Fleischmanns Village Park repair work is finally underway

By Joe Moskowitz
Nearly three years after being devastated by Hurricane Irene, work has finally begun on one of Fleischmanns’ major assets, the village park.
The Wagner Avenue park sits next the Bushkill stream and was totally destroyed in the hurricane with the raging water tearing up not just the grass but making the tennis court and playground unusable.
This spring the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) finally approved the village’s project worksheet and rebuilding could begin.
The first step is the tennis courts. Demolition of what is left of the old playing surface has begun.
Mayor Todd Pascarella said that after the tennis court replacement is completed, bids will be accepted for the concession stand, then the rest of the federally-funded replacement work. 
The playground is a  different story. FEMA didn’t place a very high value on the old one, but thanks to local fund raising and the MARK Project obtaining a grant from the State of New York, an all new, improved playground will replace the old one.
But access to the park is still a problem  It isn’t as easy to get to there as it used to be. The hurricane destroyed the nearby Bridge Street bridge and without it people have to walk, drive, or ride bikes from the Main Street side of the village.
The bridge is owned by Delaware County, but County Public Works commissioner Wayne Reynolds said the county simply doesn’t have the money to replace the bridge.
The village came up with the idea of building a footbridge, but that is proving to be problematic. In order to satisfy the county’s requirements that a bridge must be built so that it can withstand a 100-year flood, it will have to have an arch lifting it high enough above the Bushkill to be considered flood safe. A five-feet wide walking bridge will have to be 84-feet long compared to the old bridge, which carried cars and trucks and was just 53-feet long.

Lots of work
Pascrarella said that would require extending the bridge 14 feet onto properties owned by former Fleischmanns Mayor John Granito, and current trustee Harriet Grossman.
Pascarella said neither one has decided whether or not to grant an easement and a study of an alternative plan is underway. Grossman is prohibited from voting on the matter during village meetings.
Pascarella said the arch requirement is the reason  the village can’t just build a bridge that can also carry cars and trucks. Transportation regulations require a flat entrance for all new bridges.