Putnam County Executive
January 16, 2014
Odell Announces $2 Million Grant to Repair Brewster Bridge
County Executive MaryEllen Odell today announced that the Morningthorpe Avenue Pedestrian Bridge Project in the Town of Southeast will receive $2 million in federal funding. The money was procured following an application made to the Transportation Enhancement Program (TEP), a federal reimbursement program that is administered by the New York Department of Transportation (NYSDOT) through the New York Metropolitan Transportation Council (NYMTC) of which the County Executive is a voting member. She also serves as co-chair of the Mid-Hudson Valley Regional Transportation Council.
NYMTC is a regional council of governments that is the metropolitan planning organization for New York City, Long Island and the lower Hudson Valley. It provides a collaborative planning forum to address transportation-related issues, develops regional plans and makes decisions on the use of federal transportation funds.
“We are especially pleased with this grant,” said Odell. “My Administration worked extensively with NYMTC 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.”
The Mid-Hudson Valley Region received $14.2 million of the total $67 million in funding for 63 bicycle, pedestrian and multi-use path transportation enhancement projects targeted to encourage tourism and economic development opportunities across New York State. The announcement was made yesterday by Governor Andrew Cuomo’s office.
According to Administration officials, it was the County’s Planning and Highway Departments who identified the TEP grant as a means to repair the dilapidated 100-year-old bridge. The bridge had been closed to vehicles in 2007 and was closed to pedestrians last spring which disrupted commuters’ ability to easily reach Brewster’s Metro-North station from a nearby parking area.
The County’s Highway and Facilities Department collaborated with the Planning Department to actually apply for the grant last November. “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,” said Pena.
Morningthorpe Bridge was once considered the worst bridge in the entire Lower Hudson Valley. The wood and steel structure crosses the East Branch Croton River and borders the Village of Brewster and Town of Southeast. Until it was closed, it was a popular vehicle connector from Route 22 into the village.
“Until it was closed, the bridge was a redundant vehicle connector into the village which has been replaced by the Railroad Avenue Bridge,” said Commissioner of Highway and Facilities, Pena.
Putnam County Legislator Joseph Castellano’s constituents reside in the Village of Brewster, and stated, “This is great news from Governor Cuomo’s office. 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 63 projects include the addition of accessible sidewalks, improved pedestrian access to public transportation services, construction of new bicycle and pedestrian facilities and the preservation and conversion of abandoned railroad corridors for trail use.
The projects were selected through a competitive solicitation process and rated on established criteria that included environmental enhancement to and for the transportation system; connectivity to an existing transportation system; encouragement of smart growth; impact on local or regional economies; availability of matching funds; and level of community support.
Photo caption: Brewster resident and student Cory Gardiner told County Executive Odell that he used the now closed bridge every day to get from his house to the train station and was thrilled to hear of the grant to rebuild the popular pedestrian thoroughfare.