- Category: Office of the Mayor
- Published on 25 October 2012
Here is a quick report on your village government; including an update on projects and initiatives, development proposals, Actions taken, and a few dates and events to mark on your calendar.
The Little White Cemetery
The recently communicated plan for the refurbishment of this historical village-owned property is moving ahead. At the Regular Meeting on October 9th the Board of Trustees (‘BOT’) voted unanimously to approve expenditures of approximately $57,000 for the work. This will include a contribution of $17,500 from Stop & Shop for a new historical monument recognizing Dobbs Ferry’s important role in the American Revolution to be constructed at the entrance of the cemetery. In addition to a new historical monument, the renovation plan will also include the following:
- Removal of the dead (and dangerous) trees; undergrowth, and weeds through-out the property.
- Installation of a new (and appropriately designed) fence along Ashford Avenue replacing the unsightly hedgerow, which will be removed.
- Construction of a simple walking path (ADA compliant) from the monument / entrance which will circle around inside the perimeter of the park.
- Repair and replacement of historical headstones.
- Re-pointing of the stone entrance columns.
- Placement of archway signage over the columns identifying entrance to ‘The Little White Cemetery’.
- New destination signage on Ashford Avenue and new re-dedication plaque.
- Landscaping contract to maintain property into the future.
This project will be funded from the village’s segregated Recreation Fund Account, which means the work will not be done at tax payer’s expense. This account is fully funded by development.
The village has been approached by individuals (including an Eagle Scout) and community groups (the Girl Scouts) who will and/or wish to offer volunteer help on this project. The village would be happy to hear from other residents or groups who might like to get involved in the clean-up and restoration work. Expect work to begin on this project in the next 2 weeks.
If you travel ‘the gateway’ you know this redevelopment project is in full swing. The old cinder block building has been removed, and the new foundation work is under way. While time-lines can be difficult to predict, the developer is communicating a target opening of the new business for late spring (June) 2013. The redevelopment work has included the removal of trees and ‘cover’ around the perimeter of the property. Site Plan approval (including Planning Board and A&HRB review) was based on a design which included the replacement and upgrade of landscaping within and along the borders of the property. While the current site will certainly appear more ‘open’ as the construction phase is in process, the end result will include better landscaping and border cover in the long-run; residents and neighbors should know the village will be on top of this issue with the developer moving forward.
Stop & Shop
The addition of newly planted trees and landscaping has added another level of improved aesthetic qualities to this property, and ‘the gateway’ overall. In the last Mayor’s Newsletter (September) I admitted shopping at the newly enhanced store more times in the [then] prior weeks then in the past few years. I have since increased that factor by even more. The enhanced landscaping and improvements actually attracts you to enter the property, and the newly renovated store and upgraded product offerings makes for a much improved shopping experience. I am now an expert using the self- checkout system too!
Waterfront Park Shoreline Stabilization and Renovation
The village has taken Action regarding the issues pertaining to the sea wall construction along the northern section of Willow Point. As reported in previous Newsletter updates, there were problems encountered by the contractor in the installation of the sea wall material. In short, sunken debris was encountered below the sand surface which prohibited the installation of the sea wall support and sheeting. A plan has now been worked out and agreed between Coppola Paving & Landscaping (the contractor) and Mclaren Engineering Co. (the engineer) – with the approval of the Department of Environmental Control. This plan has taken a few months for the parties to work out together, which will now clear a path for the resumption of work to complete the final stages of the shoreline stabilization phase of this project. While the remediation will involve change orders to the original plans, the additional work and materials required will not impact the original total cost budget of the project. The sea wall and final stabilization work is expected to re-start on October 29. As for the upland improvement phase of the project, the County design team has been busy preparing the RFP process which will lead to the land-based work involved in the renovation of the waterfront park; this will include a new fishing pier, a new boat dock, new pathways, a new comfort station, a new playground, and new lighting lamp posts and benches, among other things. It is expected the upland construction work will begin in the spring of 2013, continuing for approximately 18 months. The village is anticipating the park (not the parking lot) will be shut during most of next summer and into final completion. This will mean re-scheduling/re-locating to accommodate certain village (4th of July), school (high school graduation), and community (concert) events. This will be done well in advanced and in communication with all the parties involved so as to find the best ways and alternatives to accommodate everyone’s interests during this temporary construction situation. The final product – a beautiful waterfront park - will make all of this worth it.
As previously communicated and noticed, a public hearing is scheduled for the Final Environmental Impact Statement (‘FEIS’), which was deemed ‘complete’ in September by unanimous vote of the BOT. Residents are encouraged to attend this hearing to give their input and/or learn more about the ongoing review process related to this development proposal. The public is also encouraged to provide written comments on the FEIS to the board (trustee’s email’s are on the village website) which will be accepted up to 10 days following the public hearing. There has also been a series of public workshops by the Planning Board which had been previously announced and noticed for the public to attend and observe. The remaining schedule of hearings (noticed) related to this proposed development are as follows:
- Tues October 30 - Public Hearing BOT on the Rivertowns Square FEIS at the Embassy Community Center at 6:30 p.m. (public can comment)
- Monday, November 5, 2012 - Joint Work Session of the Board of Trustees and Planning Board on the Rivertowns Square FEIS at Village Hall at 6:30 p.m. (public can observe)
At the BOT regular meeting on Oct 23rd, the village’s ad hoc Citizen’s Budget Committee presented their independent financial analysis report on the Rivertowns Square Project. The budget committee, formed by a prior administration, has been an important source of input and review for the BOT on financial and fiscal issues impacting the village; this includes overall fiscal budget review and process, long-term capital management planning, funding alternatives, departmental efficiency reviews, priorities and recommendations. The Budget Committee’s report on the proposed project does not reflect the opinion of the BOT, collectively or individually. The BOT will review and consider this analysis report balanced with all other relevant input which has been (or will be) presented in the review of this important development proposal.
No final decisions have been made by the BOT regarding the Rivertowns Square proposal. Residents and interested parties will be kept fully informed as the review process continues.
The Property formerly known as ‘Rudy’s’
A unique property with spectacular Hudson River views, the owner has presented an initial proposal for 14 residential condominium units. The applicant is currently preparing a required storm water management plan for review by the village’s building department and engineer. It is then expected the applicant will go before the Planning Board sometime in the next 2 months. As per village code, this proposal will ultimately require BOT approval.
Initiatives & Action Taken
Dobbs Ferry Village Website Upgrade
As part of ongoing efforts to enhance the village’s technology and communication tools, a newer website was rolled out last week. In addition to a more professional look and easier to navigate drop-down menus, the website also offers a newer feature – ‘Dobbs Ferry TV’. With this, residents (and website visitors) can view the village board meetings and media events directly on their computer. While there is more work to be done to improve the look and functions of the website, and changes in technology will of course take place, the village has made big strides over the past 3 years to improve the means and resources employed to communicate with residents; these improvements have also been done in a cost efficient manner, at little expense to tax payers. The village would like to recognize the work of the website consultant/developer Mike Kaplan – working with Marcus Serrano (Village Administrator) and Liz Dreaper (Village Clerk) to improve the village’s website.
Public Private Partnership Brings Another Success Story - Enhancement of the Waterfront Field
The Village is pleased to report another success story in the ongoing initiative to reach out and work in partnership with community institutions and groups to upgrade and create new active recreational assets, improving the quality of life for families and residents of all ages. In this case, the village has developed a plan to enhance the 'Great Lawn' Field at the waterfront park. This field is primarily used by the local youth soccer programs, and also as an auxiliary field to help the School District and/or the village's recreation programs as needs arise. Thanks to a significant $9,100.00 contribution from the Rivertowns United FC-AYSO Region 324 ('AYSO'), additional upgrade work (seeding, fertilizing, seasonal preparation, grading and regular maintenance) will be done to improve the playing field; this will create a safer playing surface for the kids, it will hold up better over time, and it will be another asset the community can be more proud of. In addition to previously announced and completed projects - like the new Master's School track, the new Mercy College Field, the Gould Park field renovation with help from the DFSD, and the new basketball court at Gould Park with the help of private donors - this is another 'Public / Private' success story. The village is greatly appreciative of the local AYSO program and its leadership for their generous contribution and working with the village on this accomplishment. We would also like to recognize the contributions and work of the Dobbs Ferry Recreation Department under Matt Arone's leadership, the DPW Parks Staff, the members of the Recreation Committee (Trustee Bill Flynn as Liaison), the village's ad hoc Facilities Committee (Drew Coburn, Chair). The village of Dobbs Ferry is an example of how a community can work together to make good things happen.
Energy Task Force Report on Efficiency and Sustainable Initiatives
At the October 9th BOT meeting, the Energy Task Force (Nina Orville, Chair) gave an impressive presentation report outlining the various projects and initiatives undertaken by the village to enhance long-term sustainability, energy efficiency, and improve the environment. Dobbs Ferry has invested approximately $650,000 over the past 3 years in energy efficiency projects, which includes direct investments by the village (taxpayers) of approximately $250,000 (~38% of toal). These investments include:
- Solar panel installation on village-owned buildings
- LED lighting replacements
- Installation of new state-of-the-art energy control system in the Library Building
- Energy control system installation Village Hall
- Hybrid Bucket Truck for DPW
- Recycling initiatives/education to reduce waste (reduce collection costs)
- Educational seminars with local utility programs and incentives helping residents save energy usage
Using a newly installed software system, the presentation also demonstrated how the village can track actual energy/power usage on a [close to] real-time basis, and to compare actual current usage to actual historical usage. The village can also analyze the data in various ways, including kilowatts and/or $dollar costs; it can view data on a monthly, seasonal or year-on-year comparison basis; the new software also can 'normalize' the data removing abnormal weather factors to better compare the overall energy performance of our facilities and operations. In short, the village has the capability to monitor/track actual real-time energy usage, compare this to actual historical usage, make optimal adjustments when needed, and to accuaretly measure costs savings and return on investments. The energy saving results have been dramatically positive. Pay back periods will likely be significantly lessthen original projections. This last point is very important. In working with the Energy Task Force and choosing proposals, the village laid out a clear criteria for minimum investment returns, or pay back periods. By using this approach, the village and the Task Force have been able to pursue more meaningful projects; which at the outset require greater investment amounts, but which yield far greater savings and more attractive returns to tax payers in the long run. The working relationship between the BOT and the Energy Task Force has been excellent. Dobbs Ferry has raised the bar in terms of energy efficiency and sustainable projects ... and we have proved and coined "what is good for the environment can also be good for business".
The village greatly appreciates the work and commitment of all the members of the Energy Task Force, as well as Jim Dunn, who as Superintendent of the DPW has helped to champion and get done these sustainable projects.
New Parking Regulations in Chauncey Square area, Stanley Avenue
Residents and visitors to Chauncey Square should be aware of the new parking regulations enacted by the BOT. On-street parking is no longer permitted on Stanley Avenue. In addition, the village will now enforce on-the-book regulations prohibiting on-street parking onLivingstone Avenue (several years ago the BOT agreed to relax this regulation on Livingstone at that time while alternative parking issues were being discussed). The recent actions were taken on the recommendation of the village’s traffic consultant and Public Safety Departments to improve the overall flow of traffic and safety; and to encourage visitors to use the new parking lot resource at the southern end of the property, just below Livingstone. This parking lot had been underutilized. From this parking point, visitors to Chauncey Square can safely use the sidewalks along Livingstone to either of the two installed safety crosswalks over Livingstone: (1) directly into the Health Club entrance or, (2) at the crossing light nearer the Parkway.
Grant Award for Shared Service Study - Dobbs Ferry and Hastings
We had previously reported over 1 year ago the villages of Dobbs Ferry and Hastings-on-Hudson submitted a joint grant application for funds made available by the State for municipalities to study shared services and potential consolidation of Public Works facilities and operations. This week the villages were informed grant monies in the amount of $50,000 have been awarded to support such a study. The intent of the study will be to analyze all aspects of each village's operations, including staffing, facilities, equipment, infrastructure, requirements and levels of service. Ultimately, the purpose of the study will be to identify areas of potential sharing of services and resources - including partial or full consolidation - which might lead to efficiencies and costs savings. It will take some time to design the study, including a determination of a professional consultant to do the work. The study will be structured in a way that looks at a combined savings, while at same time taking into account each village's unique perspective. From Dobbs Ferry's position, that will include the fact the village has already made an investment in a new state-of-the-art DPW facility. Recouping some portion of that investment would be one obvious perspective, and there are other. The bottom line is both village's are committed to seek ways to reduce the cost of services to taxpayers balanced in a manner that is also in each of their resident's and worker's best long-term interests. It is also important to note this is only a study. No decisions have been made and no presumptions exists on either side. It will take time time to conduct the study. The village will also fully involve its own Department Heads and Staff, taking input from them all during the process. The village will also keep the public fully informed. Decisions down the road - if any - would only be made to the extent they achieve meaningful combined savings, and are in Dobbs Ferry's best interest, to the benefit of its residents and workers.
The ‘Beautification’ of Dobbs Ferry
As we head full-on into the Fall season, and the colorful leaves and flowers begin to disappear (temporarily) over the winter months, it is an appropriate time to once again recognize and say ‘Thank You’ to the village’s volunteer Beautification Committee for all the great work they did this past year to make Dobbs Ferry more beautiful. Especially noticeable were the new ‘little places’ that were given so much attention – the corner steps at Broadway and Cedar Street, the corner step area at Livingston/High/Pallisade Streets, the sidewalk area below the Recreation Department’s community sign on Cedar Street at the Aqueduct entrance, the flowering pots in the downtown and gateway areas, and other places. Little things can make a big difference, and the Beautification Committee has made a big difference to improve the look of the village. There was also noticeable improvement at the village waterfront train station parking lot. Thanks to the members on the Beautification Committee who worked so hard:
Merle Huebner – Chair Person
Ann Vanden Berghe
The village also recognizes the outstanding work of village staff on the Department of Public Works, Highway, and Parks. They of course do the job every day, all year long, keeping Dobbs Ferry clean, beautiful, and a better place to live.
Congratulations to DFHS Varsity Football Team – GO EAGLES!
The village congratulates the coaches, players, cheerleaders, and supporters of the Dobbs Ferry Eagles Varsity Football Program for a successful regular season – and defeating Bronxville in a final ‘must win’ game to earn a spot in the Class C Sectional Playoffs. The village is so proud of all the Young Eagles in the Dobbs Ferry School Districts who work so hard at all their activities – sports and culture. You all represent the village so well.
Upcoming Events and Dates to Mark on the Calendar
Recreation Department Fall Events
Great Pumpkin Party (pre-k-4th grade)
Friday, Oct. 26th
4pm-5pm at Community Center.
Snacks, entertainment and costume party.
Cedar and Main Streets
Trick-or-treat in the safe environment of Cedar and Main Streets.
The 'Great' Joe Rooney will entertain
“Fowl” shooting contest
For grades 3-8
4pm at community center
Kids get to shoot free throws for a chance to win Thanksgiving prizes
New fall classes are up and running at Dobbs Ferry's busy Senior's Program, including:
- Theater Arts, a play reading class
- Computer classes
- Mah Jong beginner classes
- Beading and Quilting Workshops
All classes are FREE for adults 55 and over
Call 693-7792 for more information and class times
Other Senior Dates & Event:
- Oct 30, 11-1pm Halloween Party (Embassy)
- Nov 1, 5-7pm PBA sponsored Pasta Party (Embassy)
- Nov 12 Veterans Day Breakfast (Embassy) Veterans eat FREE! others $5
- Nov 14 Turkey Lunch at DFHS. All seniors invited. Music performances by students
That is all for now. Please let us know if you have any questions, or concerns, or want to share any ideas. We do want to hear from you, and we will get back. The Trustees' email addresses are all on the village website.