Bridge issue all about money

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To The Editor:
Anita Rubin’s excellent letter regarding restoration of the Fleischmanns Bridge Street bridge brings back a 40-year-old memory.

While wintering on the banks of Fleischmanns’ Lake Switzerland in the early ’70s, fantasizing about building a gondola from the lake to the top of Belleayre Mountain, I read a fascinating book authored by Cornelius Ryan entitled A Bridge Too Far. It is a World War II history later made into a major Hollywood film that recounts Allied efforts to take the Remagen Bridge crossing the Rhine River held by the German Wehrmacht.

When initial efforts failed, the United Stated Corps of Engineers ingeniously installed a “Bailey” bridge to cross that river. That bridge, proved to be easily portable, quickly installed, durable, and low cost.

At the special Fleischmanns Village Board Bridge Street bridge meeting, Carl Grocholl came up with a brilliant concept. Why not install a Bailey bridge over the Bushkill until we can get a permanent bridge reconstructed.

I strongly feel that the only obstacle to successful resolution of this ongoing nightmare is the usual unholy alliance of politics, money, and egos.

Our very competent Delaware County Public Works Commissioner Wayne Reynolds needs our strong support so that he can do the right things which is to redesign the bridge infrastructure to preserve the Harriet Grossman and John Granito properties while increasing “Freeboard” to mitigate potential future flood damage. Demolition of these properties to create more floodplain is totally unacceptable, as our tax base has already been eroded enough by Irene’s rampage.

Restoration of this bridge is central to economic tourism and recreational, as well as fire protection issues within the village. It “closes the loop” and is the gateway to historic Wagner Avenue and the ballpark.

In the final analysis, I know it’s all about money. Budgeted taxpayers dollars at village, town, county and state levels could be augmented by human resources and funding from organizations such as the Delaware County Soil and Water Conservation Services, the CWC, the MARK Project and the Catskill Center for Conservation and Development. I would bet dollars to doughnuts that all of these groups would clamber to be on board. I also know of a philanthropist or two who could be approached in this time of need. Lastly, Fleischmanns needs to form a “citizens” group to spearhead this campaign.

Let’s build a bridge for the future of Fleischmanns and the Catskill Region.

John Hoeko,
Fleischmanns