MAHOPAC, N.Y. - A concerted effort is underway to improve the aesthetic appeal of Mahopac, particularly the business district, and a major step was taken Thursday, May 31, when an old and rusted petroleum tank was removed from the hamlet’s skyline.
The 60-plus-year-old, 40-foot-high tank located on the Heiser family property off Cherry Lane (right behind Gino’s Trattoria on Route 6) has been unused and in disrepair for decades. Now, thanks to voluntary efforts and financial contributions, the eyesore has been vanquished.
“The entire Town Board is behind the beautification of downtown Mahopac,” Councilman Mike Barile said as workers behind him used torches to remove the tank panel by panel. “We (the board) all worked hard together to get this tank removed.”
Barile said the property on which the tank was located had been the site of an old business owned by the Heiser family but is now leased to a contracting company.
“There was an old business here and the daughter, Janine Heiser, allowed us to take [the tank] down,” Barile said. “It is breaking up her memories and her nostalgia; the old tank is from their business 60 or 70 years ago and it had sentimental value for her. But she is an absolutely lovely woman and she worked with us to take it down.”
Barile and Supervisor Ken Schmitt said the removal of the tank is just the first of many beautification projects the town wants to facilitate as part of the renaissance of the downtown Mahopac area.
Barile said the projects are being done at no cost to taxpayers and that while the Town Board is guiding them, they are not municipal projects.
“They are paid for with private funds,” he said. “I have a bunch of volunteers who have opened their pocketbooks to beautification projects. [My company] has taken this first one.”
Barile said the cost to take down the tank was $3,000 and his company, LynLil Associates, will pay for half. Gerard Ahler and his roofing company, Prestige Pro Contractors, will pay for the other half.
“There are several pet projects [the Town Board wants to complete],” Barile explained. “This (the tank removal) was priority No. 1. Priority No. 2 is the old wooden MSA sign at the corner of Mount Hope Road and Route 6 across from the CVS Pharmacy.”
Barile said the sign, as well as a broken telephone pole, will come down and the area cleaned up. It will be replaced with a “variable message” sign, similar to that on the Temple Beth Shalom property, which will be ensconced in brick or stone framework. The message board will provide information not only about MSA games and activities, but emergency information, such as during power outages.
“We are looking for volunteer masons and donations of cement, sand and materials for that project,” Barile said. “We want to do an interlocking [stone or brick] pavement, so the area is totally maintenance-free. We will be reaching out to the Lake Mahopac Garden Club for help with this one, as well. And we want to work with the Chamber of Commerce and other civic organizations on future projects.”
Schmitt stressed again that no taxpayer money is being used for these projects and the town welcomes volunteers and donors.
“Any volunteer can contact the board to see what we are doing next and if they want to be involved,” added Barile, “or if they have any new ideas for projects.”
Councilman John Lupinacci said Mahopac is fortunate to have so many volunteers, such as the Boy Scouts, who perform many Eagle Scout projects for the betterment of the town’s parks.
“Anytime we have volunteers, it is a good sign,” he said. “We’ve seen it at the ballparks and now we see the business [community] doing the same thing. Our volunteerism and community interest are wonderful. When you see this sort of thing, you can’t go wrong.”