5. Name a problem area or areas where a coordinated effort is needed within your Village. If not a problem area, then an area that requires governmental vigilance.

We run a very efficient local government with 69 full time employees who “service” over 8,000 people, spread out in 2 towns, within 2 school Districts, while having nearly 6 square miles and over 40 miles of roads.  Keeping costs down, efficiency high and covering all bases is always a “problem” because our citizens can sense it. Capital projects and other large-scale efforts are easier than the day-to-day issues.

6. What projects are on tap or in the planning stages for 2018?

For 2018, and other than finishing the carryover of current work, we are looking to re-designing the entry of our circa-1963 VIllage Hall, both visually and for ADA compliance; dredging and restoring the Law Park Pond; and reconfiguring the Law Park Parking facilities … and that’s what we have on our list so far.

7. Lastly, add any information of import for your specific Village that you would like our readers to know.

I don’t mean to joke or be funny, but in my more than 30 years of local government service, I have seen the role of Village government grow and become the first level of redress or problem solution.  I try to explain to people that local government was not mentioned in Plato’s Republic.

Richard Slingerland, Tarrytown Village Administrator

1. How many years have you served as either Village Administrator or Manager in your current position?

I’ve worked in Tarrytown’s local government from September 1999 through March 2002, and have been here now from April 2017 to present.

I’ve also accumulated nearly 31 years of experience in local government in Westchester County, the City of Yonkers and Village levels.

2. What changes have you seen within your Village over those years and specifically in 2017?

There is much change in Tarrytown with updating the Village’s vision for the future in our Comprehensive Plan, and the Station Area Redevelopment Plan.  All residents should learn more about this important plan for the future and submit input to help shape that vision for the future.

3. Prioritize the importance of current projects either recently completed or ongoing. Choose at least 3 areas where Village government has placed their attention.

There are numerous projects underway at the moment, including:

A. The Comprehensive Plan is one of the top priorities of the Village, and is scheduled to be completed in April to May 2018. This will define how vacant parcels and tracts of land can and should be developed so that it fits in and maintains the community characteristics that people know to be the core of what defines Tarrytown, while accommodating growth for the future.

B. Water System improvements in the Heights area of the Village valued at approximately $1.6 million, Water Main Improvements in the Paulding and Van Wart neighborhoods valued at approximately $600,000.

C. Stormwater Management – the Loh Park Drainage Project to address and reduce storm-related stream flooding in the Loh Park neighborhood, estimated at $3.8 million.

D. Park, Recreation and Environment Improvements including:

1. Reviewing the plan to address the algae and weeds in the Tarrytown Lakes.

2. Re-planting all of the landscaping along Pierson Park to remove the invasive plants and weeds – these plants will be maintained and watered for another two years, and then our staff will be trained in their care and maintenance before they are turned over to the Village.

3.   Improving the RiverWalk through Losee Park, so that residents and visitors can have improved access to the Hudson River.

4. Upgrading the ballfield lights in Losee Park from high-energy-consuming and poorly shielded lights to low-energy improved lighting with LED lights.

5. Upgrading the disintegrating bulkhead in the southwest corner of Losee Park to longer lifespan more durable shore-bank rip-rap.

6. Opening the new Tarrytown Village pool this past summer which was very successful.

7. Working with Scenic Hudson and New York State agencies to plan for the State’s and Scenic Hudson’s new RiverWalk connection from the Tappan Zee Bridge to the RiverWalk along the Village’s Waterfront.

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

The future of growth in the Village will have to be sustainable on many facets, including:

1. Reducing energy consumption and the carbon footprint.

2. Managing environmental impacts including global warming, which in turn has resulted in rising tidal levels along the Hudson River.

3. Improved transportation connectivity to and from the Tarrytown train station.

4. Managing available parking for shoppers in the Downtown area.

5. Managing available parking including spaces for commuters.

6. Managing the projected increase in bicycle traffic that will be entering the Village from the Tappan Zee/Mario Cuomo Bridge.

7. In terms of available housing, the Village, as well as the Westchester Region, needs to maintain and explore new opportunities for affordable housing, so that our Village employees, low income workers and limited income retirees can remain in and perform much needed contributions to the Westchester economy.

8. The Village is also reviewing the Airbnb issue, which already exists throughout Westchester County, and which is presently not authorized in the Village of Tarrytown.  We want to make sure that any neighborhoods where this occurs are suitable for this service, that there is adequate parking, and that the current stock of apartments and affordable housing is not reduced by homeowners who want to make use of their properties for Airbnb.

5. Name a problem area or areas where a coordinated effort is needed within your Village. If not a problem area, then an area that requires governmental vigilance.

A coordinated effort will be necessary for the Village, working with the Chamber of Commerce and commercial property owners, to expand parking opportunities around the Village Downtown area to keep the businesses thriving and viable.  Part of this includes the new technology to use apps like “Pay by Phone” as well as upgraded or replaced parking equipment at the meters around the Downtown area.

6. What projects are on tap or in the planning stages for 2018?

Most of the projects underway in the Village are significantly grant funded, including the following:

• Loh Park Drainage Project — $3.8 million cost; $1.75 million grant from Westchester County – awarded.

• H-Bridge Rehabilitation Project – approximately $1 million in grants from the New York State DOT Bridge New York Grant program – in process to seek engineers.

• Village of Tarrytown – 2 new fire trucks purchased; $165,000 grant from the Tappan Zee Bridge Community Benefit Fund.

• Water System Upgrades in the Paulding and Van Wart Neighborhoods valued at approximately $600,000, after which we will repave all the streets where construction took place, with a grant of $481,600 from the Tappan Zee Bridge Community Benefit Fund.

• Improvements to Losee Park with new Ballfield lights – valued at $650,000, with a $300,000 grant from the Tappan Zee Bridge Community Benefit Fund.

• Improvements to Patriot’s Park, with a grant of $300,000 from New York State, managed by the Department of State, with a $50,000 match from the Village.

7. Lastly, add any information of import for your specific Village that you would like our readers to know.

A matter of major concern remains to operate the Village within our budgeted limitations, and tax limitations, and provide reasonable, high quality and affordable services to all of our residents and those who visit Tarrytown.  We are constantly working to control costs, find ways to save money, and seek alternative sources of revenue to control property taxes for property owners.

Debbie McDonnell, Ossining Village Manager

1. How many years have you served as either Village Administrator or Manager in your current position?

I have been in Ossining for 3 months, however, I have been managing Cities for over 11 years.

2. What changes have you seen within your Village over those years and specifically in 2017?

N/A

3. Prioritize the importance of current projects either recently completed or ongoing. Choose at least 3 areas where Village government has placed their attention.

The Village Board is focusing on streamlining the planning and building process, more     aggressive code enforcement, creating an economic development action strategy, and evaluating parking and Route 9 improvements.

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

The Village is 85% built out, leaving little room for expansion.  Therefore, our task will be to determine the highest and best use of land in the best       interest of redevelopment.

5. Name a problem area or areas where a coordinated effort is needed within your Village. If not a problem area, then an area that requires governmental vigilance.

The community has three State highways running through the Village that need to be improved through resurfacing, traffic light adjustments, traffic calming along Route 9, and intersection upgrades.  This will involve the State, regional MPO, Town and Village cooperation.

6. What projects are on tap or in the planning stages for 2018?

The Sing Sing Kill Greenway iconic double-arch bridge will be structurally repaired, with updates to the historic facade, both above and below. This major infrastructure project will mean some interruption of traffic. To minimize impact, the construction schedule is focused over the summer months. In conjunction with this project, the Broadway Bridge will be reconstructed.  The Village is scheduled to begin design on an expanded Water Plant to increase capacity.

7. Lastly, add any information of import for your specific Village that you would like our readers to know.

The Village is taking an active approach to planning for its future.

Larry Schopfer, Irvington Village Administrator

1. How many years have you served as either Village Administrator or Manager in your current position?

Ten.

2. What changes have you seen within your Village over those years, and specifically in 2017?

2007 – focus was on development controls such as preservation of open space.

2017 – focus is on quality of life (traffic/pedestrian safety, flood controls, infrastructure, downtown improvement).

3. Prioritize the importance of current projects either recently completed or ongoing. Choose at least 3 areas where Village government has placed their attention.

Main Street Streetscape improvements.

Traffic/Pedestrian safety improvements.

Flood control projects like the Station Road culvert replacement.

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

Growth is not a significant issue.

Parking is always a challenge, but not any more so than in past years.

The availability of low cost housing (ownership or rentals) is a significant issue.

5. Name a problem area or areas where a coordinated effort is needed within your Village. If not a problem area, then an area that requires governmental vigilance.

Traffic and pedestrian safety improvements require the coordination of the Police Department, DPW, Village Administration, and the Board of Trustees.

6. What projects are on tap or in the planning stages for 2018?

Planning for sidewalks along Station Road, Main Street pedestrian accessibility improvements, planning for the Hudson View Park culvert replacement.

7. Lastly, add any information of import for your specific village that you would like our readers to know.

(No Response)

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