The Village of Ossining’s Downtown Redevelopment Working Committee issued its report last week on a vision for the village following a three-month review.
However, the committee, which consisted of 15 community members and five village government officials, stopped short of taking a stand on the controversial roundabout project since it was divided on the issue. Instead, the committee suggested the roundabout be implemented as part of a broader approach to the Route 9 area.
In April, during a community meeting at Ossining Library, village officials said plans to construct a roundabout in the Main Street business district were temporarily moving forward while the Village of Ossining Board of Trustees sought recommendations on redeveloping the downtown.
The Board of Trustees voted March 22 to table a resolution that would have defunded the roundabout. Instead of opting to no longer finance $500,000 in serial bonds for the project that it authorized earlier this year, trustees decided to stand pat while it gauged public opinion on how to proceed.
However, during that meeting at the library, interim Village Manager Paul Fraioli said “we are moving along kind of quickly” on the roundabout with work estimated to start in June and be completed in two to three months. That work was never started.
In its report, which was presented July 25 during a work session attended by about 50 residents at the library, the committee maintained the “Village of Ossining is turning a corner” with many “possibilities abound.”
Committee members said they relied heavily on the 270 recommendations that were in the village’s 2009 Comprehensive Plan. Several subcommittees were formed that focused on specific areas: open space, transportation and parking, innovative ideas, and developing parcels left behind by urban renewal in the 1970s.
The committee suggested steps be taken to “make Ossining a place to visit, rather than a place to travel through,” parking garages possibly be constructed outside of the downtown and lodging facilities be encouraged.
Greater Ossining Chamber of Commerce President Gayle Marchica praised the committee for its efforts and recommended an action plan with priorities be developed.
“These kinds of things are never easy. You guys knocked it out of the park,” Marchica said. “We would love to see this come alive, with boots on the ground, in a reasonable amount of time. Go for some of the low hanging fruit first.”