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Guest Column: Mayor Gerry Messmer
“Summertime in Odessa is here!”
The following is the seventh in a series of columns about life in Odessa written by Mayor Gerry Messmer.
ODESSA, June 8, 2020 -- It has been a while since my last update, and I apologize for that. It has been an interesting year so far, to say the least. The craziest part has been the jump from winter to summer! Seems like we missed out on spring this year, but the greenery is a welcome sight.
Village Board Meetings and Hours
Now that we are in Phase 2 and heading to Phase 3, we will be holding our first Board Meeting since the COVID shutdown, this Monday, June 15th at 6:30 p.m. As always, all are welcome. We will have tables and chairs set up to ensure social distancing -- and don’t forget your favorite mask! The Village is now open to the public as part of Phase 2. Only one person at a time at the window, please remain six feet apart if waiting, and wear your mask.
Water Quality Improvement Project
The most important thing on all our minds is the village's water quality. I am pleased to announce that the U.S. Department of Agriculture approved and funded our grant for the water study, and this past Friday I met with JHA Companies engineers to kick things off. They will do a complete assessment of our water district starting with the well and treatment process. They will design a state-of-the-art system to ensure that going forward we can continue to meet Department of Health water quality standards. Then they will move on to inspection and assessment of the water lines to determine which ones need to be replaced. Another part of the plan is to run a line from the well straight to the water tower to put an end to the washing machine effect we are seeing by pumping water through the lines, to the tank and back down. This alone will have a huge impact on water quality.
As a part of the project, JHA will design a new DPW/Water District building to be placed near the well. The building will replace the old building on First Street. The salt shed will remain, but we plan to raze the old building and replace it with a Village Parking Lot to accommodate downtown. Since there is a septic system already there, we would like to install two bathrooms to be used during community events and possibly during the summer. The additional space will also alleviate parking issues at the library. We continue to work with USDA for funding for the construction piece as well. USDA has worked hard for Odessa and they are a great part of our team.
Sewer District Project
Our installation of the sewer district on Main Street and limited side streets is moving along nicely; however, the COVID19 shutdown did slow things up as the engineers and other subcontractors were working from home and had limited ability to get out on the ground. If things move along on schedule, we will install the marsh field and main sewer line to the Odessa-Montour Central School this year to ensure they are ready for connection as a part of their Capital Improvement Project. The remainder of the work will be completed in the spring of 2021 as the weather breaks.
Catlin Mill Creek Project
Schuyler County Soil and Water is hoping to start work on Catlin Mill Creek in July to stabilize the banks and put an end to the erosion. They will direct the water from the aqueduct into one gentle curve to go directly to and under the bridge. This will be a huge project bringing in large stone to stabilize the banks. Keep your fingers crossed they can get this done and not have to wait until next year.
Village Park Project
In another development, the Village Board has been looking at a Village Park. The best option we are seeing is the 2+ acres we own behind the well off the end of Merchant Avenue. We are working with a grant writer for this project and the goal is to fund it through grants and “in kind” share by the Village. This means, since we own the land, the value can be applied to the Village's “cost share” portion. Also, we have electricity already at the location and that will save us a lot of money. Using our DPW resources and other volunteers we can do a lot of the site prep to further reduce or eliminate any cash requirement for the village. We are looking at this spot since it is away from traffic, has room for parking and for the things we see as initially feasible: picnic tables, playground, basketball court, lights, grills ... a nice quiet place for folks to gather.
Once we have a design and plan, we will hold a town hall meeting to present it to everyone and receive your feedback. Before we can commit to this project, we will bring it to the Village residents for a vote to proceed, but to do that we need to get you the design, facts, financial details and, of course, find if a grant is possible. Please contact the Village for any ideas and input for this park as we want to make sure we include everything we can. We would love your input!
Home Town Heroes Project
Odessa is very proud of our home town heroes and we cannot begin to thank the Home Town Heroes Committee and OCCO enough for bringing this project to life. It is truly amazing to drive through the Village and see the banners of our very own residents who answered the call. A huge thank you to Peggy Tomassi for initiating this project and seeing it through with her team. OCCO donated all of the money for the brackets, keeping the cost down for the families. To Steve Siptrott, Ty Rogers and Mike Tomassi, thank you so much for your hard work putting the banners up for the Village. By the way, Steve does work for cookies!
Finally, DOT is working on the plan to remove the overpass and push the banks back. DOT owns the overpass and will not continue to maintain it since it no longer serves a purpose. We will keep you updated with that project information as it becomes available.
For any questions, comments and ideas, feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo in text: Odessa Mayor Gerry Messmer
To see Mayor Messmer's first column, click here.
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869