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Aaliyah for Town Board!

In her iconic hit, “Try Again,” Aaliyah hypnotically echoes the chorus: “If at first you don’t succeed, then dust yourself off and try again”. It’s not only an irresistibly catchy refrain that compels me to sing along, but also a profound reminder that failure is a natural part of the journey, as long we don’t give up. Leaving tonight’s Town Board meeting however, I couldn’t help but feel that our elected officials might not be heeding Aaliyah’s wisdom.

During the public comment forum, I took the opportunity to inquire about the status of Bedford’s NY Forward grant application given that the deadline is just three weeks away. Unfortunately, I found their responses deeply disappointing. Supervisor Calves explained, “We’re putting our resources elsewhere this year in hopes to apply for something like that when we have a little more idea of what our shovel ready projects are.” And Councilwoman Bobbi Bittker added, “I would hate for us to just keep throwing applications in that aren’t shovel ready and you know really getting something that can maximize the best of Bedford Hills when we are ready to get a really good and big result.” Then speaking directly to the Supervisor she continued, “Let me ask you this because I think this is how the NY forward grant works. When you receive the grant, I believe you’re out of the running for a few years so if you get a smaller grant you can’t resubmit. And I think we really want to position ourselves to get the largest grant possible and I think this is the best way to do that.”


The NY Forward program seems tailor-made for Bedford, targeting smaller and rural communities in need of revitalization while offering substantial awards ranging from $2.25 to $4.50 million. So, why are we hesitating to seize this opportunity?

The only plausible explanation I can muster is a fear of failure based on last year’s application. You may recall my candid critique of their process last year. But my intention was never to criticize for criticism’s sake, but rather to push them to do better this year (because that's what we deserve). I assumed they would have begun the process months in advance, rather than mere days like last year. And perhaps enlist the help of professional grant writers – possibly a more worthwhile investment than our current $30K/year ‘Promoter’. Nevertheless, I did not anticipate this turn of events, and I can’t help but express my profound disappointment.

The full clip of my question and their responses can be viewed below:

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