June 4, 2008: Compromise needed for bridge repair

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To The Editor:
I am writing on behalf of the proposed eminent domain issues being faced by one of our area’s businesses. Susan and Jim Kelly, of Susan’s Pleasant Pheasant Farm, have created a wonderful bed and breakfast business in the Town of Halcottsville. It’s all the things that people think of when they envision the quintessential country home. The pristine lake surrounded by rolling mountains, the waterfall, the tiny church on a hill and the small art galleries that dot the landscape of this quaint village.
For more than 16 years, the Kellys have run a successful bed and breakfast in this otherwise sleepy farming village. They are committed people within our community that have made Halcottsville a destination. Now, they risk losing their business to “eminent domain” over the re-construction of the small bridge in town. Their converted mill house sits next to this bridge, an overpass that requires updating. Of course, if the bridge requires safety upgrades, then this should be done; however, there must be a compromise reached so that this important area business is not lost.
I have come to know Jim and Susan over the past three-and-a-half years through our restaurant, to whom they refer their guests for dining. It seems that often people forget the impact of a lost business can have on a region such as ours. Not only do I benefit from their referred customers, but these are the same customers that I may see at the Pakatakan Farmers’ Market the following day, supporting our area’s local growers and artisans. These same B&B guests will spend their tourist dollars in the area’s shops, gas stations and cafes.
I urge the state and county authorities to reach a compromise so that the bridge may be safely upgraded, while one of the area’s finest businesses remains a country destination for many years to come.

Marybeth Mills
Owner, Peekamoose Restaurant and Tap Room
Big Indian