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SalanitroIf you think that clearing your own driveway after a snowstorm is a big job, imagine trying to plow the roads and sidewalks for the entire Village of Scarsdale--- and not just once --- but over and over again for almost 20 years. That’s been on the shoulders of one man for almost 20 years.

And the snow is only one part of his job. He is responsible for managing a staff of 77 employees, maintaining the roads, the watercourses and the trees while supervising capitol projects and managing the central maintenance garage and Village facilities. He is on call 24/7 and in a Village that demands excellence, that’s no small job.

Superintendent of Public Works Benedict Salanitro, or Benny as he is known around town, will retire in January. He has been with the Village since 1999, first as the Village Engineer and later heading up the Department of Public Works. He came to Scarsdale from Tarrytown where he served as the Superintendent of Public Works – and plans to do some consulting in municipal engineering after he officially steps down.

What stands out about his 19 years here? He remembers the windstorms, blackouts, snowstorms and floods but is also proud of some of the improvements he implemented around Scarsdale. Thank Salanitro for the new pocket park in front of the train station in Scarsdale, and a new salt shed that can store 2,000 tons of salt and saved the village $250,000. More recently he has helped to shepherd through Westchester’s first food scrap recycling program – and this week he was proud to be at the opening of the Take It or Leave It recycling shed at the sanitation lot that was refashioned from an old bus stop.

What was one of the most memorable incidents during Salanitro’s tenure? In August 2003 there was a massive blackout that knocked out the power grid for the entire east coast … no power, no lights, no nothing. A train load of commuters traveling to the city from northern Westchester was stranded at the Scarsdale train station – with no way to get home. The situation was more fraught because all the shops in Scarsdale were closed and the group had nothing to eat. They couldn’t take taxis because the cabs had no gas. Imagine the dilemma depicted in the Broadway show “Come From Away,” (when planeloads of passengers were stranded in Newfoundland) on a more local level.

What to do? As Salanitro tells it, before the situation “got out of control,” he consulted with the police and came up with a plan. One of the maintenance workers from the Department of Public Works had a license to drive a school bus. They decided to commandeer one of the buses in the school fleet and transferred the train passengers to the school bus. As the commuters sang songs on the bus, the driver headed south and took the passengers home, one by one. After the storm, Salanitro was given a certificate of commendation from Westchester County.depotnewSalanitro designed and managed the construction of a new pocket park at Depot Place.

Salanitro is proud of some of the capitol projects he supervised during his time here. The South Fox Meadow water course runs from White Plains to George Field, down the Post Road to Harcourt Woods and terminates in the Bronx River and includes a seven acre timed release water detention pond. A silt removal project was done at Crane Berkely Pond in conjunction with the residents who live in that neighborhood. Other flood mitigation projects are in the works near Cayuga Pond and in Edgewood.

Salanitro says he will miss the opportunity to work on these types of project with his staff and will miss the camaraderie with Village staff. He is gratified that he was able to help so many solve their problems and hopes he gained the respect of the many people he worked with and served during his decades in Scarsdale. He said, “In a place like Scarsdale you have to be a little bit more than the regular superintendent” and is happy he had the chance to contribute.

Commenting on Salanitro’s retirement, Scarsdale Mayor Dan Hochvert said, “I've known Benny for more than a dozen years. Due to his low-key style, it took a while to appreciate how valuable he has been to Scarsdale. I believe that only the people who had direct interaction with Benny could learn of his capability since he didn't publicize his role. However those who benefited from his work admired him. If there was a possible way to improve the quality of life in Scarsdale, within his range of responsibilities, Benny always figured it out. He will be missed.”

Former Scarsdale Mayor Jon Mark said, “Benny’s enthusiasm for the care our Village was unmatched. Supervising a truly nuts and bolts operation did not keep him from learning new techniques to do department work better and to expand into areas that help make our village more sustainable. His adoption — albeit with some persistent prodding by residents — of the LED street light program and the food scraps recycling program are two examples. Working with Benny was a delight and the Village will miss his energy and expertise.”

So next time you see a Scarsdale truck and workers vacuuming your leaves, picking up your recycling or watering a newly planted tree, realize that the effort to maintain our Village in a park takes a Village indeed…. and someone who cares to lead it.

SalanitroLetterLetter of Commendation from Westchester County after the Black Out in 2003

Santa and Friends Davis Park 20182On a bone-chilling Sunday afternoon, December 9th, 2018, the Arthur Manor Neighborhood Association celebrated its 90th annual holiday sing and tree lighting ceremony in Davis Park. This annual event in Davis Park began in 1918, the founding year of the Arthur Manor Neighborhood Association.

The day’s festivities began with a brief speech by Scarsdale Village Mayor Dan Hochvert to those gathered in Davis Park about the significance and vital role that neighborhood associations play in the community in Scarsdale. Village Trustee and Arthur Manor resident, Matthew Callaghan, and his wife Georgann Callaghan, were also in attendance and had the chance to catch up with many old and new friends.

The crowd then sang their favorite Christmas and Hanukkah songs which were all magnificently directed by the voice of Arthur Manor’s Jeanie Bongiorno. Hot chocolate, brownies and holiday cookies were provided by all of the volunteer residents who pitched in to help out and make the day a special one in Arthur Manor.

Following the group sing, everyone’s all-time favorite, Santa Claus, arrived at Davis Park in true style AM2in an antique 1946 Scarsdale Fire Department truck driven by Arthur Manor’s own Michael Keating.

After Santa completed his rounds in Davis Park with many photographs taken and all of the candy canes handed out to the children, Santa Claus left the group at Davis Park, departing in Michael Keating’s vintage fire truck to visit other holiday celebrations in Scarsdale and beyond.

The day’s event ended with the lighting of the Davis Park tree. The tree lights were strung earlier in the week on the Davis Park tree under the direction of Scarsdale’s Superintendent of Public Works, Benny Salanitro, and his dedicated Pubic Works’ crew.

This year’s holiday celebration was sponsored by Heather Harrison of Compass Realty. Heather grew up in Arthur Manor and has many fond memories of this fun filled annual holiday event in Davis Park.

This annual festivity in Arthur Manor’s Davis Park is also only made possible by the collective efforts of the many Arthur Manor volunteers including especially the Marcus, Roche, Porco, Bartalos, AM3Salazar, Stuart and Bongiorno families, and all of the other Arthur Manor volunteers too numerous to list here. The Arthur Manor Board of Directors wishes to thank everyone who helped to make this year’s 90th celebration so special.AM4AM6AM7AM8AM9AM1

MedalsSamantha Ho and Maddie Seltzer After completing their first undefeated season (9-0) in school history and winning their League, the Scarsdale Varsity Girls Swim and Dive team won their post season Conference tournament and tied for 2nd place in the Post Season Section 1 Meet. The final step in this historical season were New York State Championships, held on November 16-17 at Ithaca College.

Scarsdale’s 7 state qualifiers each had success, earning points for Scarsdale and Section 1, which earned the most points of any section in the state:

1 Meter DivingDiver2Maddie Seltzer
Maddie Seltzer, So, 6th Place
Samantha Ho, Sr, 9th Place
Katelin Du, Sr, 19th Place

200 Yard Medley Relay, 14th Place
Anya Pabby, So - Megan Lee, So - Joy Jiang, So -Danielle Eforo, So

200 Yard Individual Medley
Megan Lee, So, 15th Place

100 Yard Breaststroke
Megan Lee, So, 18th Place

100 Yard Butterfly
Joy Jiang, So, 5th Place

100 Yard Backstroke
Joy Jiang, So, 10th Place

400 Yard Freestyle Relay - 20th Place
Anya Pabby, So - Megan Lee, So - Joy Jiang, So -Danielle Eforo, So

diverSamantha Ho

Streetlight Picture1Scarsdale Village will soon replace 1,510 streetlights throughout the Village with energy-efficient LED streetlights. Following a pilot program to test the lights, the LED Streetlight Committee recommended moving forward with the LED upgrade on all residential roads that have not already been converted to LEDs. It is anticipated the installation will begin in early 2019.

This phase of the LED Streetlight Conversion Project is expected to save the Village approximately $80,000 per year in electricity costs for an annual return of 22% and a full payback of the initial investment in four years. The lights are expected to last up to 20 years.

This is the second phase of the LED Streetlight Conversion Project. In May 2018 approximately 300 streetlights were replaced with LEDs. Once this second phase is completed, over 90% of the streetlights in Scarsdale will have been converted to LEDs.
A copy of the LED Committee’s report can be found here.

The LED Streetlight Committee can be reached at LED@scarsdale.com with any questions or comments.

langfordandliMary Langford and Rena LiThe Section 1 Volleyball awards dinner was held November 19th at the Crowne Plaza Hotel in White Plains. Two Scarsdale High School seniors (and varsity team captains) -- Mary Langford and Rena Li -- were named All Section and All Conference.

The Junior League of Central Westchester held their holiday boutique on November 7 at lake isle Country Club.

We found wonderful hats, scarves and sweaters, beautiful jewelry, home décor, food and more. Twenty percent of all vendor proceeds were donated to the JLCW, supporting its mission to improve the lives of individuals and families in Central Westchester County including White Plains, Eastchester and Greenburgh. Some of the programs the JLCW runs include the Westchester County Diaper Bank, which provides diapers to families in need, monthly literacy and book donations to Head Start children in White Plains, and several others.

Dunkin’ Donuts, now known as simply “Dunkin’ has opened in Hartsdale. The store is sleekly designed, bright and welcoming. Find all your favorite coffees, along with donuts and sandwiches.

JLCW1JLCW2JLCW4JLCWBakeryDunkinDonuts from the new Dunkin' in Hartsdale

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