Here is the next edition of Speaking French, the Mayor's Update.
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City Council Updates from Mayor Douglas French
Steady Progress on Flood Mitigation
The City continues to make great progress on flood mitigation measures. At the time this is written, the Council is expected to award the bid for construction of the sluice gate at the Bowman Avenue Dam. All necessary regulatory requirements with surrounding municipalities and agencies have been completed and the City received 12 proposals for the project. The sluice gate project will help regulate water flow downstream and will cost approximately $970,000 through funding from City, State and County money. In addition to this project, the Council is also expected to approve site testing of the upper pond that sits behind the Bowman Dam. The objective of this flood control project is to study the re-sizing of the Bowman Avenue Dam reservoir in order to retain more water upstream and hold it longer during storm events. The site assessment and analysis is estimated to cost $112,000.
More Delays with the Central Ave Bridge
Next month it will be five years since the City lost the Central Avenue Bridge that connects two of the major roads in our City. The project for replacement has been fully funded and the final plan is still pending NY State Department of Transportation approval. While we all understand project planning and approvals take time, this delay has been excessive with little insight as to when the City will get approval to bid the project out. This week the City received another 20 questions from the DOT to respond to before we can move forward for bidding. A few months ago, Westchester Mayors met with state officials. The number two priority behind mandate reform was the need to expedite regulatory and planning approval on local projects. Your local officials have again made the case to state officials – Rye residents should do the same and let NY State know how you feel.
Shared Roadway Initiatives
Two of the projects cited in the City's pedestrian safety plan from 2007 are moving forward in various stages of planning and implementation. Forest Avenue is a regular thorough fare for walkers, bikers, drivers, and repaving and re-striping is scheduled for this summer to include lane markings such as sharrows to improve pedestrian and bicycle safety. This project, which is being funded by the YMCA's generous grant of $20,000, would advance the recommendations from the City's Shared Roadways Committee. The project does not include any removal of existing structures in the right-of-way, nor does it include any widening of Forest Avenue. In addition, on March 27th the County held a public hearing to hear and consider comments from members of the public regarding planned improvements to develop a pedestrian and bicycle route from the Rye Metro-North train station to Rye Playland Park along existing roadways and sidewalks, and widen an existing pathway along Playland Parkway. Approximately 2.65 miles of pathway will be a combination of sidewalk paths, on-road shared lanes, and shared off-road pedestrian and bike paths within the City of Rye.
Sustainability Committee Initiatives
Greenhouse Gas Emissions Audit, Earth Day Celebration and a potential Bio-diesel Initiative are three initiatives the Council heard from the environmental Sustainability Committee. The Greenhouse emissions audit looked at municipal inputs on actual electricity, natural gas, fuel oil, gasoline and diesel usage as well as community inputs of actual electricity and natural gas usage and solid waste figures, and estimated fuel oil, kerosene, wood, gasoline and diesel usage. The audit provides a benchmark for long term sustainability goals and a framework for the Sustainability Plan. In celebration of Earth Day, the City will sponsor a "No Idling Day" on April 23rd and create awareness for the implementation of the no plastic bag ordinance beginning May 7th. The Bio-diesel initiative is an opportunity to obtain ultra low sulfur diesel for use in Rye's municipal diesel fleet and an opportunity to promote a community-wide recycling campaign.
Appointment Process for City Council Vacancy
There will be a vacancy on the Rye City Council this summer with the announcement that Suzanna Keith and her family will be moving to Houston, Tx. Based on our charter, the Council will fill the vacancy for the balance of the year with a separate election to be held in November of 2012 to complete the term which expires December of 2013. The Council will make the appointment at our June 13th meeting. Anyone interested should contact me or members of the Council.
April 2, 2012