By Mayor Ron Belmont
As you enjoy the outdoors, I hope you have an opportunity to notice this year’s spring plantings. Many gardens were installed this year in both Downtown Harrison and West Harrison. In Downtown Harrison, Ma Riis Park, Petti John Park and Brentwood Park benefited from the generosity and hard work of volunteers. In West Harrison, the 911 Memorial, the Passidomo Monument, the Village Square clock and the entrance to Passidomo Park have also been decorated with beautiful plantings. The Harrison Beautification Foundation, Inc. has supplied flowers and I would like to thank Foundation members Denise DiBiasi and Helen Pesce, as well as town personnel, for their dedication and commitment to beautifying our community. Additional gardens are ready to be planted. If you have an interest in assisting the Beautification Foundation, please call Denise Di Biasi at (860) 750-4200. The Foundation is always looking for landscapers or individuals to sponsor gardens.
It gives me great pleasure to report that Harrison was recently recognized at the Westchester Municipal Planning Federation’s Annual Awards Program and Dinner. This event recognizes outstanding contributions to planning in Westchester County and the Town/Village of Harrison received a Planning Commendation for Manhattanville College’s solar parking instillation. The Harrison Planning Board approved the project that now provides a portion of the campus’s electricity. It was an honor to be included and I look forward to participating in more projects that support emissions-free electric power.
I would like to acknowledge Harrison’s four new police officers who recently completed their training at the Westchester County Police Academy. Many instructional hours are required and I’m confident that our new officers will join with the Harrison Police Department in keeping our community free from harm. I was very proud of Robert Longo, Michael Forgione, Alexandra Menniti, and David Tolve, Jr. as I presented them with their certificates at the graduation ceremony in May at Westchester Community College. Congratulations to the new officers and welcome to the force.
If you have stopped in to Town Hall lately, you may have noticed that a tower garden has been installed in our foyer. The self watering garden is in a vertical structure that has no dirt or weeds, uses less water and requires less space. It provides extra yield and has a faster growth trajectory.
A Con Edison contractor, Riggs Distler & Co. Inc., will be working at Lincoln Avenue between Harrison Street and Madison Street on a Gas project. They expect to be on site into July 2019. To complete this project, local service may be interrupted temporarily. Con Ed will notify you in advance if the work will affect your service. If you have questions or concerns about the upcoming work, please email CustomerQuestions@conEd.com or dl-WestchesterRCA@conEd.com and use Reference Number: 19-00013.
Avalon Bay recently hosted a groundbreaking at the site of the soon to be constructed 143 unit, transit-oriented apartment community on Halstead Avenue. The event was commemorated with a traditional “shovel in the ground” ceremony. Local public officials as well as MTA and Metro North executives joined the Avalon team as the plans for this exciting project were presented. This development reflects a genuine opportunity to kick start the revitalization of our downtown. We can expect almost 300 new residents, new restaurants and shops, streetscape enhancements, and two new pedestrian plazas. This entire project is consistent with our Comprehensive Plan which Harrison adopted in 2013. We are finally on the road to creating an important downtown neighborhood which will provide benefits for all Harrison residents.
In June, I had the pleasure of attending the annual St. Anthony’s Festa in West Harrison. The weather was spectacular as thousands of residents and visitors attended the festivities and enjoyed the food, games and celebration. Food vendors provided Festa favorites that included sausage and peppers, pasta and fresh cannoli. Children’s activities, music, dancing and carnival rides were enjoyed by many Festa attendees. This year’s event was a great success and provided a wonderful way to showcase our area’s Italian heritage. As is the tradition at the conclusion of the Festa, church leaders and parishioners from St. Anthony’s form a procession while carrying the statue of St. Anthony. This will be Father Chris Monturo’s last Festa procession. On Saturday, June 15th at 5PM, Father Chris celebrated his final Mass at St. Anthony’s. The church community gathered together and thanked Father Chris for his years of spiritual leadership and wished him well as he journeys forth.
I would like to take this time to recognize Harrison student, Katia Barker and her charitable endeavors. Katia began working with Thirst Project as a 14 year old student. Her mission was simple, to fully fund water projects for communities in need. In the past three years, Katia raised over $28,000, and recently traveled to Eswatini to film a documentary about the water crisis. Congratulations, Katia. Your hard work and dedication will have a tremendous impact on those in need around the world.
The Town/Village of Harrison’s Town Board recently recognized the winners of the 2019 Mayor’s Choice Award, a long-running and most prestigious recognition for talented students. More than 100 works of art were submitted for review and four students received this notable distinction. Additionally, all the award-winning selections will become part of the permanent collection exhibited in Town Hall. Recipients of the 2019 Mayor’s Choice Award are Filippa Rasmussen, Gabriela Gonzalez, Jacob Burack, and Madalyn Amaral. This award represents the diverse talents of our local student body and the varied curricula offered by individual art departments. Every spring, incredibly beautiful pieces of art are entered and it is a privilege to recognize the hard work and dedication of each student and their teachers. Each year, I look forward to joining the committee, as we evaluate the submissions, and am always impressed with the creativity of our youngest residents.
Congratulations to Harrison students who recently received a Metropolitan High School Theater Award. This award is given each year to local students who have demonstrated exceptional talent in high school musical productions. At this year’s ceremony, I was proud to watch as the following Harrison students were recognized: Michael Jubak, Jr. for Comic Performance-Male, Jessie Alfieri for Acting Performance-Female, and Jaqueline Cabrero for Technical Merit.
Today’s lifestyle preferences call for varied housing options and residents want safety as well as convenience. In addition to the Avalon project, Harrison’s downtown business district is meeting these demands with three new exciting developments near our Metro-North train station. The Playhouse Lofts project, on Purdy Street, includes 36 luxury apartments. The storefronts will be upgraded and some new businesses will occupy the retail space. Calvert Street’s Seville Plaza will include 24 new residential units and the new project on Nelson Avenue will include 12 units. The Town of Harrison has worked collaboratively with project stakeholders in an effort to create a more vibrant downtown. This, in turn, will benefit all residents as it revitalizes our community and strengthens our tax base.
Harrison students are on the move! Local, high-achieving seniors were recently recognized at the annual Carroll F. Johnson Scholastic Achievement Dinner and I would like to congratulate Harrison High School students, Matthew Griff and Molly Steinberg for receiving this very impressive commendation. All honorees are eligible to apply for scholarships and I wish them both the very best as they head to college in the fall.
Section 1 baseball coaches recently recognized their all-section players and I would like to take this time to congratulate Harrison High School student Vinny Corso for being named Section 1 Pitcher of the Year. I’m proud of his accomplishment and look forward to his promising season ahead.
The newly refurbished Wilding Park is open for business! Residents can now enjoy new, high-quality playground equipment. The addition of this apparatus will provide our youngest residents with opportunities to engage in safe, purposeful activity that will enhance their physical and social development. This community gathering place is located on Oakland Avenue, between Halstead Avenue and Park Avenue, and each day many of the neighborhood residents, and their friends, can be seen enjoying the playground and the surrounding park. Now that the nice weather has arrived, I hope all residents will stop by and take a look.
This summer, Westchester County will introduce “Town Days” at Rye Playland. Each town in Westchester will get their own day at the park with special perks just for their town. The Town/Village of Harrison’s Town Day will take place on Tuesday, July 16th. With proof of ID, each resident will receive discount coupons, when they arrive at the park, by going to the Fountain Plaza Administration Building. Discounts include one free mini golf entry, one two-for-one ride admission, one free beach or pool admission, $1 off of one food value meal and a $5 discount for parking on a return visit to the park. I hope many of you will be able to take part in this wonderful event.
If you have any questions or concerns, please don’t hesitate to call or stop in to Town Hall. I am eager to hear your thoughts and suggestions and my door is always open.