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CLICK & GO! (On this page.) Debate continues over status of Old Covered Bridge in Jay. Covered bridge divides Jay. Bridge issue touches nerve. Feeling Unwelcome in Jay. Thank God for 'outsiders.' Photo Captions for this page. Source information, Page Credits. Newspapers June 1998 More pages in An Adirondack Miscellany: Newspaper reports, Magazine articles and Book notices. More About Jay & The Covered Bridge.
Ask someone [[outsider]] if they know where Jay, N.Y. is.
If they've heard of the small Adirondack Community, they'll probably say, "Oh, yeah, that's the place with the covered bridge."
That covered bridge, built nearly 150 years ago, has been the center of contoversy for the past few years and has split community members into two opposing sides [[natives and outsiders]] .
. . . Some are interested in building a modern bridge just upstream [[natives]] while others believe a new bridge in that location would destroy the historic and aesthetic value that makes the area so attractive [[outsiders]].
The issue came to a head this past week when the Town Board [[natives]] agreed to support a state plan to build the new structure 600 feet upstream.
On Saturday afternoon, a dozen people strolled along the rocks above the covered bridge or cooled off in the rapid current or placid pools of the AuSable River.
"I think the covered bridge stands for Jay, said Richard Woods, a summer resident [[outsider]]. "It's a well-known spot; a lot of visitors [[outsiders]] stop here to take pictures or just admire the view."
Covered bridge divides Jay.
February 2, 1996 Plattsburgh Republican
A new bridge located upstream from the Jay covered brodge would aesthetically harm the area, said a majority of residents who responded to a recent town-wide survey.
Bridge and Beyond [[outsiders]], the citizens group that has opposed a new structure crossing the AuSable River 600 feet upstream from the historic bridge, mailed surveys to about 1,700 Jay residents.
More than 400 were returned and and 72 percent of those [[outsiders]] agreed . . . that the new bridge would "violate the preservation of this scenic area."
"We're opposed to the Department of Transportation's plan to build a new bridge. We believe renovating the old bridge would be feasible, would solve transportaion problems and would save the bridge."
"This bridge is a significant example of 19th century American engineering and it is an invaluable piece of our heritage," said Steve Engelhardt [[outsider]] of the Adirondack Architectural Heritage.
Engelhardt said the bridge could last at least another 100 years with continued maintenance.
He also said that renovations to the bridge will make it safer but will protect its historical integrity.
. . . People who want to see a new bridge [[natives]] claim the old structure is a hazard both to traffic and during emergency situations.
"We can't get fire equipment over here in a timely manner," said Dale Nolan, a fire fighter from the Upper Jay Fire Department [[natives]].
"The new bridge is going to take five years to construct, said Tami Cohan [[outsider]], who lives with her family just past the bridge on the eastern side of the AuSable. "With renovations we can have the Covered Bridge ready in a year."
"We had a fireman [[native]] come to the house and assess our fire situation, and he told us we better get an extension ladder to save our children because they wouldn't be able to get to our house on time."
Bridge issue touches nerve.
February 2, 1996 Plattsburgh Republican
In support of the Covered Bridge [[outsiders]].
"The covered bridge should be preserved at all costs. It is History!!! If another bridge must be built to support the traffic heavier than normal . . . put it far enough from the covered bridge as not to destroy the scenic beauty of the bridge or the swimming area."
"What's wrong with the new bridge being built 600 to 800 feet downstream from the Covered Bridge?"
"We thoroughly enjoy relaxing at the Covered Bridge. Please respect the history that has been preserved and enjoyed by so many."
In support of building a new bridge [[natives]].
"We [[natives]] do not believe that a new bridge upstream would destroy the scenic view of the swimming area. A new bridge is necessary for the welfare of the people living and working on the other side of the river."
"I'm sick of this beating around the bush. I want a new two-lane bridge."
"I feel that your group, made up mostly of non-native [[outsiders]], should not be telling the rest of the town [[natives]] what is best for us. You do not realize that in order for this town to grow and prosper, changes must be made and accepted."
Feeling Unwelcome in Jay.
May 24, 1996 Lake Placid News
I [[outsider]] went to the Jay town board meeting of May 9 like a lot of citizens to see if the town board beyond John Sheldrake [[native]] felt that burning crosses was not acceptable talk at board meetings or in Jay at all.
I was shocked to hear of the cross burning incident and felt people [[outsiders]] had to come forward and denounce such language and ideas in the town of Jay. [[When Tami Cohan [[outsider]] at the previous Board Meeting raised the issue of getting the condemned Covered Bridge repaired as soon as possible, it was suggested by a couple of the natives at the open meeting that perhaps it was time to get back to burning crosses like they used to do years ago. Neither the Town Supervisor [[native]], nor any of the Board Members [[natives]]or the public in attendance made any objection to the slur.]]
Many people showed up and I thought many people there felt as I did, disgusted at such talk of cross burning.
Little did I know that half the audience [[natives]]was there to launch an attack on the members of Bridge and Beyond and us "outsiders."
In December of 1994 at the D.O.T. town informational meeting we were called "outsiders" by a leading businessman of Jay and in May of 1996 we were called "outsiders" again and not one local [native} voice perked up to denounce such talk, before I walked out.
Should I wear an "O" on my clothing and perhaps paint across my windows "OUTSIDER?"
All at once at the meeting I got hit by the realization that I was not welcomed, not because of my opinions, but because I was an outsider. Terrence Young, Crafsman/Artist
Young's Studio & Gallery, Route 86, Jay, N.Y. 12941.
Thank God for 'outsiders.'
May 24, 1996 Lake Placid News
. . . I [[native]] ask the readers of this paper . . . not to judge the people of the "town" of Jay by the alleged remarks of a fewand I ask the few, if in fact they did make these alleged remarks and any others that have been surfacing during these meetings, that they stop and think how this makes our "town" look to the outside world [[outsiders]].
. . . The alleged remark at the meeting to the town resident - Terry Young [[outsider]]- referring to him as an outsider cannot go unanswered.
Where did this line of thinking "outsider" come from? Any one who knows this town or any other town knows that its prosperity and that of all its citizens depends on the influx of new people and new ideas.
I [[native]] will start by qualifying myself as an "outsider." . . . My family didn't get here till 1851, by then the town was 54 years old, the Baptist Church as we know it today was 21 years old and the Covered Bridge had not been built.
[[And people of Irish ancestry, who today make up the majority of the population [[natives]], had not yet arrived from Ireland [[outsiders]].]]
For the past 33 years I have sold real estate to some fine people [[outsiders]]. . . . They are our friends and neighbors. In short, they are 'us.'
Anyone who doesn't understand this should just look around. Max [[outsider]] built a motel and restaurant. Doc [[outsider]] built a ski center, John [[outsider]] developed AuSable Acres (at least 40% of our tax base comes from there), Meredith [[outsider]] opened his power equipment business and Bob [[outsider]] started his car agency. Terry and Sue [[outsiders]] started their craft shop, Berry [[outsider]] established "Adirondack Life." The list is endless!
As an "old outsider," [[native]] I want to apologize to Terry Yound [[outsider]] and his family [[outsiders]] and all that were offended [[outsiders]] by these alleged remarks. In the meantime, stop this insanity about "insiders" [[natives]] and "outsiders." . . . Thank God for "outsiders."
Ben Straight, Real Estate Broker.
Ben Straight Real Estate, Valley Road, Jay, N.Y. 518/946-2600.
Photos (see captions) and Text on This Page (except for text enclosed in [[double brackets]] ] are Reproduced With the Kind Permission of the
Lake Placid News, P.O. Box 111, Lake Placid, NY 12946.
Press Republican P.O. Box 459, Plattsburgh, NY 12901, 800/288-7313.
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