Bridging the Gap
Posted by Buzz Beeler on 21st January 2017

August 14, 2015 3:36 pm ET

A bridge too far the county, but a resolution could be at hand

Source: Bridging the Gap

This photo is all that is left of the Woodlawn Foot Bridge.

The latest saga of “What Buzz has been told” began with a letter from the Graystone Community Association, Inc. dated February 13, 2015, to then Councilman Elect Julian Jones. The letter described in detail B-0166—government lingo for what is better known as the Woodlawn Foot Bridge.

The bridge was in disrepair, so the County’s Department of Public Works (DPW) removed the bridge just after the school year began; this, unfortunately, cut off a vital pedestrian link to area residents. Sadly the DPW failed to notify anyone of the bridges removal. The letter emphasized the crucial role the bridge played in the safety of school children, as well as the bridge’s place as a community gateway to some great amenities, such as tennis and basketball courts.

While the letter made clear the necessity of a working foot bridge for the many students and residents that use it, the letter did not address the cost factor of replacing the bridge, at least not to the satisfaction of the DPW staff.

Believe it or not, the DPW estimated the replacement cost at a whopping $200,000.

You read that right, folks. Two-hundred big ones for a foot bridge.

When you look at the photo, does this look like resurfacing the interstate? I don’t think so! But I digress…

Apparently, Councilman Julian Jones—who never misses an opportunity to comment on everything and anything—failed to notify the community of the bridge’s unfortunate demise. This is rather strange for the Councilman, since he is quoted as saying, “Nothing is more important than protecting our children!” Well then, Councilman, what happened regarding your assurance to the Graystone Community that the bridge issue was taken care of? More rhetoric and hot air.

The biggest gaff falls directly on the shoulders of the DPW. At the time of the bridges disappearance, even Councilman Ken Oliver was not notified.

Councilman Jones also took issue with Mrs. Shirley Supik, who is one of the community leaders leading the effort to have the bridge replaced. Councilman Jones suggested Mrs. Supik had an agenda to stop his council bill 54-15, which dealt with the community benefit part of the PUD.

Well, guess what? Councilman Jones’ bill was just vetoed by County Executive Kevin Kamenetz on August 8, 2015—“A day that will live in infamy.” That, my friends, is the first time in modern history that the County Executive vetoed a bill sponsored by a Council member.

It is well known that Councilman Jones is tied to Jim Smith through several different community associations—associations, by the way, that work against Mrs. Supik’s efforts by issuing such statements as, “I don’t want Shirley Supik to get credit for anything.”

While all of this was going on, the community, unlike some political and DPW types, decided to use some common sense and performed some research.

I always preach that one should do their homework before putting lips into motion … or pen to paper.

Some intelligent heads (Mrs. Supik and Kerri Lastner from the Graystone Community) got together, did some research, and found the Gator Bridge Company in Georgia which, for $60,000, will replace the bridge with a “prefab, drive it to the location, and secure it in place” structure.

Now, how hard was that? A simple answer appeared after just a few clicks of the mouse and taps on the keyboard.

I have some good news on this issue. Based on the work of Mrs. Supik and Ms. Lastner, a phone call to the Gator Bridge Company, the cost of $60,000, and the less than complicated replacement process, the County DPW has agreed to take a new look at Bridgegate!

Time will tell on that one, though.

Trust me when I say that I’ll be here to keep the community informed with the truth, rather than some Councilman’s political rhetoric.


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