The ErieCPR Vice-President, DJ Beary “the Mailman” Clark, will MC the BRIDGE THE GAP Viaduct Fundraiser on Thursday, April 19 from 6pm to 10pm at Latino’s, 1315 Parade St., to support efforts to gain the Public Hearing that ErieCPR President Adam Trott notes has “never been held.” Donations are $10, $15 per couple. Limited menu is available for purchase. Cash bar. Musical guests include St. Stephen, Julie VonVolkenburg and the band, Erie’s Best Kept Secret. Rappers and poets including Bigg Wash will take the mike. All funds collected are deposited with the non-profit Erie Winds of Change (the 501c3 that is serving as fiscal agent for ErieCPR) and will be used to gain a demolition delay, Public Hearing and to save the McBride Viaduct.
Early this year, Michael Kimmelman (honored as a 2018 Pulitzer Prize finalist), visited Erie and interviewed folks on both sides of the Viaduct issue. He spoke at length with the Mayor and with one of his key Transition Team Advisors. In the resulting front page New York Times story, Mayor Schember’s Advisor was quoted urging demolition of the Viaduct and commenting that the Eastside was filled with “failing neighborhoods” with no one he would want to live next to. This Advisor’s thinking apparently guided the Mayor’s reversal of his position (as a candidate) not to object to a Public Hearing.
The Schember Administration has mistakenly claimed that Public Hearings have been held (lots of meetings, but no Public Meetings with on-the-record statements); that the Viaduct isn’t needed (the folks who use the Viaduct need it); that the Rt. 290 Bayfront Connector highway path is a safe and healthy route for pedestrians (the fumes, particulates and blind spot are unhealthy and dangerous); and that there isn’t money available to repair, insure and maintain the Viaduct (a combination of grants, City demolition funds, and PennDOT Demo-Offset funds are available.) In fact, in a January 26, 2018 email to the Mayor and ErieCPR, PennDOT noted that, "the amount of Demo-Offset funds that could be made available to the City of Erie if they choose to rehabilitate the bridge, retain ownership of it, and agree to maintain it is ... $1,259,345." Thus, PennDOT is willing to cover 93% of the $1.35M needed to retain the Viaduct for non-vehicular use.
Adam Trott has noted that that the Viaduct’s damaged concrete and rebar are repairable defects, and are more like an “unsightly surface rash” that can be restored to full service within the projected budget. His $1.35M proposal to stop the Viaduct’s deterioration includes: repairing the long-neglected and clogged storm drainage system; removing loose concrete and adding a protective seal to the scarred concrete; and filling pot-holes on the deck and joints between the decks. Because of this, ErieCPR continues to call for a demolition delay and an immediate Public Hearing. ###