Frustration Grows Over Lack of Progress on Footbridge

Residents wonder why Fox Point officials haven't taken action yet.

Thunderous applause roared through the Tuesday night after a tearful Cissy Bryson, who lives near the Bridge Lane Ravine Footbridge, talked about how a year without that bridge has been not only painful for her but many others as well.

"That beautiful walk has been closed for a year and here we are the peak of the fall color and we can’t cross that bridge," Bryson said. "There is no reason for that bridge to be closed."

The bridge between At that time, Ayers, an engineering firm hired by the village, had done an inspection looking into the load capacity and safety of the bridge. Ayers said the number of people on the bridge at one time should not exceed eight, and if that number could not be controlled, they suggested it be closed until the footbridge could be repaired or replaced.

Now draped with bright orange snow netting to keep people off, and "Bridge Closed" and "No Trespassing" signs scattered in front of both entrances, the bridge has become an eyesore as far as many neighbors are concerened.

And those complaints continued Tuesday, as nearly 50 people showed up at a Village Board meeting to push for a speedy decision on the bridge's fate. The audience grandly applauded the half dozen residents who spoke to the board about the importance of the bridge.

Peter Richardson, who has lived in the village for 14 years, said the bridge was closed very quickly, but that same speed is not being applied to the reopening of the structure.

"I strongly encourage the Village Board to consider rehabilitating the existing bridge and doing what’s necessary to proceed," he said. "If you’re going to make that kind of decision (to close the bridge), then you have to proceed with deliberate speed to fix it for the people who live in that community. You took something away without asking, and I think it’s incumbent on the village to do something about it with reasonable speed."

, noted that a report by the village's own consultant, Graef and Ayers, shows that while portions of the bridge need to be replaced or repaired, a full replacement is not needed.

“I don’t think it’s necessary,” Neelan said. “I can’t find anywhere within the code that it is necessary to replace the bridge. There will be a savings of $800,000 and I’m sure the city can spend that on something more worthy. And as Ayers indicated themselves, it would scar the ravine.”

But even if nothing is done now, residents say they want the bridge reopened so it can be used until a decision is made on what to do with it.

“I think a lot of people are questioning why a bridge that could be here for 100 years could be closed without any advanced notice when it looks the same it did to me the day it was closed (as it did) 14 years ago," Richardson said. 

The board did not take any action on the issue, but plans to get an updated report from its consultant on Nov. 8.

Craig October 12, 2011 at 05:25 PM
If there is a safety issue, the bridge needs to be closed until repaired. The bridge is a wonderful feature of a specific neighborhood of Fox Point. The residents in this specific neighborhood should have the opportunity to pay for a replacement if they would like to keep this amenity that benefits their neighborhood.
Sarah Worthman October 12, 2011 at 06:08 PM
Thanks for the comment, Craig. Do you think the bridge should be privately owned then, instead of owned by the Village?
Larry Booth October 12, 2011 at 06:57 PM
Dear Ms. Bryson, if you want to see the Fall colors, do like the rest of us who are not so lucky to live east of Lake Drive: go to Doctors Park or the Schlitz Audubon Center or look out your window. If you want to see the trees from the footbridge then I suggest you and your neighbors along the lake bluff (who are among the handful of people who actually use the bridge --- or even know where it is) come up with the money yourselves. Don't expect taxpayers to pay for a footbridge so the rich can see the trees turn color.
Dave Koven October 13, 2011 at 05:25 PM
The village is not so large that almost anyone in the village could not walk, bike, or be driven to the bridge so that they could appreciate this unique beauty spot. It is not just for the benefit of the immediate neighbors to this site. Dave Koven


More »
Got a question? Something on your mind? Talk to your community, directly.
Note Article
Just a short thought to get the word out quickly about anything in your neighborhood.
Share something with your neighbors.What's on your mind?What's on your mind?Make an announcement, speak your mind, or sell somethingPost something
See more »