Thanksgiving is a time to think positive and to be grateful for the good things that are happening. During the past year (since last Thanksgiving), our community has been blessed with many things that I think we should be thankful for.
OUR TOWN EMPLOYEES---During & after Hurricane Sandy our employees worked long and hard trying to help you get your quality of life back. Roads that were closed had to be re-opened, debris and obstructions removed, streets patrolled to make sure your property was safe, questions responded to and complaints followed up. Town staff responded quickly to requests for assistance from Con Ed. During the year they try to be as helpful as possible with any matter you have (many department heads come in on Saturday and Sundays and work late in the evening).
NO FLOODING AFTER HURRICANE SANDY - The town did not experience any significant flooding after Hurricane Sandy. Prior to the hurricane (during the past year) the town (working with Elmsford) cleared obstructions from the Saw Mill River and checked drains and removed obstructions. We hope that our proactive initiatives were helpful.
OUR HOUSE ANGELS-- After the hurricane many residents volunteered their homes --providing warm and comfortable shelter for those without power. Many of the house angels did not know their guests --but were kind enough to offer their homes to those who were less fortunate.
OUR TV ANGELS volunteer their time during the year picking up old TV's and dropping them off at the Highway garage. The TV's are heavy--difficult for seniors to do on their own. And, our SNOW ANGELS volunteer their time clearing driveways and walkways of seniors and disabled residents. This is what community is about -- neighbors helping neighbors.
JOB REFERRALS- About 4 years ago I set up a job club, helping the unemployed find employment. A special thank you to the many residents who have advised me of job openings where they work --so I can help your out of work neighbors find employment. Job postings are sent to residents who subscribe to a jobs elist and are posted on www.linkedin.com (greenburgh jobs group) as I learn of the openings.
CERT TEAM-- After the hurricane (and whenever we have an emergency) a group of very dedicated volunteers (OUR CERT TEAM) volunteer their time to help out in emergencies. They set up emergency shelters and do what they can to make you comfortable.
GREENBURGH LIBRARY - After the hurricane the Greenburgh Library proved it's value! Many "powerless residents" enjoyed the comfort of the library, the computers, books and friendly staff. The library staff worked with the town to expand library hours for patrons who needed a place to go to during the crisis.
GREENBURGH HEALTH CENTER - The new Greenburgh health center, which will open its new building in the winter, will provide residents with excellent health care. I'm thankful that the center kept their promise to build a sidewalk from their new building to Route 119.
WESTHAB WORKFORCE HOUSING - A new affordable housing apartment complex is being built near the Westchester County Center. The need is great -- during the year many residents have contacted me requesting applications. When they open in the spring of 2013 the families that move in will experience a great quality of life improvement.
WATERWHEEL AFFORDABLE HOUSING--Thankful that the town, Ardsley and county all worked together so that additional affordable housing could be built in Ardsley on town foreclosed land (the former waterwheel property). Some of the units will be designated for volunteer firefighters, ambulance corp members. Construction should take place in 2013.
BERKELEY STUDENT INTERNS-- Am grateful to the students at Berkeley College who have been devoting their time to the town, helping departments manage their workload at no cost to the taxpayers. Mona Fraitag, co-chair of the Poet's Corner Civic Association, has donated hundreds of hours overseeing this program. We estimate that the student interns have saved taxpayers a million dollars+.
STUDENT NEWS NETWORK--A group of hard working and intelligent students (working with Town Clerk Judith Beville) have started their own student news network, producing news stories and airing them on public access TV.
MEMBERS OF THE CITIZEN BOARDS AND COMMISSIONS - We have hundreds of citizen volunteers. Many serve as appointed members of Boards and Commissions. They work long hours and meet frequently. A citizens commission has been meeting throughout the year (day, night, weekends)- helping me review the town budget, offering great ideas. A new water district advisory board is reviewing our internal water operations and will be making recommendations. The goal: predictability, stability and good planning. The water district, which had a deficit in the past, now has a surplus (the surplus will be used for needed infrastructure).
OUR NEW DISCOVERY ZONE PLAYGROUND AT THE GREENBURGH NATURE CENTER -- The town, working with our dedicated employees and board at the Greenburgh Nature Center, opened up a spectacular new playground. Funding for the playground came from non taxpayer developer escrow funds. The centers new executive director, Margaret Goldberg, has some great ideas --that will take the center to the next level! A new nature center opened in Irvington -- the O'Hara Nature Center (some spectacular trails). In difficult economic times the GREENBURGH PARKS, trails and programs are the Theodore Young Community Center are appreciated by many.
90+ VETERANS HAVE ALREADY TAPED THEIR STORIES FOR LIVING HISTORY INITIATIVE-- A few years ago Steve Wittenberg of Ardsley and Alan Hochberg of Hartsdale started a new initiative: the living history initiative. They have been interviewing veterans of World War II and the Korean conflict. The goal: to make sure that the stories of our veterans (local heroes) are never forgotten). Over 90 living history interviews have been filmed. The United States Library of Congress will be archiving the stories.
NEW BUSINESSES--Am thankful everytime a vacant storefront is replaced with a vibrant new business. Captain Lawrence Brewery, H Mart, Acorda and some new restaurants are among the new businesses. Ben's deli is coming soon to Central Ave.
OUR BUDGET COMPLIES WITH THE NYS TAX CAP FOR TWO CONSECUTIVE YEARS! Am thankful that the 2012 and 2013 budget will comply with the NYS tax cap. A number of communities in Westchester and around the state are exceeding the tax cap next year.
GOVERNOR SIGNS LEGISLATION AUTHORIZING TOWN TO LEASE TENNIS COURTS - In 2012 the town was able to successfully push for state legislation authorizing the town to lease tennis courts to private vendors. More recreation. No cost to the taxpayers. This will be helpful to the town in the years ahead and enable the town to enter into public/private partnerships.
POPHAM ROAD BRIDGE CONSTRUCTION IS ALMOST FINISHED - The Popham Road bridge links Scarsdale to Edgemont. The construction took a few years (this wasn't a town project) and created lots of inconveniences. Am glad that the bridge construction is almost completed! It's a beautiful new bridge that will reduce traffic congestion for motorists driving to Scarsdale from Ardsley Road.
TARRYTOWN NAMED BY FORBES AS ONE OF PRETTIEST TOWNS IN AMERICA! Proud that this village is located within the town.
NEW LED LIGHTS - During the past year we tested some LED lights around town. These light poles will save energy and money. We hope to expand the program.
The above are just some of the things that we should be thankful for in Greenburgh. There's much more. Among them-- YOU! A great town is only a great place if it's residents are terrific. Thank you for choosing to make Greenburgh your home.