Plattsburgh Senior High School south-side students were welcomed back from their veteran’s day vacation with a surprise: the closed pedestrian bridge.
For most, this news wasn’t an issue. However, the students who live on Plattsburgh’s south side had major concerns. The pedestrian bridge provided an alternative route that cut down the walking time to school by about 1.4 miles.
The decision was made by the Plattsburgh School District Superintendent Jay Lebrun for safety reasons that had not been addressed until now.
Lebrun cited an engineering assessment conducted by the district as the main reason for the closure when interviewed by the Press Republican, and was reported saying the decision was based upon student safety.
Former mayor of Plattsburgh, Jack Stewart also weighed in on the matter explaining the importance of the pedestrian bridge, in an interview with the Press Republican. Stewart brought up that when he was young, “Without that bridge, the kids in the South End, the poorest in the city, had to walk five miles around. They were walking across the ice on the river in the winter”
With winter almost upon us, the school district is attempting to resolve this massive issue and is committed to ensuring the safety of the south-side students.
Students, parents and other residents of Plattsburgh admit the bridge had “structure” problems, but remain outraged by the school district’s decision.
“Everytime I walked on it with a heavy-set friend, the bridge would wobble” said former Plattsburgh High School student Casey Lazure.
Lazure admitted the bridge was very dilapidated, but he still thinks it should be left open for the south-side students. To Lazure, the pros of the bridge definitely outweigh the cons.
The school district has mentioned that the city will attempt to reopen the bridge when the money is acquired. Lazure has heard this before when the city of Plattsburgh decided to conduct construction on the Momot building, which was started in the summer of this year.
“It is not going to benefit them, with Plattsburgh it takes at least a year for any major changes to happen,” Lazure said. “We were told that the Momot building would be done in the summer, but they just finished this week.”
Although Lazure feels sorry for south-side students, he thinks the extra walk should not affect their attendance.
“I understand why they’re angry but the bridge is not necessary to get an education,” Lazure said.
The pedestrian bridge was such an essential structure for Lazure’s route to school that he would of ignored the “Closed” sign completely.“There are definitely structure problems, but it is not necessary to close,” Lazure said. “If it was me, I would take the risk.”“There are definitely structure problems, but it is not necessary to close,” Lazure said. “If it was me, I would take the risk.”Although parents are not affected directly, they are still “fired up” toward the school district’s decision. Brandy Mott, Plattsburgh resident of 11 years, said she thinks the closure could negatively impact her son’s performance in school.“ If he’s late, he will get in trouble,” Mott said. “If my son does not have access to the bridge, then he will have to walk twice as much.”The future for these students is uncertain at the moment, but the school district, along with the city of Plattsburgh, say they will see to it that a solution will be found.
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