The potential repair of a long-closed village footbridge was discussed at a meeting of the Trumansburg Village Board of Trustees July 8.
Local Alan Vogel, who as headed up many Trumansburg community builds over the years, gave the board an update on the efforts to save the bridge, which remains closed for safety reasons.
The Gregg Street Footbridge spans Trumansburg Creek near the United States Postal Service office.
Vogel has assembled a group of individuals who are willing to help rebuild the stone walls of the bridge, which was once used by motor vehicles, so that pedestrians can once again use it as a shortcut to cross from one side of the village to the other.
Trumansburg Village Mayor Rordan Hart expressed concerns about the fact that the New York Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) has yet to be contacted about the project. He said he would like to know what the DEC will require of the Village, if anything, before the volunteers get to work. He said he believes this to be especially important given that he thinks it is likely the Trumansburg Village Department of Public Works (DPW) will need to be involved as well.
“I can’t see authorizing the DPW to begin work without knowing conclusively what the DEC wants,” Hart said.
The issue is further complicated by the impact the bridge has had on the Gregg Street home owned by Trumansburg resident Dawn McDonald.
At the meeting, McDonald said the large culvert on her side of the street has holes in it that cause the water to run around rather than through the pipe. Using an iPad, she showed the board members photographs of the damage.
“It’s caused a sinkhole at the end of the driveway,” she explained, adding that there has been talk of sleeving the culvert by putting a new, smaller pipe inside the original one. She said she believes the problem will need to be fixed before any more work can be done to the bridge.
“We’re going to fix your thing correctly,” Vogel assured McDonald outside the Village offices after the discussion of their agenda item came a close. McDonald asked when Vogel thought work might begin on the project, and he said it will depend on the DEC’s response, but it should likely start this summer.
Outside the meeting, Vogel took a moment to elaborate further on the community build. He said his team so far consists of an active group of walkers (who encouraged him to look into the bridge in the first place), local stonemasons Jim McKenna and Kevin Riley, and local residents Bruce Vann, Rick Darfler and Dusty VanDerzee.
“It’s a beautiful wall,” Vogel said, and worthy of restoration. He added that originally he thought a new concrete wall would need to be built—a formidable undertaking—but upon closer inspection it looks as though the stone wall can be repaired, which requires much less work.
“The next step,” he said, “is going to be to contact the DEC and apply for a permit.”