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Guest Column: Mayor Gerry Messmer
“Odessa is growing in this, my last term”
The following is one in a series of columns about life in Odessa written by Mayor Gerry Messmer.
ODESSA, Nov. 11, 2023 -- Fall has arrived in Odessa! Soon the snow will be falling, and the ground will be blanketed in white. As we close out 2023, I think that we have had a good year in our community. We finished all construction on the sewer, got the water project out to bid so we can start fixing the water system in the spring, perhaps sooner, and due to the monumental efforts of Bruno Schickel we have an amazing multi-use trail that is being enjoyed by people from across the country, literally, even a couple from Canada.
The sewer project has allowed businesses to open and expand in Odessa. Evan Stewart, owner of the Odessa Coffee Depot, has a great coffee shop that has become a social hub. If you have not been there, you are missing out. Nancy Connors opened Two Cats Cakery and Sweet Treats as well. If you have not been in, you should stop. It is a sweet treat destination! Both businesses donated refreshments to the Odessa-Hector Rail Trail Ribbon Cutting Ceremony. And now we have the Red Lotus Wellness Center on Main Street opened by Diane Moser which offers yoga, massage therapy and other services. Odessa is growing!
2024 will be another big year for the village as we start tearing the streets up again to fix the water. I have been working with DOT for several years to time this with the water project: a re-do of the sidewalks on Main Street. The design includes adding bump-out parking to help slow and calm traffic and working with Seneca Watershed Intermunicipal Organization (SWIO) engineer Ian Smith to install an environmentally sound and maintenance-free storm drain on Main Street if possible. Ian secured a $50,000 grant to help us design maintenance-free storm drains in the downtown area. The new sidewalks will go from the Post Office to the Bank and from College Avenue all the way to the bus stop on Sydney Place.
We have started and will soon have completed the new Community Center at the new Village Office location. Once completed, an open house will be scheduled. A huge thank you to Tom Cooke and Richard Decker for their efforts on the new center!
In the new year we would like to ask the community to get more involved. We need someone to head up a Friends of the Odessa-Hector Rail Trail. The trail needs an organization for continued development efforts. OMCS has offered help with sign boards and signs on trees as an educational effort. If you didn't know, there was a major train wreck along the trail and two sabotage efforts! We would like to put educational signs up where the events happened. BOCES could potentially build the sign boards. The trail needs garbage pickup to remove the trash that has been left over the years and we have two landowners that border the trail who have ideas and want to participate.
Next year we will need an expanded garden club to do more on Main Street once DOT is done with their project. The new Village Hall needs the club to help with garden maintenance and all of this will require folks to join the effort. The Planning Board has stood up again and has some great members who want to make a difference. The first thing up is a community compost pile so we can make free compost for your gardens. There is no need to spend money at the big box stores when we can make our own!
In the spring we would like to see the Boy Scout Eagle Project Community Garden at the new Village Hall get used. It has beautiful, raised bed gardens that anyone can use, first come.
The Planning Board is working on a "business directory" for Odessa businesses and surrounding areas. We would like to get this list, with all contact information, put on our website and Facebook page. This will be a great resource as there are many businesses people simply don't know about. It will focus on Odessa and the towns of Catharine and Cayuta.
Finally, this will be my last term as mayor, ending in March of 2025. It has been quite an experience and we have made a lot of changes to help set Odessa up for revitalization. In fact, we have already seen the growth on Main Street, but we are capable of so much more. It is time for me to step away and focus on my family. At the end of my term, I will have completed 39 years of public service in the military and as mayor. For someone interested, now is the time to get involved and sit alongside the board for the next year to get familiar with all the projects and efforts we have going on.
Enjoy the fall and I hope to see you on the trail!
Photo in text: Odessa Mayor Gerry Messmer.
To see Mayor Messmer's first column, click here.
P.O. Box 365
Odessa, New York 14869