By Mary C. Marvin, Mayor, Village of Bronxville
Oct. 10, 2018: We continued to heavy-vac storm sewer drains and pipes with initial emphasis on those surrounding the school property, followed by the area near Park Avenue and Sycamore Street and then the Hilltop and the Sturgis/Summit neighborhoods. We have also engaged the services of a pipe televising company to start with the 36" and 72" conduits along the Midland Avenue drainage basin. Much of this work is a repeat from past years, but tree roots and build-up can happen in a matter of months.
One of the chief culprits interfering with the free flow of water in our sewers is the accumulation of lawn leaves. The village spends $100,000 annually to collect and transport yard leaves off-site. In between pickups, leaves left in the street head directly to our sewers during rainstorms and cause even greater expense as we then must de-clog drains. Mulching in place, or at a minimum leaf bagging or gardener removal, would so help our drainage issue. Mulching also increases the water retention capacity of soil being especially useful for the absorption of rain runoff.
In the same ecological vein, the village's Green Committee began the fall with an auspicious start, scheduling a "take-back day" for October 27 from 10:00 am to 1:00 pm. One only need to get in a short queue behind village hall to have papers shredded and e-waste properly recycled, including computers, fax machines, printers, and TVs. In addition, gently used linens and towels will be collected for the Yonkers Animal Shelter, and "Let's Play It Forward" will take any and all gently used sports equipment for distribution to area children.
Two of our high school students, Barrett Dollar and Sophia Sulimirski, have offered their time and energy to the committee, and the hope is to make our green effort more multi-generational and inclusive, as the school no longer has an environmental club. The Green Committee's next focus will be on the care and preservation of the private trees throughout the village and their importance for thermal cooling, historical significance, and great absorption of rainwater. As an update, the Green Committee's Giving Garden project has grown and delivered over 300 pounds of fresh vegetables to soup kitchens in our neighboring communities.
The village's Boulder Ledge Garden Club recognized the same importance of our street trees in the public right of way, and thanks to a solicitation letter and its generous club donation, $15,000 was raised to improve our downtown landscape. In the coming weeks, eight to ten trees will be planted on Kraft Avenue, Meadow Avenue, and Park Place. Our terrific village DPW staff will help with site prep/stump removal, again, another vital public/private partnership that makes our village so special.
After much research, we have decided to surround the new trees with the eco-friendly resin aggregate Flexi-Pave you have seen on trees on Pondfield Road. Used throughout the country, including all the paths in Yellowstone National Park, it is a LEED-certified pervious material that filters and cleans rainwater runoff, removing harmful chemicals including phosphorous and nitrates before they reach root systems or groundwater. Flexi-Pave has proven to be an excellent solution for well-traveled sidewalks where space is limited. Its level surface helps to decrease slips and falls, and it stands up to shovels, snow, and salt, it prevents soil compaction, it expands to allow tree trunk growth, and it causes no depressions to accumulate garbage and perhaps rodents. Though perhaps not the aesthetic ideal, it so meets our goal of a healthy landscape and safe transit in very confined spaces.
In light of property density and the increased incidence of flooding, the board of trustees' community plan initiative will also focus on the value of trees and permeability and water absorption. As every other community would agree, we all came late to the realization of the importance of maintaining permeable surfaces. As an example, when driveways were repaved, we often looked to the aesthetic effect the repaving had on neighbors and required shielding shrubbery as opposed to focusing on the water flow off of blacktop. The same can be said about our review of stone walls, concentrating more on their height and stone quality as opposed to the potential water flow at either end of the wall.
Unfortunately, the village's high density proves not to be a deterrent to creatures who formerly roamed in less populated environs. Though there have not been sightings the village of late, our neighbors in Chappaqua, Pleasantville, New Rochelle, and Eastchester have been visited by coyotes. As the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation concluded, "Coyotes have now wholly adapted themselves to suburban environments."
Some tips the state has conveyed to share with residents include:
Do not feed pets outside.
Make sure garbage cans are tightly sealed.
Make sure family pets are supervised, especially from sunset on.
Enclose compost piles.
Remove high brush and tall grasses from around your house perimeter, as coyotes are secretive and prefer to hide in protective cover.
Eliminate the availability of bird seed. Birds and the rodents that often follow to feed are favorite coyote prey.
If you see a coyote, be aggressive in behavior: stand tall and hold arms out to look large; wave arms, make loud noises, and even throw sticks and stones.
Final note: Work on the rehabilitation of our newly purchased Avalon parking lot will begin on October 15 and continue until year's end. The village will be in contact as to parking disruptions and timetables.
Editor's note: As a public service, MyhometownBronxville publishes articles from local institutions, officeholders, and individuals. MyhometownBronxville does not fact-check statements therein, and any opinions expressed therein do not necessarily reflect the thinking of its staff.