Chatham asks if new bridge needs new name

CHATHAM–Repairs on the White Mills Bridge are complete and the bridge was opened to traffic last week. The Town Board discussed naming the bridge near Chatham Center at last Thursday’s meeting.

The $1.3-million construction project on the bridge is funded about 80% by the federal government and 15% by the state with the town contributing 5% of the cost. Work started last spring but stopped for a short time this fall while the town obtained a variance from CSX, the railroad company that owns the tracks below the bridge, for a reduction of 2” in the clearance between the tracks and the bottom of the span.

Town Supervisor Jesse DeGroodt said that bills for the bridge construction were not yet finalized, but he assumed the town would end up paying a greater share of the total than originally thought. “We’re paying more than 5% of the bridge,” he said at the meeting. He did not say how much more the town would pay.

Mr. DeGroodt told the board at the December 18 meeting that he had received a request to name the bridge after a town resident. He pointed out that the town had not only funded part of the bridge construction, the Town Board has also named other town owned structures in honor of local residents.

“I think you will offend more people naming it,” said Board member Maria Lull of the proposal.

Board member Henry Swartz said that the board should solicit feedback about naming the bridge and, if there was support for naming the bridge after a person, the board should move forward with it.

Also at the meeting:

  • The board announced plans to review a proposed hazardous materials law for the town at the annual organizational meeting January 5 at 7 p.m. in the town hall
  • The board will send a letter from the office of state Senator Kathy Marchione (R–43rd) about reducing the speed limit on Rock City Road to town Highway Superintendent Joe Rickert for review. The letter was written on behalf of one of her constituents. The board has also received a letter about the speed limit in North Chatham, which Mr. Swartz said will be sent to the county for review
  • The board approved contracts with Pond View County Kennel in East Nassau, and Columbia-Greene Humane Society (CGHS) near Hudson to board lost pets until their owners claim them. Mr. DeGroodt said that Pond View, which had a less expensive boarding fee than the humane society, would be the first place a lost pet would be sent. If Pond View is full, animals will go to the CGHS.

The next regular board meeting will be Thursday, January 15 at 7 p.m.

To contact reporter Emilia Teasdale email .

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