There is a different feeling these days on the streets of Mount Kisco, an air of hopefulness that had been absent for some time.
It may not necessarily be quantifiable, unless anybody wants to count up the number of storefront vacancies. (On one Friday afternoon in July 2016, The Examiner counted 22 vacancies on South Moger Avenue and on East Main Street from South Moger to Gregory Avenue as part of an article on the issue.)
There is likely no one currently on the Mount Kisco Village Board who would tell you that the municipality is where it should be. In fact, there are some hard issues to navigate surrounding the Comprehensive Plan update in the weeks and months ahead.
But the feeling of brighter times on the horizon for the village has been palpable during this past year. For that, its merchants and residents can at least partially thank the fresh perspective brought to the board by Mayor Gina Picinich and Trustee Isi Albanese, victorious last year on the independent 4MK line.
Relatively small improvements, such as last spring’s Adopt an Area campaign, which encouraged residents and merchants to beautify locations downtown with flowers and landscaping, and the highly successful SeptemberFest, have been welcome enhancements.
That is a key reason why we are endorsing the next 4MK candidate, Gina DiLeo, in next week’s Village Board election.
DiLeo, a lifelong Mount Kisco resident, has dedicated a large portion of her life to the village and its residents. A Girl Scout troop leader and a 25-year volunteer with the Mount Kisco Union Hook & Ladder Company, she clearly understands the pulse of the community.
One could quibble on policy issues and question whether a parking structure on North Moger Avenue or mixed-used development in the South Moger lot is the best use of the space and will achieve its intended goals.
It’s a good debate and one which there is no clear answer at the moment. But clearly new energy has been added to this board and the community has benefited as a result.
Furthermore, DiLeo has also identified the lack of a formal village emergency preparedness plan, a glaring oversight in this era of major storms and frequent power outages.
The question then is which of the two accomplished Democratic incumbents, Jean Farber and Karen Schleimer, should remain on the board.
Both have been dedicated public servants and have served the village admirably, including support of police consolidation, a critically important move that has saved Mount Kisco hundreds of thousands of dollars a year and improved police service.
Farber has worked closely with the Mount Kisco Arts Council and helped to get the new eight-concert series off the ground this summer at Fountain Park. Schleimer has served on several other boards and volunteered in various capacities for the village and her familiarity with real estate, zoning and planning matters is highly beneficial.
It’s a difficult decision but by the narrowest of margins Schleimer gets the nod. She is a self-described contrarian, which rubs some people the wrong way, but it’s a good quality to have to avoid groupthink on the board.
We trust Schleimer’s heart is in the right place and that she won’t abuse her watchdog role.
In a race with three excellent candidates for two trustee posts, voters can’t go wrong. But choices must be made and our choices are DiLeo and Schleimer.