Message from the Mayor: Labor Day, pruning, TMTTR, plans, barges, art, more

Fellow Residents;
We head into Labor Day, always a moment to reflect on the day and our Village's role in it. This day off is a tribute to the workers and movement that organized and then proceeded to benefit every one of us tremendously:  after years of strife and struggle, the laws and regulations were laid down that helped both those in and outside labor unions.  Most Americans now enjoy workplace-provided health insurance, a five-day workweek, and safe workplace conditions, as well as regulatory oversight to make this all happen.  The Village was wracked by labor disputes in the 1914-1917 period, with strikes sweeping the heavily industrialized waterfront. People were killed as militias hired to suppress the strikers over-reacted and opened fire on the crowds.  Crowds of strikers broke most of the windows in Building 52 during one action, which saw National Guardsmen charging the crowds with mounted bayonets. Chaos. More recently, a Hastings resident serves on the National Labor Relations Board, which was formed in the 1930s. It conducts union elections, investigates unfair labor practice charges, and make the initial determination on those charges - a fitting bookend to the strife that swept this Village one hundred years ago. 
Speeding and Pruning
Labor Day also serves, of course, as the marker for the end of summer and start of school and time for some annual reminders. First, if you’ve gotten used to seeing the “Slow Down Rivertowns” signs, it is time to live them.  Children are afoot to school starting Tuesday, and all traffic slows down. Patience, vigilance and a light foot on the gas pedal are in order.  Secondly, walk the periphery of your property should it border the street, especially if you live at corners or by a sidewalk.  If you have shrubbery, trees or other plant life that spill out onto the streets, occlude street signs, or impinge on sidewalk, please trim them back.  No child should be forced into the street or driver into undue danger for lack of some pruning. 
Take Me To The River Music and Arts Festival
It is one week to the Take Me To The River concert series on Saturday, September 10th, from 12:30 to 9PM at the Draper estate off Broadway. Its a day's worth of local, regional and national bands on two stages.  The full schedule – and tickets - are here. There's local food vendors, a beer garden, and a range of clever activities for the kids. It's $25 for adults  (cheaper if you order ahead online),  $15 kids and seniors, under 10 free.  Come. Have a blast. See you there. The Village is a co-sponsor of this great musical festival, which is held on a non-profit basis to foster community involvement and appreciation for the arts.
Plans, Plans, Plans
As I mentioned last week, with our stronger financial position, we've upped the number of streets we are resurfacing this year and have begun to add new curbs to the mix. The selection of streets is being driven by an independent engineering analysis that categorized every street in the village by quality and sequenced which should be resurfaced in what order.  
With greater fiscal resources, we are doing something similar for our parks and rec facilities. We have finished work on the Reynolds Playground and we are well underway on the Riverview playground on Warburton, but there’s still more to do to catch up with deferred maintenance. The Parks and Recreation Committee has been engaged in a strategic assessment of all existing facilities, as well as what is missing from the mix. They’re concluding a preliminary version of their analysis and will be sharing it with the public and then presenting it to the Board. There’s new parks in our future (over at 9A, at the Marble Quarry), renovation of old ones – a lot to look forward to, and the resources, finally, to contemplate it.
Finally, another citizen's group is leading an effort to create a plan for the new waterfront's edge so that BP can include this in the engineering design they are doing for the waterfront remediation.  Working from a state grant (with a required contribution of $15,000 from the Village), they've hired a stellar firm that will provide the technical assistance necessary to make sure the output is directly useful in the ongoing design of the remediation by Arco.  There will be opportunities for public input in this process.  The future begins to become more real, the vision begins to crystallize.

Barges Update
This issue has gotten press and media exposure and as opposition grows, is likely to get more.  The Riverkeeper has an excellent summary - you can read their analysis here. The Coast Guard has extended the public comment period. We now have until December 6th to comment on the proposal, so if you haven't done so, click here and leave your thoughts for the Coast Guard. Quantity of respondents matters as much as quality of prose, so please do this even if you are brief. It takes only a few minutes of your time. Click now. Similarly, we’re jointly sponsoring an on-line petition that seeks to demonstrate public unhappiness with this idea. Take the minute to click here and add your name.   
Closing Reception
Jodi DeCrenza, owner of the Fitness Gallery on Main Street will be holding a closing reception for artist Mikhail Turovsky on Thursday, September 8th at 6:00PM. The gallery had the opportunity to display this noted artists' works and if you haven't stuck your head in to see them, this is the moment. His works are shown in major museums, and here you get to meet him and see his work up close. 

Other things
We will be proudly hosting the Annual County Volunteer Firemen’s Association Dress Parade in Hastings on September 24th (1:30PM through town). This parade will involve apparatus and uniformed volunteers from across the county.  An awe-inspiring and great day. More on this to follow. Work continues on the three new restaurants filling the Prime site, as well as the old Expressions site on Warburton and Spring, both due to open in October. 
It promises to be a busy Fall. 
Peter Swiderski