The Village of Ossining Board of Trustees is hoping to get a better sampling on how residents feel about possibly changing the longtime village seal.
“The people that live here are the ones that will decide,” Ossining Mayor Rika Levin said during a work session last month.
A survey circulated in late November on social media, spearheaded by former Mayor Victoria Gearity, revealed 77% of the 1,817 respondents favored replacing the Native American head, which has been the village’s government seal since 1950, with a Double Arch.
However, the majority of the board did not accept those results, contending many of those opinions could have come from non-residents, and they heavily criticized Gearity for leaving them out of the process.
“Process is very important when it comes to something like this,” said Trustee Robert Fritsche.
The current board agreed it was worth exploring if there were strong sentiments in the community to change the seal.
“Seventy years is a pretty good run. It’s not about changing history. Time’s change,” said Trustee Dana White, a former village historian. “I very much respect the feelings of people. Nostalgia is a very powerful emotion. We’re just looking at what represents the village now.”
The Double Arch seal, a version of which the Town of Ossining utilizes, was designed by Ossining High School graduate Daniel Avile. The Double Arch, the only one of its kind in New York State, is the seal already being used in correspondence and communications from the Parks and Recreation, Police and Fire departments and was used during village’s bicentennial and in the Master Plan.
The board discussed doing an online survey, but Village Manager Karen D’Attore maintained village officials would be unable to limit the responses to village residents. The board instructed staff to report back with viable options.
“We need a plan of action. Let’s not take a long time on this,” Levin said.