Message from the Mayor: On the Waterfront, Holiday events, Toy drives & more

Peter Swiderski
Fellow Residents,
News on the waterfront, holidays events, fundraisers, and topics of interest abound.  This is the time to shop local (a handy one-page right here), enjoy local, and stay local.
On the Waterfront
The  Water Tower survey ran its course, and over 2,200 of you submitted surveys. The final count favored restoring/replacing the tower over demolishing it by 1,268 to 817. That's a convincing enough margin that the Board was pleased to ask the Village Manager to begin immediately the process of identifying a contractor and preparing the documentation for the water tower to be carefully dismantled and stored.  The Board discussed the next steps, and agreed that we will appoint someone to run a public process where alternative designs for a replacement or the case for restoration is made in a fun and public way.  After public input, the Board will decide between those alternatives.
The water tower is certainly one of the most photographed and painted structures in the Hudson Valley - it is an iconic representation of Hastings' industrial past and many in town are clearly committed to retaining a structure (whether it is the original or a reimagined version) on the waterfront.  The Board knew that was important, and that was why I insisted on a right to retain that structure in our negotiations with BP over the years, for funds to take it down, and matching funds to restore or replace it at some point.  It is a point of personal pride that this will now bear fruit in one form or another.  There’s nothing left of the past on the waterfront but this icon, and it will continue to exist in form or in echo.
Drilling for samples continues in the area of the former Building 52 as BP Arco plugs the gaps in its understanding of what the subterranean pollution is, in detail.  BP has also submitted the next version of remediation design (HERE ) to the DEC for review and so the process continues.  Meanwhile, a local couple is working through video taken by engineers of the deconstruction of Building 52 and we look forward to a sped-up short video of that at some point early in the next year. Finally, the Board reviewed the 56 resumes and applications (!!) we received from the community to serve on the Waterfront Rezoning Committee, and will be reaching out to the finalists in the next few weeks.  Apparently, you can’t swing a cat in Hastings without hitting a lawyer or architect (12 of each applied), and we had a wide range of experiences, backgrounds and interests in addition. It made a for a challenging selection process.
Drop and Shop
Tomorrow, Thursday, from 6pm to 8pm we have the first of our two "Drop and Shop" events.  You leave your child at the Community Center (under age of 5 requires the presence of a guardian, which kind of obviates the point of this), along with $5.00.  They get to watch "Happy Feet" and hang out with other kids. You get to go shopping or have a meal in peace.  We repeat this on December 21st.  Register at the Community Center or call Lisa at 914-478-2380. Space is limited so check first. 
Toy drives
Family-to-Family: drop off unwrapped toys by December 15th for kids ages 3-18 at Family-to-Family offices - text first please at 914-391-3220
The Mill has their 3rd annual Toy Drive as well on Monday, December 11th from 6PM to 9PM, and those toys go to Family-to-Family.  Complimentary hors d'oeurves if you bring a gift, cash bar for all.
Toys for Tots, the Marine Corps effort, also has boxes at the Community Center and by the Police Station.
Galapagos Book Signing
In what is now an annual tradition, a number of our many local authors and illustrators gather in the Community Center this Saturday from 12PM to 6PM to offer their books for direct sale, and you can of course get them signed right on the spot with a personalized message, making for a very nice and personal gift.  This event is sponsored by Galapagos Books, which celebrates its 30th year. (The Historical Society will be there as well with a new set of gifts, including two gorgeous coffee mugs featuring a watercolor of our waterfront by local artist Ellen Hopkins Fountain or a photo of our waterfront in winter, taken by Jeanne Newman - great stocking stuffers.)
Local Photographer on OCA
Photographs of the Old Croton Aqueduct by Hastings'  Fred Charles are still up at the Keeper's House (15 Walnut Street, yes, in Dobbs Ferry). Stop by on Saturday December 9th, from 1 to 4pm, to see Fred's beautiful images, hear him speak about the OCA, enjoy some refreshments and holiday cheer, and even order some prints to be ready in time for the holidays.
Chanukah Candle Lighting
Chabad sponsors a short and simple lighting of a Menorah candle on Thursday, December 14th at 7PM.  There's a couple of spirited songs, and some latkes.  It's short, sweet, a reminder of the sacred.
The holiday season is a moment often overshadowed by frenzy: find the time to walk the downtown, see the decorations and lights, drop in on your local merchants, and enjoy the small village you live in. It’s a lovely time of the year.
Peace in this season,
Peter Swiderski