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Guest Column: Mayor Gerry Messmer
“What's all the buzz in Odessa?”
The following is the ninth in a series of columns about life in Odessa written by Mayor Gerry Messmer.
ODESSA, June 29, 2021 -- As some of you have noticed, construction has begun on the sewer system for our small sewer district. Vacri Construction was the winning bidder and they have begun to make the dirt fly on former Wesleyan Church land purchased by the village on the west end of town!
The project will be in two phases. Phase 1 has begun and will include installation of a 3-acre marshfield and then connection to the school by September 1st. Phase 2 will begin in March after the winter shutdown and will include installation of the remainder of the sewer lines and connections to the homes and businesses in the district.
The Village Water System
Our engineers for the water system have completed and submitted the Preliminary Engineering Report to USDA-RD, and RCAP Solutions, a free grant service, is writing a grant proposal for our water upgrade. We expect to start that at some point next year, early to late spring. It will include replacing lines and installation of a new state-of-the-art treatment plant. More to follow as it progresses.
A "Rail to Trail" Park
In new and exciting news, Odessa is embarking on purchasing 50 acres of the rail line from Texas Hollow Road to Hayes Road. The owner made us an excellent one-time offer that we have accepted. Finger Lakes Land Trust has committed 50% of the funds to purchase and preserve this land to make it a “Rail to Trail” Park for the Village of Odessa. Yes, our very own 2.5-mile (one way) trail and 50 acres.
Other local businesses and residents have donated money to the village to make this purchase. If you would like to donate to help purchase the land, please contact Pam Kelly at the Village Office. Once we own it, we will be putting together a volunteer crew to help do some basic maintenance from time to time.
This August, after the NASCAR race, the overpass above Rte. 224 in the village will be coming out and giving Odessa a facelift. The New York State Department of Transportation owns the bridge, and no funds were allocated to maintain it, so they need to remove it for safety. So, expect some delays there later this summer.
Finally, we have started the application with the state through the BridgeNY program to get a 95% grant to replace the crumbling bridge on Cotton Hanlon Drive. That is a 3-year project, so don’t expect to see movement for quite a while.
Working for You
What is important to understand is that your Village Board is working hard to make all these things happen. We are working alone as a municipality, but in conjunction with DOT, the Department of Environmental Conservation, our engineer firms, the Finger Lakes Land Trust, and many other agencies who all have a vested interest in making Odessa a better place for all of us.
Your Board wants Odessa to improve, and we are doing all we can with limited funds. It is our hope that Schuyler County sees the hard work we are doing, and it captures their attention to help us with Economic Development Funds or Infrastructure Funds at some point in the future. Hey, with a little luck our legislators who represent us might even make attending our Board Meetings a habit, or attend for the first time to find out just what the people they represent want. We can only hope. Until then, we will continue the struggle on our own to bring you a better Odessa.
Photos in text:
Top: Heavy equipment at the former Wesleyan Church property, which will be the heart of a new business district sewer system envisioned to expand to other parts of the village in the future.
Bottom: Odessa Mayor Gerry Messmer.
To see Mayor Messmer's first column, click here.
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869