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Guest Column: Mayor Keith T. Pierce
“The bridge is gone!”
ODESSA, June 23 -- I guess this monthly column has kind of turned into a bi-monthly column! I trust you all know what summers are like and will grant me a little latitude! Our little Village has been awfully busy as well!
The biggest news for me, and the other board members I suspect, is this: THE BRIDGE IS GONE! Yes after many, many years of close calls and almosts, we finally got the old MacDowell Road bridge down. The old girl didn't fall without a fight, but with the skilled hands of Dave Kelly and his other fine workers, she finally gave in to the years of mistreatment by old Mother Nature. I am a huge fan of anything to do with history and it was a bittersweet moment watching the last remnants go on Silverline's truck, but I was treated with many stories from some of our more "seasoned citizens" about how they used to play on the old structure when they were kids. I hope those stories continue to filter down through the generations so the old girl will never be forgotten. I also made sure I took my 5-year-old son down there so he can hopefully say one day he was there when the old bridge finally came down. I want to thank all those who came together to make this happen. A special thanks to Robin Thoman, who seemed to have some magical powers over the boys at Silverline in getting this done so quickly.
The question now is, what do we do with that area? The Village Board is already discussing some ideas that we hope will enhance our Main Street area, including my personal favorite: a park. We would love to hear any suggestions any of you might have. I think the most important element in any plan is some type of pedestrian bridge, much like the one in Burdett. I think it's important to somehow connect the two sides of town. It is my opinion that our little stream is the most important resource we have; it's what helped form this Village, and we need to take advantage of it. Right now you can't even see it. I wonder how many people, like myself, have never seen the viaduct that runs right behind the post office. (I made sure I went there last week to see it!) What an amazing structure that is, and no one can see it! The big question is: how do we change that? That's a little confusing. I'm not sure, but am trying to find out who actually owns the stream area. Probably various property owners. I do know that Bobby Landon from the VTO did a nice job in cleaning up a stretch by the Mill Street Bridge. All I can say right now is that if anyone wants to clean a section on their property, I will offer my assistance at no cost.
You may have also noticed that things look a little different around the Municipal Building. We removed the two large locus trees from the front of the building. They were very nice trees but also got to be too big for the area they were in. Trees seem to lose some of their luster when they get hacked up so that they don't interfere with power lines. They were also starting to grow out into the driveway, scratching our very expensive fire trucks. Don't fear, there is a plan to revitalize the area with a flower garden and some low-maintenance, low-growing trees and maybe even a clock. Yes, I have not given up on that dream yet. The building will also be getting a fresh coat of paint in the not-too-distant future.
As long as we are discussing trees, I want you all to know we do have monies set aside in our budget for replacing some of the trees we have had to cut down recently. We as a board are purposely proceeding with caution in our planning so that many years from now others won't have to do the things we have had to do regarding trees. I have been in contact with Cornell Cooperative Extension and Stillman's Greenhouse and have received lists of potential replacement trees. My personal choice would be something like a Sand Cherry. Thay have beautiful blooms in the spring and are easy to cut back when they get too big. Our DPW Superintendent, Pauly, also found an interesting program that NYSEG is involved with where they will reimburse us $50 per tree to plant trees that won't interfere with their lines. We are checking into this and I will get back to you.
Speaking of Pauly, I want to let you all know he passed his Water Operator test with flying colors! We are all very proud of him! He will still have to work under Harley from Watkins Glen until August, and after that he's on his own! Good luck, Pauly!
The Salt Storage facility is coming along nicely and should be completed soon. The Reynolds brothers are doing a great job on the construction. What a great impact this building will have on our Village!
Just a quick note: Many of you may have noticed over the years that the Village has placed large baskets with flowers around the downtown area. We used to have a wonderful woman who would take care of this for us, but she has left the area. This year the task fell to the Village Clerk and the Deputy Clerk. They did a great job, but I would rather see them stick to all the work they have in their office. I wonder, is there anyone out there who would like to take over this very rewarding job? If there is, please contact the village office. I have also been toying with the idea of placing some hanging baskets on the electric poles on Main Street, as well as American flags. Maybe even having local businesses sponsor one of each. Well, that didn't get far! Seems NYSEG wants you to apply for a special permit to hang things on their poles, so I'm in the middle of that process as we speak and will let you know how I make out.
The last thing I want you to know about is something that may be in the works for this fall. We need some type of festival in this little Village. Much like the Old Home Days we used to have. It's very early in the planning stages, but we have some great ideas. I don't want to get into it too much; I just wanted to let you all know it's a possibility. The main idea that we want everything to revolve around is an old-fashioned Soap Box Derby. That's it; that's all I'm giving you for now!
Thank you all again for reading my little ditty. I love writing it and love getting any and all feedback from all of you. Until next time, keep your powder dry!
Keith T Pierce
Photo in text: Mayor Keith T. Pierce
Village Board members
Pictured below, from left: Mayor Keith Pierce and Village Board Trustees Peggy Tomassi, Timothy Hickis, Robin Thoman and Shawn Crane..
Mayor: Keith Pierce
Trustees: Peggy Tomassi, Robin Thoman, Shawn Crane, Timothy Hicks
Village Clerk: Kristi Pierce, 300 E. Main St., Odessa, 594-2100
Deputy Clerk: Kay Collins, 300 E. Main St., Odessa, 594-2100
Department of Public Works: Paul LaRow
Municipal Building: 300 E. Main St., Odessa, 594-3792
Dutton S. Peterson Memorial Library: 106 First St., Odessa, 5942791
Schuyler County Officials
Top row (from left): Thomas Gifford, Dennis Fagan, Doris Karius, Glenn Larison
Bottom row: Michael A. Yuhasz, Barbara Halpin, Paul Marcellus, Stewart Field
Thomas M. Gifford, 535-9517
Michael A. Yuhasz, 535-4967
Doris L. Karius, 546-5544
Barbara Halpin, 594-3683
Glenn R. Larison, 594-3385
Dennis Fagan, Tyrone
Paul Marcellus, Watkins Glen
Stewart Field, Reading Center
County Clerk: Linda Compton, 535-8133
Sheriff: William Yessman, 535-8222
Undersheriff: Breck Spaulding, 535-8222
County Treasurer: Margaret Starbuck, 535-8181
District Attorney: Joseph Fazzary, 535-8383
State, Federal Officials for Schuyler County
Sen. Charles E. Schumer
United States Senate
United States Senate
U.S. Rep. Eric Massa
United States House of Representatives
State Senator George H. Winner, Jr. -- Chemung, Schuyler, Steuben, Yates, western Tompkins, Enfield, Ithaca (Town and City), Newfield, Ulysses(Trumansburg)
Room 415, Legislative Office Building
Assemblyman Tom O’Mara
-- Chemung, Schuyler, Tioga
Assemblyman James G. Bacalles
-- Steuben, Yates
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869