As is my custom, this will be the last column until Labor Day. Given the time frame, I thought it particularly apropos to highlight village construction and improvement activity that is taking place over the summer. Though the village appears quiet, much is happening to improve the village prior to everyone’s return in early September.
Clearly, the most obvious activity, and with it some disruption of peace, is the re-pavement of roads throughout the village in late August. Those slated for curbing and paving include Woodland Avenue, Greenfield Avenue, Manor Road, Paddington Road, Argyle Place, Kensington Road, lower Avon Road, Studio Arcade, Parkway Road near Leonard Morange Square and Pondfield Road from Tanglewylde Avenue to Valley Road. Pondfield Road West was slated to be re-paved, but given the possibility of the hospital project and its accompanying street cuts and heavy vehicles, we thought laying a pristine road only to have construction perhaps soon follow was not prudent spending. However, we will continue to repair all the major potholes in that area.
Of probably even greater long-term importance than our paving is our new sub-structure repair program. The village recently completed the digital mapping of the entire sanitary sewer system. Every manhole was located (some found paved over or in the middle of private lawns), opened, inspected and cleaned. Not only will mapping have the immediate benefit of expediting repairs during emergencies, it will also assist in future system upgrades and planning.
The storm water catch basins have also all been mapped and the data is being translated into a Geographical Information System (GIS). The GIS document will contain the maintenance history of the entire system which will assist in prioritizing future repairs and improvements.
The trustees also approved an additional project relating to our storm water infrastructure. Under a defined Storm Water System Maintenance project, thousands of feet of storm sewers are being cleaned and televised throughout the village. The initial focus was on the storm sewers in the Midland Avenue Drainage Basin with additional work either recently completed or in progress in the Garden Avenue/Meadow Avenue area, Kraft Avenue, Sussex and Hamilton Avenues, Parkway Road and Paxton Avenue and the pipes extending from the school fields to Scout Field.
Again, in the Public Works arena, our $6.8 million flood mitigation project, primarily funded by a $5.2 million federal grant, has progressed into the design stage with the specialized engineers now on board. The village was also fortunate to recently receive another flood mitigation grant for the Garden Avenue parking lot. French drains and plant islands will be added to improve drainage on what is now a 100 percent impermeable surface.
In an effort to reduce what is truly sign pollution throughout the village, staff members from the Police Department, Public Works and trustees are touring the village in an effort to remove obsolete or unnecessary signs as well as replacing faded, broken or simply confusing signs. If you take a moment the next time you are walking around the village, you will notice the plethora of signage that has accumulated over the years.
Our zoning/planning consultants will also be walking our two business districts during August to interview shoppers, merchants and landlords in order to understand the distinctive needs of the village.
On the administrative front, our payroll and accounting programs are being upgraded as well as the village website. The focus of the website improvement includes a re-design of the parking section to provide better information including interactive maps as well as necessary technological upgrades in preparation for accepting on-line financial transactions.
In the Building Department, a document imaging program is under way with the goal of eventually eliminating the need for the copious storage of oversized building plans and documents.
Since Village Hall is now the home of the police, the parking enforcement office and the village court system as well as general administration, the security system is being upgraded to meet very different and necessary safety requirements.
The Police Department is also in the process of installing new and additional license plate readers on our patrol cars and even the parking enforcement vehicle. The benefit of this device has been enormous and multi-fold. Not only do they recognize unregistered or lapsed registered vehicles, the machine’s data has been used to apprehend criminals passing through the village and the GPS coordinates are used as evidence in criminal cases.
The village government goes into overdrive during what are the most leisurely months for most residents as we initiate the most invasive projects. Our logic being that the associated noise, traffic, detours and parking inconveniences should happen when the streets are the least crowded and fewer villagers are in residence to be subjected to the attendant disruption.
We ask for your patience and support as we make all of the above pre-Labor Day improvements to our village.