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The Lake Placid news. (Lake Placid, N.Y.) 1905-current, August 20, 2004, Image 31

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AUGUST 20, 2004 LAKE PLACID NEWS PAGE ft Jay bridge: A walk through history and the record Continued from Pag* 27 the bridge, and a fourth pier was built near the southern end to sup- port the I-beam. On Nov 7, 1985. a loaded Pepsi truck lost its brakes coming down the Wilmington Road toward the green, careening down Mill Hill and npping through the covered bridge The truck tore out all the wooden cross beams and steel reinforcements on the upper portion of the bridge, leaving it crooked and close to collapse. The bridge was closed for a month while $45,(XX> in repairs were made New bridge planned Plans tor a new bridge were already in the works by the time the Pepsi truck lost its brakev The state Department of Transportation made its first pro- ject request for a new bndge in November 19X3 The following Ma>. federal funding was approved and the DOT started designing the project. A draft design, completed in 1986. pro- posed a site for the new bridge 600 feet upstream from the cov- ered bndge - just above the Jay swimming hole A public informa- tion meeting on the plan was held in February 1986 in the Community Center in Au Sable Forks, but the project got sidelined when federal funding was killed. Later in 1986. the Essex County Board of Supervisors came up with an alternative to a ne* bndge for Jay: Just maintain the covered bndge. A plan was put together to preserve the covered bridge as part of a public park and new historic district The design lor this project, funded b> two grants from the New York State Ctxinul on the Arts, was complet- ed in 1 MS\ and work <>n the year- long project was suppi>>ed to begin in Jul> 19S7. It didn't. When federal funding for the DOT's new-bndge project was restored in I 1 W2. public opposi- tion lomicd around a new group. Bndge and Beyond, led by Jay BA:B owner Fred Balzac. Bndge and Beyond objected to placing a bndge so close to Jay *s swimming hole, a major tounst draw for the hamlet • Bndge and Beyond employed several tactics to communicate their message. Letters to the edi- tors of local newspapers were writ- ten. Balzac penned articles on the Jay bridge for sympathetic newsletters and magazines. \Before the first concrete pier is submerged in the Au Sable,\ Balzac wrote for the New York State Covered Bridge Society Courier in March 1993. \isn't it worth exploring whether a* bridge that has served the transportation needs of the area for six genera- tions, can first be remade to handle them for six generations more?\ In 1993. Jay artist Joan Turbek came out with a children's color- ing book. \The Little River and the Big. Big Bridge.\ distributed by North Country Books. Turbek's story focussed on a little girl in an Adirondack riverside town whose swimming hole, near a charming wooden covered bridge, was being threatened by the prospect of a big new bndge. The DOT started investigating the alternative of rehabilitating the covered bridge to accommodate truck loads, holding another public meeting at the Community Center on Dec 13.1994. to discuss all of Jay's bridge options. That meeting did not. however, turn the tide in favor of a restored covered bridge. On July 6. 1995. the Board of Supervisors took back its 1986 resolution in support of rehabilitat- ing the wooden covered bridge. The following month, on Aug. 10. the Jay Town Board unanimously adopted a resolution supporting a new bridge to be built 600 feet upstream of the covered bridge Bridge and Beyond struck back with a petition campaign, mailed out in October 1995 just prior to local elections. According to the group. 400 people responded to the \survey.\ with 72 percent (288 people) opposing trie new. upstream bndge proposal. The main issue in the November 1995 local election was the Jay bndge Voters over- whelmingly backed the re-election of town Supervisor Vernon McDonald (555). a supporter of the new bndge. against Barry L. Clark (244) and Bndge and Beyond'* Fred Balzac (207). By the time another set of pub- lic meetings on the project were called for Feb. 5 and 6, 1997, two mane sat options had been floated by the DOT: one 1,400 feet upstream of the covered bridge, the other 2,400 feet upstream. In the meantime, height restrictions on the covered bridge had been reduced to 8 feet, forcing lumber trucks, fire trucks and school buses wanting to cross from Jay to me Glen Road to go 5 miles north to the Suckney Bridge or 6 miles south to Upper Jay. A Jan. 24, 1997. article in the Lake Placid News focused on the role of Jay Ward, Ward Lumber's president in the matter. Ward had consistently supported building a new bridge rather than rehabilitat- ing the old one. Critics said his only concern was making it quick- er and cheaper for logging trucks to get to the Ward Lumber mill on Glen Road At the Feb. 5. 1997. public meeting. DOT officials ruled out the rehabilitation of the covered bridge for motor vehicles, pointing out that after rehabilitation it would still have been a \substan- dard, one-lane bridge, but would have lost much of its historic value ... after the extensive renovation necessary to accommodate large trucks.\ At the same meeting, officials ruled out building a new bridge 400 feet downstream of the cov- ered-bridge site - the same loca- tion where final plans have placed Jay's new bridge - because of problems with building on a flood plain and the chance that a new bndge could be damaged if a flood ever washed the covered bridge away. The covered bridge removed in May 1997 came the Jay bridge's D-day. Early in theto month, a DOT engineer issued a report stating that the covered bridge could no longer sustain traf- fic The bridge was closed on May 14 Even if the covered bndge were to be repaired, county offi- cials sakt, it would only be able to cam vehicles weighing 3 tons or less — still not sufficient for lum- ber trucks, fire truck> or school buses. The county Board of Supervisors decided in June to have the covered bndge lifted off its footings and stored on the river- bank for later restoration. Part of the board's decision was based on a memorandum of understanding signed that month between Essex County and the state Office of Parks, Recreation and Historic Preservation concerning die preservation of the covered bridge. In the !\*\*\«» with the cov- ered bridge removed and no per- manent replacetnert yet construct- ed, a temporary, one-lane bridge would be installed in the wooden bridge's place. Bridge and Beyond accused county leaders and Jay Ward of orchestrating the covered bridge's closure to bring the matter to a head and force the decisions need- ed to get a new bndge built While the covered bndge wait- ed for removal, anonymous per- sons painted \grafittT on the struc- ture. According to one source, the \graftal\ read \Save the Bndge.\ The covered bndge was sawed into four sections to facilitate its removal. On June 12, 1997. the last two sections of the bridge were lifted off the river. The temporary replacement bridge was intfalhri and opened to traffic on July 3. A couple of weeks later, on July 15, another public information meet- ing was held on the project A DOT report released in September 1997 focussed on two sites for a new Jay bndge: one 1.400 feet upstream of the former covered-bridge site, the other 400 feet downstream. The upstream option, costing $3.6 million, would involved 2,000 feet of new access road and $210.000 in costs for buying rights of way from property owners. The downstream option, pegged at $4.6 million, would require 3.379 feet of new access road, plus the rerouting of 1,450 feet of the North Jay Road avoid potential flood damage, and about $234,000 in nghts-of- way costs In January 1998. Fred Balzac gave a personal endorsement to the downstream location, saying it would have less of a detrimental impact on the community than would the upstream option. He noted that approaches Io the upstream location would necessi- tate a bridge standing 50 to 60 feet above the nver and more than 400 feet long, making it more expen- sive for the county because it would require special maintenance equipment the county doesn't have. On Aug. 27.1998. the Jay cov- ered bridge was placed oa fee atate rcgirter of historic places. On Dec 11, 1998, following an extensive study, the Stale Historic Preservation Office that ne*hcr the upstream sac the downstream site far a aew bridge would negatively affect aay of Jay's historical assets. A March 23. 1999. public meeting gave residents a chance to share their views about fee O'Neal and Sheldrake 'favor of fee upstreai men Lee Torraace aid Area* Depo agaiast JL Aa anaant by Depo to defer action oa tile Douglas could get back to was Jay Ward said be was not satisfied with either of them, asking what had happened with the sate 600 feet upstream. Ward was toid tat the 600-foot-upstreani approach would run through a Town up fee natter of stfe oa Feb. 3. 2000. fee recreation area along the Au Sable River, making tf ****£•***- for fed- eral funding Town Board struggles As the time drew ckaci when a siting position would have to be made, a public hearing was held on Nov 9.1999. at the communi- ty center in Au Sable Forks \Both of these sites, nobody wants them.\ said Tom Douglas, who had won re-election one week ear- lier to a second term as town supervisor. \I'm deathly opposed to it and Fm willing to fight\ Town historian Mary Wallace, on the other hand, endorsed the downstream sac. One week later, on Nov 16. 1999. Douglas suffered a heart attack, sidelining him while dis- cussions of siting Jay's new bridge proceeded. A Dec 9. 1999. straw pofl of Jay Town Board members inclined toward supporting the downstream alternative. Only Councilman Tom P. O'Neill' supported the upstream site. In December 1999. county public-work* chief Fred Buck clar- ified that the added cost for main- taining an upstream bndge would not be significant despite earner concerns he had expressed. Several days before a special Dec 27 meeting of the Jay Town Board, scheduled to endorse one of the site:, for a new Jay bridge, lame-duck Councilman John Sheldrake said that he had changed his mmd based on Buck's remark and would support the upstream sue When Dec. 27 came, the Town Board was deadlocked, with rotatiua of two fouuu < off fee boa*. O'Neal aid Cnunrih—Gcpy Hal voted far fee location 1/400 feet apsttrwi. while Depo aad aew Coandrwoaiaa Vickie Itaafeley endorsed fee sae 400 feet aseani t^ nje OIQ. * A letter Cram. mm sidehned by as heart iadxaed flat he opposed bofe. sacs but would OB Feb. 7. 2000. County Board of passed am 400-feet-dowastteaa laysarwbridie. V|B On March 13. 200Q r . Supervisor Oougtas died ea raaav to fee hapaal after saHedag 4 raai severe heart attack. Federal fundng for fee bridge project lapsed agas 2000. but in 2001 fee DOT begat K a Impact Siatrmrat oa bofe dpstreani and oowBsamn sttes- When fee FE1S and Faal Deoga Report were nrlcatcd i 2002. fee sac 400 feet stream of fee fumes cowered-* bndge site was chosen. * On Jan. 6, 2003, Essex Coanty gave final approval far fee **—^p of the new bridge project In the face of opponttoa to fee project from a local homeowner. the Jay Town Board pissed * •MnimmKtwntoiwinB May 13, 2004. in support of fee down- stream sac. On Aug 13, 2004. fee APA voted anammousfy to approve fee DOTs project plant for Jays i bndge Placid Planner Continued from Page 28 lecture is free to members and S3 for non-memberv For more infor- mation, call 352-731 1. •Film - The Adirondack Film Society and Parties Unlimited will be presenting the film \Sinein\ in the Rain\ at dusk at Bandshell Park in l^ake Placid. Admission is free Attendees should bring a blanket or chair The rain location is the Lake Placid Center for the Arts For m<ire information, call 523-3456 : Tuesday, Aug. 24 •4 * •VIC canoe paddle - There ^will be a canoe paddk from 9:30 <o 11 30 a.m. on Barnum Pond at ibe Paul Smiths Visitors interpretive Center located on state 3?»ute ( 30 m Paul Smiths. The £;a\«ie paddles are held every •Tuesday and Thursday through ^August. These are naturalist-led ianoe paddles and bug and pond Jiabitats will be interpreted -\Canoes paddles and personal ^floatation devices will be pro\id- Ced There is a short walk required 2o the canoe dock Cost is S3 for >dufc. and SI for kids. Pre-regts- .^tration is required Adirondack '*Park Institute members are free ^For more information, call 327- £3000. * •Blood drive - The Red Cross will be spon- soring a blood drive from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Adirondack Medical Center located at 8 Church St.. Lake Placid. Donors must be at least 17 years old. weigh at least 110 pounds and be in good health. Walk-ins are wel- come but appointments are recom- mended. For more information or to make an appointment, call Lou Macano at 523-8540. •Meeting - The Lake Placid Central School Board of Education will be holding its regular meeting at 7 p.m. at the Lake Placid Central School Administrative Center, 23 Cummins Road. Lake Placid The public is welcome to attend. •Performance - Steve Gratto will be performing juggling, bal- ancing, and comedy at the Keene Valley Library at 7 p.m. •Play - The Pendragon Theatre in Saranac Lake will be presenting the comedy \The Servant of Two Masters\ by Carlo Goldini at 8 p.m Pendragon Theatre is located at 15 Brandy Brook Ave. For more information. caJJ 891-1854 •Comedy show - The Lake Placid Center for the Arts will be hosting a -Comedy Idols Night\ featuring Ralph* May and Cory Kahaney with guest Latvia Turner at 8 p.m at the center located at 91 Saranac Ave.. Lake Placid Tickets cost S20. For more information or to make reservations^, cafl 523- 2512 Wednesday, Aug. 25 •Farmers' market - The Lake Placid Center tor the Arts will be sponsoring a Farmers\ mar- ket from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. The mar- ket will occupy the LPCA grounds with a producers-only market. For more information and the sched- uled guest, call 523-2512. •Workshop - There will be a children's knitting workshop from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m. sponsored by Adirondack Yams in Lake Placid and held at an off-site location. For more information or to register, call 523-9230 •Play - The Pendragon Theatre m Saranac Lake will be presenting the comedy The Sen ant of Two Masters\ by Carlo Goldini at 8 p.m. Pendragon Theatre is located at 15 Brandy Brook Ave. For more information. call 891-1854 Thursday, Aug. 26 •VIC canoe paddle - There will be a canoe paddk from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. on Barnum Pond at the Paul Smiths Visitors Interpretive Center located on state Route 30 in Paul Smiths The canoe paddles are held even Tuesday and Thursday through August. These are naturalist-led canoe paddles and bog and pond habitats will be interpreted Canoes, paddles and personal floatation devices will be provid- ed There is a short walk required to the canoe dock Cost is $3 for adults and SI for kids Prc-regis- traoon is required. Adirondack Park Institute members are free For more information, call 327- 3000. •Play - The Pendragon Theatre m Saranac Lake will be presenting \Ferdinand the Bull,\ the musical adaptation of Munro Leafs The Story of Ferdinand** at 11 a.m Ticket prices are S20 for adults and $16 for students and seniors 62 and okJer Pendragon Theatre is located at 15 Brandy Brook Ave. For more information, call 891-1854 •Class - The will be a Healing Adventure class titled \Neurofascial Process\ with CfcanseUc Kite and Melissa Cates from 7 to 9 p.m at Healing Adventures located at 130 Broadway. Saranac Lake Participants will learn a hands-on healing approach and develop a personalized plan lor self care and heating. Admtssne is $5 to $10. The class is open to the public and reservations are required- For Series will be presenting the fifa The Magdalene Soten\ at 7:30 pm at the center located at 91 Saranac Ave., Lake Placid. Tickets cost $6. For more iafo- rMdon. cafi the LPCA at 523- 2512. •Play - The Pendragoa Theatre m Saranac Lake wtD be DftSCOtHU 0 DC^XOaTDaHlOC OB QBC play \Private Lives\ a 8 Ticket prices are S20 for aad $16 for students awl 62 aad older Box office I 2 io 5 pm and 6:30 to 8 pm m Pendragoa Theatre a located at 15 Bandy Brook Ave Far nktae aavOKaBflOGfll Of 10 flMNDE JOBOTfc^* bom, cafl 891-1854 — Tae more information. caX 891 -3313. •Fiha - The Lake Placid Center for the Alts Summer Film LakeFkrUbraryatt WONDER WHAT IT'S WORTH?! ANTIQUE APPRAISAL DAY frmmdm Saturday, September n • io am to 4 pm M the Lake Placid Horseshow pavilion. /Mofar.u.iii nmrfr No K\KK Pl-U ID CFN II R FOR THF ARTS COMBDV IDOLS Two OF THE STAND-OUT STAND-UPS FROM NBC's \LAST COMIC STANDING \ RALPHIE MAY & CORY KAHANEY WITH GUEST LAHNA TURNER O\ STAGE AT THE LPCA - ONE SIGHT OfOTf TUESDAY, AUGUST 24 8PM CURTAIN Tickets: $20 ADIRONDACK ART CHAIRS 2004; FINAL AUCTION PARTY AT LPCA \ Jnfmished Cedar Met With The Imagination Of 38 Artists - The Resuk~.An Outstanding Exhibit. Now'i Your Chance To Own Y<wr Favorite Art Chair Creatt PLACE YOUX BIDS! AUGUST TB • 6PM - UNTIL— SILENT fr LIVE AUCTIONS «rs LFCA MEMOES Woe, But, LIGHT Dommm P*ac Buss ft Men

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