ErieCPR member Janice Cole announced today that a VIADUCT Family Fundraiser will be held on Saturday, June 30th from 11am to 1pm. The public is invited to the St. Nicholas Church Parking Lot at East 12th and East Ave. Everyone is invited to enjoy light refreshments, live music, make chalk drawings, blow bubbles, and play checkers. Pastor Luchetta Manus will read poems explaining “why the bridge should stay.” Musician Saint Stephen will liven the mood with adapted civil rights songs such as, “This Bridge is your bridge.” A printed, self-guided #ErieViaduct tour and orange wristband will be available for a donation. Funds collected will be deposited with the non-profit Erie Winds of Change (the 501c3 that is serving as fiscal agent for ErieCPR) to help cover the costs of gaining a Public Hearing and saving the Viaduct.
ErieCPR member John Henderson wants to keep the Viaduct for all kids “until they figure out safety on the highway” and commented, “the Viaduct Bridge needs to stay because it connects the minority community and the poor to the rest of the city.” ErieCPR member Cynthia Muhammad, founder of the Erie Metropolitan Black Pages, will discuss the deliberate disinvestment of the Eastside through the process of redlining. Muhammad says, “the City didn’t maintain the bridge” and asked “why is that? Is it because it’s on the Eastside?” In addition to the Erie Chapter of the NAACP, the African-American Concerned Clergy of Erie have joined ErieCPR’s call for a demolition delay and Public Hearing.
Early this year a New York Times reporter visited Erie and spoke with ErieCPR members as well as with Mayor Schember, his staff and with one of the Mayor’s key Transition Team Advisors. The New York Times quoted Mayor Schember’s Advisor’s support for demolition of the Viaduct and his comment that the Eastside was filled with “failing neighborhoods” with no one he would want to live next to. This Advisor’s views apparently guided the Mayor’s reversal of his previous statement that he would not to object to a Public Hearing.
Despite claims that the Viaduct is “beyond repair,” bridges in worse condition are regularly repaired. ErieCPR President, Architect Adam Trott has noted that that the Viaduct’s damaged concrete and rebar aren't significant structural issues, but are similar to an “unsightly surface rash.” Trott’s $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; filling pot-holes on the deck and replacing joints between the decks. Refer to the website for more information: www.ErieViaduct.com
Contrary to misinformation from City Hall, there has never been a Public Hearing, the money is available to repair the bridge and the maintenance cost would be obtained by a non-profit organization under a P3 agreement with the City similar to the one currently used for Frontier Park (L.E.A.F.) # # #