State Senator George Latimer submitted the following "Latimer Coffee Report" to MyRye.com after having some caffeinated beverage and spirited talks with various Rye "Joes" along with his fellow pols State Assemblyman Steve Otis and County Legislator Catherine Parker:
By George Latimer:
"Last Mile" and Flooding Tops List for Coffee with Electeds
"The Last Mile" was the first topic of conversation at Saturday's Coffee and Conversation session at Ruby's Oyster Bar and Bistro on Purchase Street in Rye, as three public officials State Senator George Latimer, State Assemblyman Steve Otis and County Legislator Catherine Parker met with nearly 30 local residents. The "Coffee and.." program has been going on for over 10 years launched by Latimer and, now with Otis and Parker, all three Rye residents.
The residents that came to talk about the NYS Thruway's reconstruction of "The Last Mile" – from the Midland Avenue interchange, Exit 22 to the Byram River Bridge, focused on the portion of the project that borders Grace Church Street and Kirby Lane North streets (the overall project impacts significant sections of Port Chester as well as Rye). Karen Dorn, Rich and Laura Slack and Judy Keller all sought an update on the project, and shared their deep concerns over noise, loss of property and value, and construction-related impacts. Assemblyman Otis and Senator Latimer both engaged on the issue with Thruway staff, reported an extension in the public comment deadline, to June 30th, and repeated the Thruway Authority's statement that the plan was not locked in stone, and subject to modification.
The on-going discussion over flooding in Rye was referenced by Bernie Althoff and Holly Kennedy, citizen leaders in Rye on the issue, and they provided an update on the efforts of Rye's involvement in the New York Rising flood program. A number of residents highlighted concerns over Port Chester's Starwood development on the campus of the closed United Hospital, and the impacts of traffic and other matters; Senator Latimer walked the group through the Port Chester process for evaluating the developer's proposal, and where citizen and Rye government will be included in comment..
Questioned by former Councilman Slack, both state legislators repeated their opposition to a LI Tunnel study, and believed that the concept, while still being bandied about in press coverage and comments, was a non-starter for many in the legislature. Nonetheless, both are staying close to whatever action may arise from the Governor's interest.
On the County side of the docket, Legislator Parker touched on Playland contract status, and her opposition to the current plan, and the lights issues along Playland Parkway and side roads owned by the County, as current issues for which the County government holds responsibility.
Assemblyman Otis highlighted the end of the State Legislative session just concluded – both legislators driving back to Rye in the overnight hours after each chamber ended business between 3:30 am and 5:30 am earlier Saturday morning. Otis referenced both local bills passed as well some key initiatives he was able to enact into law.
Councilwoman Danielle Taggar-Epstein was in attendance as well. Senator Latimer presided over the meeting, keeping things moving along at a brisk pace; all three elected provided their phone numbers and e-mail addresses for future follow up by residents.