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Guest Column: Mayor Gerry Messmer
“Fall in Odessa”
The following is the second in a series of columns about life in Odessa written by Mayor Gerry Messmer.
ODESSA, Sept. 25, 2018 -- As the winds change and the air cools, we see fall upon us in the great Village of Odessa! The kids are back to school, the leaves are changing and most people's favorite time of year has arrived. I know it is mine!
The change of seasons has brought in a new and exciting organization headed up by JJ Jelliff, called the Odessa Community Celebration Organization (OCCO).
OCCO is a new group being formed by residents of Odessa to help build a sense of community, plan fun events and raise money for small improvement projects. They will become a nonprofit organization that will dedicate time and effort to raise funds for small improvement projects to improve the quality of life in Odessa. They are looking for everyone possible to give ideas of projects OCCO can take on. Examples include, but are not limited to, decorative street lights, sidewalk improvements and additions, and trees along Main Street. Perhaps we could bring back a festival or sponsor a National BBQ cook off?
Everyone is invited to their pancake breakfast on Saturday, October 6th, from 8 to 11 a.m., at the Odessa Firehouse to take a brief survey to gather your ideas. Also, they are looking for more volunteers to join the organization. OCCO needs you!
In other news, our Engineering Firm has started work on a couple of additional grants to address both the sewer project on Main Street and our water quality issues. These do take time but they are underway and I will keep you informed of progress. As the Mayor the single most important issue on my list is the quality of water! The entire Board is well aware of the problem and we are working as fast as we can to find money to determine the issues and then fund solutions. It is painfully slow, but hopefully in the end the result will be worth it. Please be patient, as this could take millions of dollars!
Schuyler County Soil and Water is also working on a grant for Odessa to help stabilize Catlin Mill Creek banks. The Monday before the bad flooding in August, I was walking the creek with them and determining which banks needed work. Needless to say, after the flooding those banks were gone! After the creek banks are stabilized it would be great to build the creek back up for trout fishing! We will be working on that in the future as well.
Also, I met with the DOT Engineer/Planner this past week to discuss the coming work to be done on Main Street (2021) to repave the street and to replace and/or improve sidewalks. DOT will look at putting in a sidewalk all the way to the bus stop and to add bump-out parking and trees to help slow traffic on Main Street.
Additionally, I requested that DOT do a traffic study to potentially put the blinking light back on Main Street. Our average speeding ticket has gone from 38 mph to over 58 mph. I have personally called on many commercial companies and municipalities to slow down their vehicles that are clearly speeding within the Village limits. Please pass the word to your friends and family to slow down in the Village!
A big hats off to SCOPED as well. Judy Cherry and her crew have been a tremendous source of information and support to Odessa as we look to make improvements in the Village. They are a very valuable resource to Schuyler County and we are lucky to have them! SCOPED has provided some key information to us in our efforts to investigate making the old railroad tracks from Burdett to Odessa into an equine trail to connect parts of the Finger Lakes Trail System. Turning the old tracks into an equine trail would bring tourists on trail rides into our community.
Finally, I would like to put the word out requesting anyone in the Village who is interested in helping with grant writing to get in touch with me or the Village Clerk. There are a lot of grants out there, but we do need help writing and submitting them.
It is an honor and privilege to serve the residents of the Village of Odessa and I look forward to meeting more folks at the OCCO Breakfast!
Photo in text: Odessa Mayor Gerry Messmer
To see Mayor Messmer's first column, click here.
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869