April 1, 2015
The Letter of Agreement with FEMA was executed by all parties yesterday. Congratulations to all of us. Also, the United Water issue has been resolved amicably, and they have begun work on Bight Lane. More good news– we have come to terms, again amicably, with our police union, agreeing to a contract that runs through May 2018.
Regarding the Bridge That Has No Name, you can always get the latest at the Bridge website. Just click this link:
March 2015 Summary of Recent Activities
River Road Project
Construction of the new River Road is now scheduled to begin in early 2017. You will see activity before that time, but the real work will begin then. We are cautiously optimistic that the County will hold to this date. Something came up about endangered bats that allegedly live in our trees, but that seems to be resolved. This undertaking will not only replace the road, but will resolve many of the drainage issues that have plagued us.
It’s been two years and four months since Sandy severely damaged Village Hall. We are now nearing the turning point in working with FEMA. We received a draft of an award letter for $4.88 million to recreate Village Hall in its own image, but safer, more energy efficient, and better able to serve the needs of the community. We expect to have the final version of the letter in the next few weeks so that we can get started on bid documents which will lead to construction. Trustee Catherine Whitney has spearheaded this endeavor. To call her efforts ‘herculean’ would be understatement. She was expertly assisted by Village Clerk/Treasurer Julie Pagliaroli and Village Attorney Doris Ulman. Another piece of good news is that the Village will not have to put up any matching funds for the project. We owe a debt of thanks to Senator Gillibrand and Rep. Nita Lowey for weighing in on our side when we need them. They helped to move this along. As this project moves forward we will need more volunteers from the Village to support various phases and to insure that community concerns are addressed. Please let Julie know if you are willing to devote time to this.
Tappan Zee Bridge (aka the New New York Bridge)
Where do I begin? Early in the year the Village created a Sound Task Force to address several bridge issues, but with particular focus on the length of the southern sound barrier. Chuck Callen, Jim Foley and Mark Irgang led the offensive, and we were successful in getting the barrier extended. Other issues involving the road surface and the tympanic effect of the underside of the bridge were discussed at length. The technical prowess of our task force members was impressive to witness. Our Assemblywoman Ellen Jaffe backed us fully and insured that the State and TZC people involved heard us out. We are comfortable with their answers about noise from the underside of the bridge. The road surfacing is unresolved as of yet, but we understand that motorist safety and durability are their first and second priorities, and feel confident that will do all they can to mitigate noise. I work closely with the other river village mayors to see that the needs of the larger community are being addressed. As you’ve probably heard, South Nyack has a major issue with where the Shared Use Path, aka SUP, leaves the bridge. The SUP is for bicyclists, runners, and pedestrians. Right now it comes out at the corner of Broadway and Cornelison. We support South Nyack’s campaign to recover the interior of the Exit 10 cloverleaf and develop it with the SUP terminating there. Grand View’s position is that we want the SUP traffic diverted away from Hader Park. The Village of Nyack wants SUP users to head north to their downtown, which suits Grand View just fine.
We’ve had two issues with United Water. The first is that on several occasions the excessive use of water by Tappan Zee Constructors has left villagers at the northern end of town with brown particles in their water. United Water and TZC promise to stay on top of this, as will we. The second issue is the ownership of the water main under Bight Lane. We are right now exchanging letters and resolutions with United Water to correct this historical anomaly. It’s a long story that goes back to the construction of the original TZ Bridge, but seems to be resolving so that residents on that road will get full service during winter months. Thanks to our attorney Jan Ulman and United Water’s attorney Kelly Ruggerio for helping us work this out. Our County Legislator Nancy Low Hogan and United Water’s head of Government Relations, Bill Madden, also pitched in to make sure that we were listened to. Police The past two years were a time of transition. We have a new chief and sergeant due to retirements. We’ve also done very well in recruitments to fill vacancies and feel that the entire force is stronger. As I write this we are in the final stages of negotiating a long-term union contract that we expect to be amicably concluded. We’ve been able to keep budget increases to an absolute minimum. In the coming year we are working on something that may dramatically improve enforcement of bicycling laws. More to come on this one.
I want to to take this opportunity to congratulate the TZB Noise Task Force for a job well done. Chuck Callan, Jim Foley, and Mark Irgang have persuaded Tappan Zee Constructors and the the NYS Thruway Authority to reconsider the length of the southernmost sound barrier on the new bridge, and extend it well beyond what had been planned. In addition, they raised several questions that have long range implications for Grand View residents with respect to bridge noise, and received detailed, reasonable answers. Their most powerful weapon in this battle was information. They were incredibly well prepared for their meetings with the sound engineers from the bridge team who were impressed with the scope of knowledge these three brought to the table. They quoted Cal Tech studies on bridge surfacing options that the TZC people had to go and look up. The Task Force initially met with our NYS Assemblywoman, Ellen Jaffee, who made it clear to the representatives of the Governor’s office that this was important to the community. Thank you Ellen, and thanks to Brian Connybeare who represents Governor Cuomo, for arranging a series of meetings and seeing that the Task Force was heard by the right people at TZC and the Thruway Authority.