Last week began with some shocking incidents. But it was the people of our community that were the most remarkable. I wrote down some of my thoughts…
What a harrowing start to our week! But it wasn’t an oil spill or a wall collapse that tells the story of this community. Now that the immediate concerns have been contained, stabilized, and secured, I want to take a moment to highlight some of the positive things about the past 48 hours.
At the top of the list of things to be grateful for‑‑there were no injuries resulting from either of these incidents.
One thing that cannot be said often enough is what an amazing team of professionals and volunteers we have serving this Village. Thank you to the Ossining Police Department, Fire Department, Public Works, Engineering and Building Department. Your dedication to our community may go unnoticed on an ordinary day. Monday was no ordinary day. You are an extraordinary team that works incredibly well together to keep us safe. You kept the us all pointed in the right direction while the oil was contained, and later while the wall was assessed and stabilized. Thank you.
During the oil containment the regulatory agency, the DEC, was on-site. According to initial reports, it appears that the swift action to contain the spill prevented contamination of our storm water system. Thank you to all the Village departments who stepped in to make that happen. The Village team had support. Anyone on social media was moved by the photo of a man named Herman who saw what was happening and jumped in with rags to stem the oil. A person’s character shines through during a critical situation. Thank you Herman for your actions to help protect our community and our environment. Thank you also to Jim Drohan for sharing the inspiring image of the Herman at work absorbing oil on Main Street.
The unusually exciting day in Ossining drew the attention of officials beyond the Village. Thank you to Governor Cuomo and County Executive Latimer for both reaching out to ensure the wall collapse was able to be secured. It’s reassuring to know that before we even ask, these higher levels of government were ready to support a local municipality. In this case, the wall was on private property. Village officials, staff, first-responders, and engineers have been on-site to understand the conditions of the properties, and to facilitate communication between the owners of 60 Main Street and 80 Main Street. The property owners’ insurance companies and attorneys are coordinating next steps for stabilizing the wall. This afternoon’s reopening of Main Street was possible once the Village was satisfied by the stabilization plan presented by the property owner.
More good news is that no families were permanently displaced by either incident. On Monday night, in an abundance of caution, three families near the location of the wall collapse were evacuated from their homes. The Red Cross was on-site and assisted with some of the arrangements. All families will be back in their homes tonight. The new construction at 80 Main Street, the property above the wall, had received a partial certificate of occupancy, and the first tenant had moved in her boxes. Since she hadn’t yet unpacked, she’s able to adopt a wait-and-see approach to settling in.
I was not in town when all this transpired, so I’d like to offer special thanks to everyone who kept me informed of what was happening as events unfolded and stepped up in my absence. Thank you Deputy Mayor Codman for being on-site Monday night. Thank you to Chief Sylvester who not only kept me informed by phone, but also for his up-to-the-minute social media communication that helped folks get around with minimal frustration.
And final kudos to the Ossining community. You tuned in to Nixle, Facebook or Twitter to get information on alternate routes, and adjusted to temporary redirection with minimal delay. If you’d like to do one more thing to help with the aftermath of the Monday we’ll never forget, support a local business. With all the disruption, downtown businesses saw fewer customers. So, this week is a great time to go out for lunch or dinner, pick up a children’s toy or a ceramic vase, get your hair done or buy an egg sandwich, sip a coffee lemonade (my personal summer fave)—you can even buy a new kitchen sink.
Everyday serving this Village is an adventure. From great challenges comes ever greater appreciation for this community we love.