Residents Not Happy With Plans To Revamp City Island Bridge
The historic City Island Bridge, which is the first and last thing people see when visiting the the Bronx neighborhood known for its seafood, is in need of repair, but some City Islanders aren't in favor of the plans the city has in store. NY1's Erin Clarke filed the following report.
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Time has taken its toll on the City Island Bridge. Since 1901, it's gone from carrying horse and buggies to cars and trucks as big as 18-wheelers.
"It needs work," said Barbara Dolensek, administrator at the City Island Nautical Museum. "It's deteriorated underneath. Also, the roadway itself is not in great shape."
The New York City Department of Transportation plans to demolish the 20-foot bridge and put a more modern-looking 150 foot high cable-stay bridge in its place.
Although rehabilitating the old bridge would cost significantly less, the city said that would only extend its lifespan 25 years, whereas the new bridge is expected to last 100 years. But some longtime residents said the proposed bridge doesn't fit with the quaint character of the island.
"The bridge is too tall," said Robert Cox, a City Island resident. "It will stick out like a sore thumb."
"I think the bridge, basically, is too big, too tall for a low-rise residential community," said Robert Adams, a City Island resident.
Based on reports they've read, residents think it's too expensive. The cost has increased steadily since the bridge was first proposed in 2003.
"In 2003, it was going to be $25 million," Dolensek said. "Now, it's $150 million."
It's more than the design of the proposed bridge that has some City Islanders concerned. They know how construction along the only road on and off the island can disrupt their neighborhood, and in their opinion, they said it's not worth the sacrifice because the construction won't make City Island any better.
City Islanders said tourism drives the community, with people getting away from the tall structures in the rest of the city to experience a rare slice of life.
"City Island's appeal is that it's quaint," said Skip Giacco, president of the City Island Chamber of Commerce. "That's why people come here. If you begin to eliminate that idea, you give people less reason to come here."
Residents said they're just trying to preserve the nautical feel and history of their neighborhood and think a scaled-down design could also save the city some money.