Fleischmanns challenges county bridge decision

By Jay Braman Jr.
Fleischmanns Mayor Todd Pascarella has asked the Delaware County Department of Public Works to do an about face on its recent decision not to replace the Bridge Street bridge in the middle of his village, and he is also calling on the county board of supervisors to immediately support that position.

In a matter of fact letter to the board of supervisors, Pascarella laid out what he wants to see happen, and soon.

“I respectfully appeal to the County of Delaware to fully restore the vehicle bridge on Bridge Street that was destroyed in the flood,” he wrote. “

Furthermore, understanding that this will affect the immediate area around the bridge, I implore the county to exhaust all options possible in order to minimize the impact to adjacent property. I also request that the Delaware County Board of Supervisors adopt this position as its own without delay in order to end the uncertainty that the people in the Village of Fleischmanns are facing about our future.”

The county removed the bridge entirely after it was severely damaged during Tropical Storm Irene last year. Even though the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) gave the county the funds to replace the bridge, county officials unilaterally decided that the money would best be put to use elsewhere in the Fleischmanns area, where several other spans were damaged, claiming an overall shortage of funding to handle all the repairs.

Last winter Commissioner of Public Works Wayne Reynolds was delivered a petition carrying no less than 633 signatures demanding that the Bridge Street bridge be restored to a full service bridge suitable for both vehicles and pedestrians, But, county officials have refused to budge. Now there is an official position on the matter from the mayor the Fleischmanns Village Board.

In the letter, Pascarella challenged the county’s stance, saying that two other bridge problems in the village, one the Mill Street bridge and the other the pedestrian bridge near the former Lake Switzerland, can be mitigated at little cost, by simply not being replaced at all.

“This is all the more reason to use the money which can be recouped from FEMA for Bridge Street for its intended purpose; a vehicle bridge to serve the same purpose of the one that was there,” he wrote.

The Delaware County Board of Supervisors meets next on September 26.