Fleischmanns needs bridge

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To The Editor:
Commissioner Wayne Reynolds has twice in the last year addressed the residents of Fleischmanns on whether or not the vehicular bridge at the heart of our village is to be replaced. He has stated he is likely to recommend that the FEMA money applied for in order to replace the Bridge Street bridge be allocated for work on the village’s other bridges instead. In response to the majority opinion of the community that his department is responsible for our bridge repairs as well as replacing the bridge, he has twice promised that his recommendation to the Public Works Committee of the Delaware County Board of Supervisors would reflect the decision of the village. Mayor Pascarella, after careful consideration of all pertinent information on the matter, has stated emphatically that Fleischmanns needs the vehicular bridge if it is to continue on its recent trajectory of revitalizing the economic and commercial future of the village.

Five new businesses have opened on Main Street in the last three years, another two are to open in the next few months. Working in concert with the Mark Project, Main Street homes and commercial buildings are being upgraded. There is a new vitality and pride in the village.

For the first time in decades large numbers of volunteers from the area are working in concert to further the improvements and growth. The Village of Fleischmanns serves a larger constituency then the residents of the village. The Red Kill Valley, Halcott Center, Brush Ridge and Belleayre all consider Fleischmanns their village. Our Wagner Avenue Park is used by Delaware County residents and the students of MCS on a regular basis. And now through the generosity of Kingdon Gould, a resident of Dry Brook, it will once again be a vital part of the community.

The Bridge Street bridge is the connection between the village’s growing commercial district and the main residential and recreational street of our village. Our first responders are clear that the loss of this bridge will negatively impact their ability to meet the needs of the village should there be another catastrophic event such as Tropical Storm Irene.

Commissioner Reynolds is proposing to eliminate three bridges in the Village of Fleischmanns. In addition to the Bridge Street bridge, he proposes to take down the Mill Street Bridge and build a new road through the parking lot of one of the Main Street motels in order to provide access to residents currently dependent on the Mill Street Bridge. He also proposes not to replace the pedestrian bridge, which replaced a vehicular bridge taken out by the 1996 flood, and connected Old Halcott Road and Lake Street. There is a pattern here. By eliminating vehicular bridges the county effectively reduces its operating budget and transfers that cost and responsibility to the village. The residents of the Village of Fleischmanns and its environs have clearly stated their position, the Bridge Street bridge must be replaced.

The decision now appears to rest with the Public Works Committee, comprised of five town supervisors, only one of which is from the eastern end of the county. From our point of view, Fleischmanns is geographically the first village of Delaware County. We don’t want to be treated as the last and forgotten village of the county. We invite all the members of the board of supervisors to visit our village and see the new Fleischmanns and the need for the bridge first hand.

Michelle Sidrane,
Fleischmanns