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Morningthorpe Bridge to See $2M for Conversion

Two million dollars in federal funding will go a long way toward converting the Morningthorpe Bridge in the Town of Southeast to a pedestrian walkway, elected leaders announced this week.

The 100-year-old wood and steel bridge served as the link from Route 22 to the Village of Brewster, over the East Branch Croton River, until it went offline in 2007. Officials told Patch in 2011 it was unlikely things would change anytime soon, as repairs would be costly and nearby Railroad Avenue provides a solution for travelers. 

Administered by the New York State Department of Transportation and made available through the Federal Highway Administration, the money for Morningthorpe is a portion of the $67 million earmarked for 63 "strategic investments in transportation alternatives." That includes bicycle, pedestrian and multi-use path projects. 

The goal is to encourage tourism and economic development across the state, officials said. The Mid-Hudson Valley Region received $14.2 million for six projects. The funding is slated to cover about 80-percent of each project. 

Here are some of the thoughts local leaders shared in statements:

“Working together we continue to do great things for the Town of Southeast," State Sen. Greg Ball said. "Working with county legislators Joe Castellano and Roger Gross and councilmen [Elizabeth] Hudak, [Robert] Cullen and [Edward] Alvarez, we have been able to accomplish so very much. The funding for this bridge is just the latest announcement in a long line of grants for the Town of Southeast. This bridge, which was actually closed in 2008 for safety concerns, has been an eyesore and public safety issue for many years. I am so happy to be able to deliver this funding to invest in Putnam County and the Town of Southeast to convert this bridge into a walkway for residents to enjoy."

“This is great news from Gov. Cuomo’s office," Putnam County Legislator Joseph Castellano said. "This is a project that I have been advocating for on behalf of my constituents. As a legislator and resident of the community, I see this bridge conversion as bringing a functional tourist attraction to the community and its residents. I want to thank my colleagues for their support and shared interest in making this proposal a reality. Also, I need to thank County Executive Odell and her administration for their support and processing of the necessary documentation to be considered a recipient of the grant funding." 

“The effort to fund the Morningthorpe Bridge project has been a long time coming," Putnam County Legislator Roger Gross said. "I appreciate collaborating with Sen. Ball to gain state funding for this project. $2 Million will go a long way in assisting Putnam County, and I am grateful for the senator's continued support."

“The senator's continued leadership has been of great benefit to Brewster, Southeast, and all of Putnam County," Southeast councilwoman Elizabeth Hudak said. "The recently secured $2 million grant for Morningthorpe Bridge is a essential funding source for the long troubled pedestrian connection. I look forward to working closely with Senator Ball moving forward on even more projects for our area."

"I am proud to have pushed for these investments in our communities that will allow my neighbors and all visitors to safely enjoy the scenic Hudson Valley – all while creating jobs and growing our local economy,” Congressman Sean Patrick Maloney said. “Because of the support of Gov. Cuomo and Commissioner [Joan] McDonald, we partnered together and got results that will make a difference for folks in the Hudson Valley.” 

“We are especially pleased with this grant,” County Executive MaryEllen Odell said in here. “My administration worked extensively with the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council staff, the Village of Brewster and Meghan Taylor of the Putnam County Economic Development Corporation to achieve a geographical balance that helped meet the needs of all the regions. This project is a perfect fit for our plans to revitalize downtown Main Street Brewster.” 

“Putnam County recognized that this bridge was an important part of the Southeast infrastructure connecting the pedestrian walkway to village parks, its train station, the bikeway and the Riverwalk, which are all part of Brewster’s Master Plan for Economic Development,” County Commissioner of Highway and Facilities Fred Pena said.
Peter Benfield January 18, 2014 at 12:58 PM
I agree with you all. We have $2M for this bridge with an easy option next to it, and nothing for the Prospect Hill bridge with a detour that causes a much, much longer trip?
healthflavors January 19, 2014 at 10:52 AM
I also have to wonder about a pedestrian bridge - to where exactly? Rte 22? And how is this supposed to help the Village of Brewster and make it a tourist destination? Hey, why not build a sidewalk following the scenic east branch of the Croton River so that people can continue to walk to the step dam a bit farther south, or even to Croton Falls so they can wonder at the beauty of the dam there and the iconic beauty of that architectural wonder.
Lisa Gehrung January 20, 2014 at 09:02 AM
Sure our politicians are fighting real hard for a bridge that basically will take you to your death. There are no sidewalks on 22/6/202 nor anything a pedestrian would like to see along that route. We have a bikeway/walkway for that already. Besides, the so called park that lies next to that bridge has been neglected as well, who would want to hang out there? There are people in this town that are paying to truck in water to the tune of about $10,000 a month plus expensive repairs to the pumps in condemned wells, who is fighting for us? Just another showing of how our politicians do not know what is important to its constituents!
John D of Brewster January 20, 2014 at 12:48 PM
This miniature Bridge to Nowhere seems a great example of the fleecing of America and its taxpayers, and sadly too easy of an opportunity for our back patting politicians to pass up in an election year. I bet half the money is spent on a plaque thanking all our politicians for their hard work in this endeavor.
Paul Morini January 22, 2014 at 08:12 AM
Can anyone explain how this $2M grant will generate $1 in tourism revenue?

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