by Don Hammond, Mayor of Nyack
As many of you know, I ran for mayor with the clear vision that we would focus on priorities we’ve identified for improvement throughout our village and finish the truly impactful projects that have already begun. In my first month back in Village Hall we’ve dug pretty deeply into those priorities, focusing on communication, village infrastructure, parking and innovative new partnerships (more on that below) with an eye towards finishing critical village projects like paving, streetscape improvements, business development, and more. And in both cases we’re working with intention to broaden our reach into the community, with expanded health, education, and anti-bias programs. Each board member and our amazing village staff have been working diligently on these issues.
At our organizational meeting in January, Louise Parker was appointed as Deputy Mayor and Trustees Marie Lorenzini and Elijah Reichlin-Melnick were sworn in for their two-year term of office, joining Donna Lightfoot Cooper to fill out our board.
We began the year looking at several important issues and beginning to set the agenda for our Village.
Affordable Housing: Gerri Levi from Rockland Housing Action Coalition joined us at a workshop meeting to provide her expertise as we review our affordable housing provisions and establish a cohesive program to monitor our affordable housing stock and the affordable housing buyout fund. The proposed Affordable Housing fund is an interesting opportunity for Nyack residents. The fund will provide loans and grants to income eligible individuals to help with home ownership and home repairs. But these funds are complicated. They involve determining need, income requirements, the ability to pay your mortgage, setting interest payments and a lot of other complicated qualifications that Rockland Housing Action Coalition has experience in. For the first time ever Nyack will have some money to help our neighbors in this way. We want to do it right. Because we all agree that if Nyack is your home, you should be able to stay here if it’s possible.
Waterfront: Progress on making our waterfront more accessible and open to our community is ongoing. Memorial Park’s master plan is becoming more and more of a reality. The playground is amazing, the gazebo has been relocated, the new splash pad is being installed and additional improvements are being planned. Our skatepark and basketball courts are busy and people in general are enjoying the Hudson River in Nyack daily.
The Marina/Waterfront Committee is hard at work planning for the upcoming spring weather. Requests for Proposals for enhanced Boat Charter and Kayak Rental services should be posted in the coming month. The board is looking at how to best manage our marina for the present and the future.
We still anticipate the arrival of Bar Taco in the old River Club spot. This will not only add a new restaurant to our waterfront but will bring in revenue for the village budget. Stay tuned for an official opening date.
Communications: The board and staff are committed to providing proactive and timely communications of village activities and business. We are posting agendas for Village Board meetings with accompanying documents by the Monday before the meetings. Updates on activities and events are also posted on a regular basis. Please sign up for our e-blasts to stay up to date. We are working on developing a new website to ensures we are effectively communicating with our entire community. We are a work in progress and would love to hear your ideas.
Paving and Infrastructure: Village Administrator Jim Politi presented an update on our paving plan to the board. The presentation outlined the goals of the plan, looked back on what we have accomplished since 2011, and which streets will be paved heading into the spring and future years.
Providing services to our community: We are exploring partnerships with the Nyack Housing Authority, the Nyack School District and Nyack Hospital to expand services into our community. Our first joint initiative is the free flu shot clinic this week. Watch for more to come.
Rockland Community College Culinary School: We are anticipating the opening of the RCC Culinary School in the Athene Building for the fall 2018 semester. There will be an informational meeting about the project on March 5 at 6pm at the Nyack Center. Come and learn more about this exciting project!
Land Use Boards: We appointed Peter Klose as chair and reappointed Alan Englander for an additional term for the planning board. Eileen Collins was appointed as Chair and Toma Holey to serve an additional term on the Architectural Review Board. Steve Knowlton was appointed Chair and Glen Keene to serve an additional term on the Zoning Board of Appeals.
Upcoming Events and issues:
Historic Preservation: Historic preservation is something we all agree is important to our community. The trickier part is determining what that means. How do we preserve the wonderful architecture in our eclectic village without penalizing the home or business owners who are fortunate enough to have architecturally significant properties. This is one of the issues the board is working on as we explore if we have the right strategies in place to maintain the historic nature of our village. If you are interested in this issue, let us know.
Village Management Structure: The board is looking at possible ways to streamline our systems and operations. We recently merged the roles of Treasurer and Village Clerk into one position.
Parking: We have engaged an intern who is in her Master’s Program at City University of New York (CUNY) in planning to help us analyze the data we are gathering about the effectiveness of our current parking systems. Village staff is exploring the next generation of parking meters and aps. More to come in the Spring/Summer.
Undoing Racism Workshop: In April all of our Board members will attend the Undoing Racism Workshop which is conducted through Volunteer Counseling Services (VCS).
As your public servants we will continue to conduct listening opportunities throughout the village. Each board member holds down a full-time job and also makes themselves available to listen and serve you, our residents.
Each of the trustees is active and available throughout the village, in their respective faith communities, nonprofit and community-based events and at listening sessions announced from time to time.
We want to hear from you so join us at our board meetings every other Thursday evening at Village Hall (schedule posted at nyack-ny.gov) or grab us around the village.
I end this update with a sad note as we mourn the passing of two amazing individuals who served our community as fire fighters. We lost two special people in David Jahnes and Joe Stach Jr.
Dave was a big asset to the Nyack Fire Patrol and the Nyack Fire Department. His expertise, knowledge of the Hudson River and service will be sorely missed.
Joe was appointed to the FDNY on October 21, 1990, retiring in 2010 as a Lieutenant with Ladder Company 6 after 20 years with the FDNY. He was also a life member of the Empire Hook & Ladder Company #1.
Hundreds turned out for their services, illustrating once again what a close-knit community Nyack is. Let’s continue to show our support to their families. We are Nyack…
Don Hammond is the mayor of Nyack, NY.