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Bronxville and Eastchester Mull A Tappan Zee Park

EASTCHESTER, N.Y. -- The mayor of Bronxville and the supervisor of the Town of Greenburgh have something in common. And that something is a really big plan for the Tappan Zee Bridge.

Mayor Mary Marvin thinks Supervisor Paul Feiner's visions of walkways and bike paths, food stands, sculpture gardens and benches is a great idea and one she would support for the Tappan Zee bridge once it is no longer in use for cars and trucks.

With the Tappan Zee Bridge set for a replacement, a measure recently expedited by President Barack Obama, Feiner has said that he wants to keep the old bridge and turn it into a walkway for pedestrians.  Feiner predicted it would pull in tourism, increase revenue, raise property values, help local businesses and bring in jobs and his proposal has set off a firestorm of conversation beyond Greenburgh. Here's what some in Bronxville and Eastchester had to say.

"I think it will lift the community and promote people riding or walking across in both directions to support local businesses," Marvin said. "I think it is very innovative, a great way to boost tourism and a good plan for the future of both Westchester and Rockland counties."

At a Meet the Candidate's night Wednesday night sponsored by the Eastchester Chamber of Commerce, some of the Chamber members did not think the plan was a good one.

"I think creating a park out of the bridge would be a huge project with a huge budget," said Eastchester resident Paul Okura. "The first thing I would want to know is if the project would be cost effective, I mean is it worth the expense. It is a large and long bridge are people really going to use it?"

Okura, who owns CMIT Solutions in Eastchester and serves as the co-president of the Ann Hutch PTA, said he would feel differently if the bridge was shorter and thereby less expensive to maintain.

"With all of our economic issues in the state and in the county right now, I just don't know if it is a good idea," he said.

Maria Macchia, branch manager for Country Bank, located on Garth Road on the Eastchester/Scarsdale border, and co-president of the Eastchester Chamber of Commerce, said she does not think a high line park on the Tappan Zee Bridge is a good idea either but for different reasons.

"The first thing that I would worry about for such a project is safety," Macchia said. "We already have a problem with people jumping from that bridge. We would have to make sure that a park setting would address that problem and ensure it will not happen."

On the plus side, Macchia said the bridge does have a beautiful view and it would make a beautiful park.

"But between the safety issues and the cost to maintain the bridge and the park, I don't see how the state or the counties could afford something like that at this time," Macchia said.

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 speaker.

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