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Fox Point Village Board Authorizes Planning for Replacement Footbridge

Ayers will design a brand new bridge in accordance with specifications from Village President Michael West, however, construction will not begin just yet.

Fox Point Village Board members voted Tuesday to have consultant Ayers Associates design a brand new bridge to replace the old Bridge Lane Ravine Footbridge in accordance with specifications laid out by President Michael West.

"Don’t forget, we are not committed to building a bridge," West said.

Tuesday's decision does not tie the board to constructing anything that the consultant, Ayers Associates, creates. However, it does set the board on that path, as they utilize the allocated $37,773 contract with Ayers to plan a replacement bridge rather than repair or removal.

Trustee Beverly Bell suggested modifying West's proposal to request Ayers also look into repair options, but other trustees voted it down.

"If we take your motion, it is simply replacement, and I don’t think we have thoroughly discussed the possibilities of repair," Bell said.

Residents Weigh In

More than 30 residents filled for the meeting Tuesday, speaking passionately for and against replacing the bridge that has been closed since October 2010 and connects Barnett and Bridge Lane.

Mary Connelly, who lives near the bridge, urged the board to move forward Tuesday.

"We would like to take some action so we can and life can go on on our streets," Connelly said.

Others said the board should explore cheaper options, or hold a referendum to judge residents' desire for a new bridge.

"Our taxes are going skyward every single year; I don’t think I’ve had a reduction since I’ve owned the property," resident Frank Reed said. "I think the board could be a little bit more careful about how we spend money."

Dorothy Meyers, who said she has lived in the village since 1965, said she thought the board should consider funding other projects like street repairs before investing in the bridge.

"My street's been the same since 1965; it's never been repaved," Meyers said. "I think the bridge is very nice, but not for that amount of money."

Other residents said costs like the bridge are a compromise of building a strong community.

"This is worth spending money on," resident Barbara Schwartz said. "I’m very sympathetic to the folks who talk about being nickel and dimed to death, but that’s the price you pay to be part of communities like this one."

What's Next?

The question of funding for the bridge still looms before the board, but with some direction from motions by Trustee Douglas Frazer.

The board resolved not to move forward with construction before residents secure $625,000 in donations for the project, with a deadline of January 31, 2013. That value is half of a rough estimation for the total cost of constructing a new bridge, not including the approximately $250,000 cost of removing the old bridge.

Board members also voted to allocate $1,500 to the Bridge Lane Ravine Footbridge Citizens Committee to help residents set up a non-profit organization to begin fundraising efforts.

In the meantime, Ayers Associates will come up with a design for the bridge including the following limitations as drafted by West:

  • The primary structural elements will be steel trusses or beams with parallel, horizontal tom top and bottom chords. The vertical supports will be structural steel.
  • The design will not require painting.
  • The design will be devoid of decorative elements.
  • The clear width will be nine feet.
  • Materials will be durable and low-maintenance.
  • The design will minimize the removal of trees.
Absolutelyfabulous April 11, 2012 at 04:52 PM
Why is it that so many articles now have the editor putting in the 1st comment asking readers what they think? I believe that option is apparent w/ the inclusion of a comment section for people to respond. Is this a way to get hits so people can see what that 1st comment is all about? 1 'Panty-Gate' Hits Bayside for April Fool's Day -by Absolutelyfabulous Read Reply I think that you have a very good point with your 'busy ... Opinion: Too Much Homework Leaves No Time to Be A Kid -by CowDung Read Reply
Larry Booth April 11, 2012 at 05:40 PM
Once again the wealthy and connected got thier way and the other 95% of us have to pay for it. That so-called public meeting was a joke. Once again Board President West refused to allow Board members to answer questions from the public and skillfully manipulated the other members to achieve his predetermined objective. And the other Board members were woefully unprepared. Except for Trustee Dengel, they were content to just sit mostly silent while West had his way making the rest of them look like fools. It was a sad display of ineffective government that is going to cost taxpayers more than $1 million dollars so that a small, privileged group of people can have their private "footbridge to nowhere".
Peter Duback April 12, 2012 at 12:04 PM
Why would we spend $38k for the design of a bridge that we're not even sure we are going to build? If it's so we can get an estimate for the cost, I get it...but that is not what was suggested in the article. I'm in favor of committing to a plan of attack and then executing - i'll be upset if this $38k ends up as a waste of our precious resources.
Craig April 12, 2012 at 08:58 PM
This bridge does not serve the entire Village community. It is a neighborhood amenity. This project should be paid for with private donations or should be a special assessment to the homeowners that benefit from this amenity. Why incur design cost unless the project is adopted?
S whelan April 13, 2012 at 05:07 AM
There wasn't enough money to keep the drop off garbage site open, but we may rebuild this bridge that only a handful of residents use? It's ridiculous.

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