The Oyster Bay Chamber of Commerce has some exciting events coming up. On July 8, is the first annual Art Walk and on July l5 is the first Anything That Floats Race. The latter will take place along with the annual Row Around Oyster Bay fund raiser of Friends of the Bay on Centre Island Beach. They are also trying to change the time of re-surfacing of South Street by the NYS DOT, from day to night to lessen the impact on business in the village.
Claire Bellerjeau of Pleasant Valley Gallery and Gifts is chairing the Art Walk. She said around 20 artists, of the paint and canvas variety, will fill South Street from State Bank to the Book Mark Cafe. As more sign up, the venue will be enlarged to go down Audrey Avenue, toward the bandstand. She has been getting a great response from businesses saying, "It's a great way to get people into town."
She will also have flute music provided by a local performer and her students and a presentation by Dance Theater by the Bay.
Ms. Bellerjeau, Les Marbles, Paula Holtz, Kathy Wilson, two Girl Scouts and a recent Oyster Bay resident, Eric, planted the flowers in 20 planters during a cold rainy Saturday. (Pictures and story next week.)
The chamber received an uncomplimentary letter - unsigned - from someone who objected to their cleaning up the ivy from around the benches on West Main Street. They were hiding a treasure of trash including Foodtown soda cans. Remember when Foodtown was here, asked Claire.
Les Marbles suggested the chamber hold the Anything That Floats contest, to be held on July 15, in conjunction with the annual Friends of the Bay Row Around.
The activities will be held on Centre Island Beach, and will include live music and a picnic lunch.
Kayaks will be available for rental on the day of the Row Around or you can build your own boat for the Anything That Floats Race. New this year, the Anything That Floats Race is a wacky, fun event for families, teams and individuals who have constructed their own boats out of non-traditional materials.
A brochure for the Row and the Race are available. Call the Friends of the Bay at 922-6666 or the chamber at 922-6464. They are looking for sponsors to help underwrite various aspects of the day.
Robbie Hallock of Hallock Chevrolet encouraged Scott Davis of Oyster Bay Dodge, to get his workers to make an entry. The floatable is to be hand made by the sailors. It cannot contain any Styrofoam, but cardboard and tape are swell.
"We'll be the captains. We'll make this fun," said Robbie.
Sponsors are signing up for the 17th annual Oyster Festival to be held on Oct. 15 and 16. Scott Davis is the chair and Connie Manno is co-chair, in training for next year's event. Oyster Bay Dodge will sponsor the Oyster Eating and Shucking Contest; HSBC, OmniPoint, Anton Newspapers, Mill Max Mfg., and Tiger Schulman are sponsors too. Mr. Davis was especially proud of the radio sponsors who will bring the message of the festival to over 2 million listeners this year.
That should encourage sponsors to line up, he said.
Friends of the Bay's Executive Director Denise Woodin, said on April 27, she, President Jack Williams and board member Dave Relyea met with Supervisor Venditto, Senator Marcellino and the project managers, for the Western Waterfront project, Richard Lenz for the town and Chuck Hamilton for the NYS DEC to discuss progress on the plan. "We were encouraged to find that over the past few months, work has proceeded, albeit quietly and behind the scenes."
They have put up security and construction fencing and have brought in temporary water (May 28) and electricity (June 4) which the baymen, the Christeen and the Sailing School have been asking for since February.
They are working on the design plans for building "J," the boat building and maritime exhibit spot and on the removal of the dry dock. When finished, the town goes to bid, she said. The plans are about 1/3 finished. The next step will be going for funding.
They tried to get fill to level the former shipyard site but it turned out to be too difficult to obtain. Now the town has decided they will seed the area with hydroseed so it will be ready for the public by July 4th. A quick assessment of the pier, to be performed within the next month, will indicate whether it can be opened at least partially this summer.
The state is also working on a final design for its boat ramp with the goal of starting construction in the late fall. The project managers reported that they expect to demolish the dry docks sometime this fall.
Friends of the Bay will continue to meet with the Supervisor's office as well as the town and state project managers to report on progress, said Ms. Woodin.
Kathy Wilson reported on the meeting of 10 non-profits with Town Supervisor John Venditto. The meeting was characterized as "brainstorming" to create a plan being worked on by David Portman, the town's planner.
What do we as a chamber want in town, she asked. "Underground utilities," offered Tom Reardon.
David Lamb said the meeting hosted by Mr. Venditto was a real opportunity to study the town and create strategies to work with the town. "They are willing to support planning. It is in our best interests to make it work," he said. "Mr. Wang and company wants to be part of the grant (Qualities Communities Grant). A lot of things are happening. The chamber needs to be proactive.
"Speak up. How do you want the town developed. Mr. Venditto is ready to change zoning to get the kind of town you want."
Eileen McFetridge introduced the subject of West Shore Road and the project planned by the county to repair it. Robbie Hallock said the plans call for raising the road in some spots to 7 feet which represents the maximum high tide level from records going back 100 years.
Ms. McFetridge said Florida uses records going back 50 years.
Tom Reardon, who is a volunteer fireman with the Oyster Bay Fire Company No. 1 said, "Ten years ago Shore Road was under water for more than 12 hours during the '92 nor'easter." He said there is a clause in the deeding of the wetlands to the National Fish & Wildlife Service, that provides for restoring the road.
Denise Woodin said FOB hasn't taken a position on the work planned for West Shore Road. They are talking to the NFWS and looking at the project plans first.