BY ROBERT KNIGHT
ROCKLAND COUNTY TIMES
Orangetown’s Highway Department will be the object of affection for two days over the next week, hosting a public open house at their Route 303 facility this Saturday, a regional industry showcase all day Wednesday at the same location and an employee recognition celebration at a Town Board meeting next Tuesday.
The open house will be held from 10 a.m. to 12 noon at the highway garage complex off Route 303 in Orangeburg, adjacent to the Palisades Interstate Parkway interchange at the old drive-in theater marquee.
Town residents and their families are cordially invited to come and tour the facility, witness equipment demonstrations, meet Highway Department workers and learn more about the operation of the town’s second largest department, according to it’s long-time Superintendent James Dean.
He added that special guests would include representatives from the Orangetown Police Department, the Rockland County Sheriff’s Department, Organic Recycling, Inc., Keep Rockland Beautiful, Inc. and the Rockland County Solid Waste Management Authority whose representatives will be available to answer questions about the functions of their organizations.
The first 50 children who show up Saturday will be given free “Highway Helper” t-shirts.
According to Dean, the annual open house is co-sponsored by the town in conjunction with the “National Public Works Week” campaign of the American Public Works Association. On Wednesday, the department will host the annual equipment exhibition of the New York Metro Chapter of the American Public Works Association, also at the highway complex at 119 Route 303.
The chapter includes federal, state, city, county, town and village highway departments from Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland, Westchester, Putnam, Dutchess, Orange, Ulster and Sullivan Counties as well as New York City.
On display at Orangetown’s garage and yard will be displays from 56 commercial manufacturers, distributors and dealers of highway equipment such as trucks, paving materials, fencing, engineering, communications, tires and other vehicle equipment, uniform, computer, electronics, mapping, photography and other services and providers of highway equipment such as salt, sand, gravel, pavement markings, curbing, cones and flares and dozens of similar items.
Orangetown is co-hosting this year’s convention with the Southeast New York Branch of the Metro Chapter of APWA, headed by President James Maxwell. Louis Martirano is the Metro Chapter President, and will preside over most of the meetings Wednesday.
Maxwell and Dean note that this is the 25th annual equipment and products exposition geared specially for municipal highway departments, and is attended by hundreds each year.
According to Dean the event will start at 8:30 a.m. with registration and breakfast, followed by a ribbon-cutting grand opening at 10. Exhibits and displays will be open from 10 until 2, and will included dozens of brand new vehicles as well as tables and booths with literature and displays of smaller items and services.
Awards and proclamations will be given out starting at 12:15 followed by a raffle drawing at 12:45. A luncheon will be held from 1-2 p.m., followed by closing remarks about 2:30.
At the Tuesday business meeting of the Orangetown Town Board, employees of the Highway Department will be honored for their service over the past year.
According to Dean awards will be given in several categories to outstanding workers, including:
– Students from area high schools employed in the department’s summer youth employment program, in which they help clean roadsides, parks, streams and other littered locations throughout Orangetown.
– Sponsors of the town’s Adopt-A-Road and Adopt-A-Spot programs.
– Beautification and cleanup awards to individuals, groups, firms and organizations that have provided volunteer services over the past year to make Orangetown more attractive.
– Awards presented to Highway Department employees each year for length of service, consecutive employment without taking sick leave and those performing heroic actions, among other work-related activities and the presentation of a National Snowfighting Award.
At the same Town Board meeting Tuesday, the council will recognize volunteers from the town’s four ambulance corps and paramedic services for their actions over the past year.
The meeting is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. at the Town Hall at 26 Orangeburg Road, at the corner of Dutch Hill Road, adjacent to exit 6 of the Palisades Parkway.