Denver citizens say ‘no’ to bridge removal
By: ALICE HUMMER Review Correspondent, Staff Writer
A standing room only audience of 90 plus residents told Denver Borough Council on July 30 they opposed the Pennsylvania Turnpike’s proposal to close the North Fifth Street bridge.
"We have a petition signed by 396 people against closing the bridge," said Mary Stewart, 806 N. Fifth St., as she handed the petition to council.
Many citizens spoke about safety concerns. Closing the bridge would eliminate the most direct route to the Denver Volunteer Fire Company for several first responders.
"I’m concerned for families with young children," said Regina Copenhaver, 918 Sycamore St. "Having the North Fifth Street bridge allows my two boys to ride their bikes to other friend’s homes in the borough."
Without the bridge, citizens would need to use North Sixth Street, which is much busier. It is a main connector for Denver to Reinholds and Sinking Spring, in Berks County.
"My opinion is the turnpike might have their eye on the North Sixth Street bridge too," said North Fifth Street resident Cliff Behrendt Jr.
"If the Fifth Street bridge is closed there will be a lot of people making left hand turns off of Sixth Street," Behrendt said, noting this safety issue.
Todd Stewart, 525 Pine St., shared research facts he found about the North Fifth Street bridge.
"In 1949 when the turnpike came through the borough, two bridges were built to avoid cutting the borough in half," Stewart said. "A proposal of a traffic light on Sixth Street would not solve the problem of accessibility for that end of town … We need to acknowledge the wisdom of the borough council’s vision in 1949."
The North Fifth Street bridge, when first constructed, linked to farm fields. Now, with those fields developed into housing, the bridge is used by approximately 500 vehicles per day.
"I’m concerned about the money that would be offered to the borough for the bridge," said John Weaver, 909 N. Fifth St. "When the money is gone, we’d have no money and no bridge."
"Would it be out of line to take a straw poll vote and we could save a lot of time?" asked Weaver.
Councilman Mike Gensemer moved to terminate discussion with the Pennsylvania Turnpike regarding the possible closure of the North Fifth Street bridge. A quick "second" was added by councilman Mike Cohick.
After more citizen discussion, council voted unanimously in favor of the motion. Residents applauded heartily and most of the crowd was exited.
In other business:
? Commissioner Craig Lehman answered questions and updated citizens on issues such as the construction of the new, $6.4 million morgue off route 30 near the Lancaster General Health Campus and the new, county radio system.
? Council approved executing the Memorandum of Understanding with the Cocalico Creek Watershed Association (CCWA).
? The Denver Lions Club was authorized to sponsor the 2012 Denver Community Porch Sale on Sept. 8.
? Oct. 31 was designated as Denver’s Trick or Treat Night.
Posted: August 8th, 2012 under Cocalico.