Irene Gossin, a former Penfield town supervisor, was recently honored at the Monroe County Democratic Committee Fall Dinner at the Rochester Riverside Convention Center.
Gossin was an inspiration to many residents who believed in the preservation of open areas in Penfield. Mindy Maclaren shared Gossin’s accomplishments with the dinner attendees.
Gossin was elected Penfield town supervisor in 1971, and she was the second Democrat to hold office in Penfield’s 160-year history. Her election also made her the first woman to run a government in Monroe County.
She started her career as an environmental advocate and citizen activist, bringing people together to effect change. She tackled issues including land use and planning, waste management and environmental and historic preservation during her five terms as supervisor and two terms as county legislator. Her signature cause was to save the Irondequoit Bay Wetlands from pollution in 1966.
Gossin was one of the area’s most well-known and effective politicians. She died in June at the age of 97.
There has been no lasting acknowledgement of her career in Penfield. Some areas where she made a direct contribution have been named for her male counterparts, until now. Eighteen acres of land located in Penfield are currently being developed into the Irene L. Gossin Nature Preserve, providing the opportunity to not only experience nature in the middle of suburbia, but also the opportunity to learn about Gossin’s impact on many of the green spaces enjoyed today.
The nature preserve will open to the public in 2018.