SOUTH NYACK, N.Y. -- Sizewise, the tiny village of South Nyack may be a David to the Tappan Zee Bridge project’s Goliath, but if its mayor, Bonnie Christian, has her way, it will also be on the winning end of its battle.
Christian, a fourth-generation member of the Rockland community, says that the first version of the span, built in the mid-1950s, wiped out the village’s commercial center and dozens of homes.
The new bridge has challenges of its own, but, Christian says residents – 3,500 crammed into just one square mile – are united in their desire to protect what they have and maybe come out just a little bit ahead.
The state will hold a meeting this month on the environmental impact of the project's shared-use path.
Christian, who posts regular updates on the project on the village’s website – brushes off any accusations that she is making it an issue for political purposes.
However, she plans to run for re-election in 2017 so she can “see the village through” the situation.
The state wanted to put the path’s entrance on Smith Avenue, but moved it to the intersection of Cornelison and South Broadway.
As a former Planning and Zoning Board member, Christian knows her way around a blueprint.
The village has worked with the state to cut path plans to two, but it will only accept the one that keeps cars off its streets and maintains its homespun character.
The Thruway Authority gave the village $250,000 to study uses for land that is now a staging area for bridge crews.
Christian said the village would like to see it used for economic development so it can take some of the tax burden off residents.
An independent planning firm will present its findings in June.
The village is seeking a $298,000 state grant that it would use to improve assets like the Raymond G. Esposito Memorial Trail.
“We have great residents and an excellent board who all want to maintain the character and integrity of our village,” she said.
“We’re unified and it’s a wonderful thing.”
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