Goodbyes, honors at latest Flower Hill board meeting

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Members of the Flower Hill Board of Trustees and village administration applaud outgoing Trustee Jay Beber following his final regular meeting as a trustee. (Screencap)

A memorial for a late mayor and a fond farewell to a trustee were on the agenda at the latest meeting of the Village of Flower Hill’s Board of Trustees.

A proposed memorial park in honor of the village’s late mayor, Robert McNamara, who died last year at age 76, was discussed at the meeting, conducted over Zoom on Monday. The plans were unveiled by Building Superintendent Peter Albinski, and place the memorial at the corner of Bonnie Heights Road and Port Washington Boulevard.

Initial drawings depict the memorial as a space adorned with a bluestone patio, bordered by laurel hedges and perennial flowers, with the inside consisting of three benches, a center with a flowering cherry blossom and more perennial plantings, and a plaque remembering McNamara.

The board members said the design was beautiful.

“I think this plan is a good plan,” Mayor Brian Herrington said of the design.

Herrington then directed Albinski to get quotes on the project, which he said would be further discussed in the village budget. He added that the village was seeking to get the project going in April.

Briefly discussed at the meeting was the mural formerly outside Joanne’s Gourmet Pizza. Herrington said that it had been painted over by the owner last week once weather conditions improved.

“We did reach out to the owner to get a plan together and reminded him that if he wanted to pursue keeping it, he could apply and follow proper village procedure, or he could paint it over, and obviously he decided to paint it over,” Herrington said.

Village Attorney Jeffrey Blinkoff added that the owner had appeared in Village Court that week, where all charges were dropped.

The goodbyes culminated with a farewell to Trustee Jay Beber, who served on the Board of Trustees for five years and chose not to run for a third time. Longtime resident Max Frankel is seeking Beber’s seat in an uncontested race in the March 16 village election.

Beber acknowledged that he was giving his final official trustee report, and recalled the first time he sat at a meeting in the role.

“At my first trustee meeting, [then-Mayor] Elaine Phillips had me sit right next to her,” Beber remembered. “I believe that’s because she knew I might need a little extra help and support. And it might have been because I brought two gigantic posters to the meeting, and I really thought I was prepared. I made graphs, and charts and blood samples, and I had pricing for a dozen ideas that I thought would be my contribution to the village. I did all that. Because I really had no idea what my exact role as a trustee might be … [Phillips] let me speak for a few moments. And then very diplomatically, she let me down very easily, and she tabled my over-enthusiasm until the next meeting. So I stopped sweating. And it was at that point that I believe my tenure as a trustee truly began.”

He then complimented his colleagues on the board, praising them as “dedicated residents” and wishing them the best.

“I’m proud to have been part of [the village’s] history,” Beber said, adding, “And for what it’s worth, I think that coffee and donuts would have made our meetings better,” resulting in a laugh from those gathered.

Herrington and village Administrator Ronnie Shatzkamer then praised Beber, and trustees gave him a round of applause.

Flower Hill’s Board of Trustees will next meet April 5 at 7:30 p.m. over Zoom.

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