Greenburgh, N.Y. Greenburgh Town Supervisor Paul Feiner envisions walkways and bike paths, miles across a river. He sees food stands, sculpture gardens, benches, summer concerts and even mimes performing for laughing families and passersby.
As the Tappan Zee Bridge is set for a replacement, recently expedited by President Barack Obama, Feiner wants to keep the old bridge and turn it into a high line - a walkway for pedestrians. Possibly costing several millions of dollar to demolish, Feiner said that towns and counties should invest in modifying the current Tappan Zee Bridge into a recreational attraction. It would pull in tourism, increase revenue, raise property values, help local businesses and bring in jobs, he said.
"It could be very, very exciting. I feel that it could be a really amazing destination point," Feiner said. "I see this as having so much potential. If we could make this happen, I think it could be the most popular attraction in Greenburgh and the river villages."
Several residents, both from Greenburgh and neighboring communities, have shown support for the idea, saying they would like to see a walkway connecting Westchester and Rockland counties over the Hudson River.
Many residents offered suggestions about how to transform the bridge and what attractions to put on the new high line. The center could be a good place for a plant garden or dining area, John Frisbie, a Greenburgh resident, wrote in an email to Feiner. Scarsdale's Neil Latman wrote that the high line would be an incredible financial and cultural addition to both sides of the Hudson River.
However, not everyone is on board with creating the high line. Members of the Edgemont Civic Association have stated that the bridge will require continuous maintenance over the years as people trespass daily. The suicide rate might also increase as the bridge will be pedestrian-accessible.
The first planning meeting for the Tappan Zee high line will be held Wednesday, Nov. 16 at 8 p.m. at the Greenburgh Town Hall. The group will endeavor to begin a task force in support of the high line. Fred Schaeffer, who created the Walkway over the Hudson in Poughkeepsie, will be the guest speaker.
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