Message from the Mayor: Holiday events, recycling gift trash, look-back at 2017 infrastructure work

Peter Swiderski
Fellow Residents,
Holiday festivities, recycling all that gift trash, and finally, an annual look-back at the considerable infrastructure work done this year. 
Menorah Lighting
Chabad is hosting a Menorah candle lighting ceremony on Thursday, December 14th, at 7PM.  The brief and joyous ceremony includes a few songs and latkes for those who venture out to celebrate the sacred.
PBA Santa
The Hastings Police Benevolent Society has its annual Breakfast with Santa and Toy Drive this Saturday, at Harvest-on-Hudson.  Get there at 9AM to enjoy coffee, donuts, bagels, and then at (promptly) 9:30AM, the big guy shows up for cheer and photos with the kids. While this is free, it is hoped that you bring a toy donation for Toys-for-Tots, for which the Police Department is collecting.
Winter Celebration with Jack Frost and the Ice Princess
This Sunday, the Rec Department hosts a Winter Celebration at 2PM at the Community Center with special performances by aforementioned Jack Frost and Ice Princess, as well as face painters, hot chocolate, cookies and the amazing Toy Train display. It’s $10/family, and pre-registration is required. Come to the Community Center to do so, or contact Lisa O’Reilly at 478-2380 or email at
The Library hosts its annual “Giftique” this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, during regular library hours.  This very low-key fundraiser includes extremely-reasonably priced items that make nice small gifts or stocking stuffers; if you’re lucky and make it in time, you can also score some of the baked goods made especially for the occasion that are a bargain , homemade and delicious.  This raises funds to expand the Library’s collection.
The gifts flow in. The garbage unfortunately flows out, in heaps, it seems.  A couple of pointers: just about all gift paper is recyclable (except if it is metallic foil – throw that out and avoid it in the future). Cardboard boxes should be broken down so they don’t blow around. (Don’t put them in plastic bags – that essentially voids the point of recycling them).  Those hideous plastic blister packs everything seems to come in are also recyclable if they have a triangle on them - break them from the paper backing, (which is also recyclable), and recycle them separately on their respective days. What isn’t recyclable:  Ribbon and bows, alas, are not – but then I’m cheap and save the bows for next year. Styrofoam peanuts are not, but can be taken to the UPS store over in Ardsley (or elsewhere – a few minutes on-line will indicate where to go). Those bulky Styrofoam inserts used to cushion larger items in a box must be thrown out – don’t recycle those either.
Shopping Downtown
The one-page summary of all that is on offer in the downtown can be had (HERE). Parking for 2 hours is free everywhere downtown, windows are decorated, the lights are out. It is a beautiful time of the year. Make the one minute of effort of looking at the one-page shopping summary and you may be surprised at how much is on offer. Buying Amazon does absolutely nothing for your community: buying local does. Consider also gift cards to restaurants, spas, nail salons – that also works. Spend at least some of your holiday dollars here, avoid ”Package Arrival Anxiety Syndrome”, and enjoy the downtown.
Infrastructure Review
We have come to the end of one of our more ambitious years in terms of infrastructure overhaul and it is worth pausing to review progress.  One can argue that the three basic duties of a municipal government is to maintain public order, public infrastructure and sanitation. After years of building reserves and holding tax increases to a minimum, the Board determined it was time to invest in a number of overdue efforts. This year, we more than quadrupled our annual repaving budget and as a result saw several miles of roads repaved, as well as almost a mile of new curbing, the biggest such effort in a couple of decades. The list can be found (HERE). We also worked with Greenburgh to order and install over fifty new traffic and street signs, replacing faded, damaged or aged signage, especially along our busier routes.  Crosswalks were striped throughout the village, providing clarity to drivers, especially around popular areas like the Aqueduct.   A new segment of sidewalk was installed on Lefurgy by Hillside School, finally addressing a segment of road where students had to navigate jury-rigged concrete stanchions.
We also engaged in other infrastructure efforts, including the long-overdue overhaul of the Hillside tennis courts, which were reconstructed from ground up, including proper drainage that should forestall the problems we had for years with the courts buckling.  We let out a contract for the substantial reconstruction and refiguring of Uniontown Park – this is now underway and should be complete by spring season.  Other renovation work was less visible, but no less important. For example, we rebuilt 15 catch basins and installed 13 new pre-cast ones: these collect storm run-offs and are crucial to keeping water moving during a storm.  (Con Edison has also been busy in a number of locations, upgrading the old gas lines that had begun to leak. This has torn up Farragut and elsewhere and is a huge inconvenience, but necessary.  We can’t claim it as our own but we feel compelled to include it in our list.)
While a considerable amount of work got done, more is yet to come. We plan to do almost as much repaving and curbing late next Spring as we did this year.  Between these two years of effort, we will have progressed through much of a street infrastructure plan (HERE) that had been formulated by an independent consultant in 2016 and will leave most of the streets that had been poorly rated in a substantially improved state. Infrastructure work like this doesn’t just happen – it requires planning, contractor selection, and close oversight.  Village Manager Frobel and DPW Superintendent Gunther were both kept hopping this year with these multiple major efforts.  Thanks – big thanks - go to them.
Best wishes
We are heading into the final lap here on the holiday season and this is likely the last communication until after Christmas.  We wish you the best in this holiday season and look forward to a prosperous and healthy new year for all.
Peter Swiderski