Trustee continues to help Sands Point change

Trustee continues to help Sands Point change

Katherine Ullman said she has seen Sands Point changing since she moved to the area in 1951.

But in 1979, she said, she decided to join the Port Washington school board to initiate the change, rather than be someone who settles for it. 

“The best thing you can do is be in the spot where you can vote on what’s going on in your community,” Ullman said.

Ullman was a member of the school board from 1979 to 1991, serving as the president and vice president. 

After her tenure on the school board, she was elected to the Sands Point Board of Trustees in 1994, and at Thursday’s meeting, was appointed deputy mayor by Mayor Edward A.K. Adler. It marks her second time serving as deputy mayor.

She will continue to serve as the board’s road commissioner — a position she’s held since her first year on the board. 

In 1951, Ullman’s father’s job required the family to move from Detroit, where he was working for General Motors, to Sands Point. 

“It was a different place, but it was and has been so beautiful,” Ullman said. “There’s been such a big transformation: When I came here in 1951, there were 300 homes. Now there are over 900 homes. It’s incredible. But it was a place where I could serve the community.”

While serving on the school board, Ullman said, she was faced with the difficult task of redistricting 50 percent of the children because the district was losing students. 

She said that at the school’s peak, there were about 7,000 students, but suddenly there was a drop, which forced the redistricting.

As a result, the school board closed one of the middle schools, and brought all the students together in one building.

“It was better for them to be closer,” she said. “They learned together and this was important, because they were being taught completely different things.”

After the redistricting, she said the public reacted positively and re-elected her to the school board. 

In 1994, Ullman said, she ran for a trustee seat, seeking to use her experience on the school board to get the public more involved in village government.

She was elected and said she eventually learned the difference between the two boards: “The school board had much more support of many administrators and school members. The board of trustees need to work together as five people in order for things to get done for the village.”

As the roads commissioner, Ullman said, she was challenged in 2012 — cleaning up the destruction caused by Superstorm Sandy.

“It was difficult because of the damage,” Ullman said. “But we did everything we could to clean it up and clean it up fast. We got rid of all the fallen trees in about two days. It was a great effort.”

In 2015, the board took out a $5 million bond to resurface all of the village’s roads with Ullman, as the roads commissioner, overseeing the project.

“By September 2016, all of the village’s roads will be resurfaced. Every single one of them needed work, because a road’s lifespan only lasts about 20 years, and these roads were due for an improvement,” Ullman said.

Ullman said of everything she’s done as a public officials she’s most proud of her participation in the village’s purchase of the Village Club of Sands Point.

“It brings the community together,” she said. “We have over 800 members and everyone gets to know each other. It’s made this such a friendly village.”

All Port Washington residents are eligible to join the club — the only requirement is that applicants obtain a current member’s recommendation. 

It’s a simple way to encourage Port Washington residents to join, Ullman said. 

“It’s important to Sands Point, and all you have to do to be a member is be a good person,” she said. “That’s it. There’s no judging committee like other places, and we welcome everyone.”

Ullman has one year remaining on her current trustee term and said she’s not ready to think about re-election yet.

But, she said,  she still wants to continue to serve Sands Point.

“There’s still so much to be done. We’re really taking big steps into the future of environmental awareness,” she said.

The village is currently expediting the process of cutting down and replanting new trees, she said, and continues to be conscientious about water use and conservation.

“It’s the little things that make a difference and I want to be a part of that,” she said.


By Stephen Romano

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