Representatives sat down with village residents and land owners who possibly could be affected by the building of the new Route 30A bridge.
The plan the DOT unveiled Thursday was to build the new bridge to the west. If this was done, it would affect a gas station, ice cream stand, café, the Montgomery County Chamber of Commerce Office and a few homes.
If the bridge were to move east, a small section of the Fairgrounds would have a wall next to it and Mike’s Pizza would be affected.
DOT Engineer Stephan Zywaik said the plan is to keep the bridge open during construction in order to prevent traffic problems. The project will cost around $3.5 million and will add turning lanes and widen the bridge to accommodate traffic.
Mayor Kim Flander urged the DOT to reconsider its plan and save businesses and tax revenue. Flander said moving the bridge to the west would mean the loss of several businesses that would not be able to relocate within the village. This means an increase in taxes for other residents.
Flander said the tax revenue loss would be $7,800 a year if the DOT went to the west with the bridge.
“I’m not upset with you. You’re doing your job. But a majority of our residents are seniors with long-established businesses,” Flander said. “Many of them can’t afford to lose their businesses.”
Deborah S. Windecker, a DOT real estate specialist, was on hand to answer questions people might have had about how the state would go about obtaining property that would be needed to build the bridge.
“We would pay fair market value for any property that is acquired,” Windecker said.
Stephan Zywaik said the project would be completed during the 2009 calendar year If the project is approved soon. It would go out to bid in October or November. Construction likely would start in the spring of 2010 and be finished by the fall of that year.
Antoinette Capparello, who’s father, Mike Galosh, owns Mike’s Pizza, said the project was going to happen either way and the bridge needed to be fixed. If the bridge project were to move east, the pizzeria would be bought out by the state.
“Am I upset if its done? Yes. But they do try to compensate you for it,” Capparello said.
She said if the bridge expansion does go east, she and her family would relocate their business. She said it likely wouldn’t be in Fonda due to lack of spaces available for business.
Windecker said the state would pay to relocate businesses to a location of their choice. This would include moving expenses, storage and set up costs for the business owner.
If the owner chose not to relocate, the state would offer a package deal up to $20,000 to the owner.
Fonda Fair Director Jake Sammons said he doesn’t want to see any businesses put out, but he also doesn’t want to see the fairgrounds affected. Zywaik said the Fonda Fair would in no way be affected by the bridge and neither would the speedway.
Zywaik said a public hearing is likely to take place in May after the DOT makes its final decision about which direction the bridge would widen on. The DOT will go back and make its final decision taking into consideration the thoughts of residents. The decision should come soon.
Kerry McAvoy covers Montgomery County. She can be reached at email@example.com.
The Leader-Herald/Kerry McAvoy
Stephan Zywiak, left, of the New York State Department of Transportation discusses the plan to replace the Route 30A bridge with Fonda Mayor Kim Flander Thursday night. The DOT conducted a special meeting with residents who could possibly be affected by the project.