Rye resident Mark Hyland presented a petition representing 19 households on Laurel and Loewen Court, including his own, at Wednesday night's regular City Council meeting-which followed the annual meeting at Square House.
Hyland recounted the April 15, 2007 destruction of the Central Avenue Bridge and the many promises that the structure would be promptly replaced.
"We’ve been assured repeatedly for 5 years that the bridge would be repaired," said Hyland. He observed that at the time of the 2007 wash-out the 57 year old bridge was already slated to be replaced on Rye City's dime, but expressed his consternation there would be any hesitation to act on the project now that it will be earmarked for state transportation funds.
But there was hesitation from Councilmember Joe Sack who wanted to re-evaluate the necessity of the project. "It's sometimes difficult to present the other side of the argument, but that’s what I'm going to try to do," said Sack. His colleagues Councilmembers Peter Jovanovich and Richard Filippi scoffed at further discussion.
Besides Jovanovich and Filippi, other neighborhood residents also pressed the council to move ahead. Said Ken Weisberg, "This is an emergency situation...a fire truck coming down Walnut Street could not fit if cars were parked on both sides." He echoed his neighbor Mark Hyland saying, "the community has been patient for 5 years."
Ultimately, Councilmember Sack's call for further reflection did not prevail. He abstained from the five-yes vote council decision of his colleagues to authorize City Manager Scott Pickup to move forward with plans to revive the construction project. Councilmember Suzanna Keith was absent from the meeting.