The project to rebuild a bridge at Pussy’s Pond in Springs is nearly complete, and a celebration of the years-long effort to replace the previous bridge has been scheduled for Jan. 27 at Ashawagh Hall.
“This thing has been in progress for three, four years,” said Ray Hartjen, president of the East End Classic Boat Society, who, as special projects coordinator of the East Hampton Trails Preservation Society, has been deeply involved in the effort.
That effort also involved the entire Springs School fifth-grade class attending a town board meeting, in 2009, to lobby for a new bridge to replace the one that had been deemed unsafe due to weather damage and vandalism.
Two years ago, after Larry Penny, then the town’s natural resources director, and Zachary Cohen, chairman of the town’s nature preserve committee, submitted an application for permits to the East Hampton Town Trustees, Mr. Hartjen assumed management of the project, which also meant raising money for materials and construction. Tracey Frazier, a Springs School teacher, as well as the Accabonac Protection Committee and the East Hampton Trails Preservation Society, helped to raise the money, the latter establishing a bank account to accept tax-deductible contributions. Ground was broken in October, and the final touches will be applied to complete construction next week.
Mark Mendelman of Seacoast Enterprises Associates in East Hampton drew up plans for the bridge, said Mr. Hartjen. “They were sent to D.E.C. for approval, and also for the trustees’,” he said. “Then, two years ago, Seth Allan of Chesterfield Associates in Westhampton Beach sent me a letter indicating they were willing to put in all the posts for the bridge at no charge, which is a fabulous contribution. We were raising money to buy the lumber for the bridge, and it had to be nontreated; it was going to be $21,000 or $22,000. We decided to use black locust.”
Mr. Hartjen and his associates put in an application with the town board, which, he said, passed three resolutions allowing them to cut Robinia pseudoacacia — black locust trees — between School Street and Springs-Fireplace Road, near the pond; at the Grace Estate Preserve in Northwest Woods, and at the junction of Springs-Fireplace Road and Three Mile Harbor Road.
“Michael Marder volunteered all his equipment and personnel for cutting trees, hauling them to the sawmill, and hauling the lumber back to the Pussy’s Pond Bridge area,” said Mr. Hartjen. “We’re very indebted to Marder’s, as we are to Tom Rosko [a Southampton-based contractor], who has also helped cut and haul logs to the sawmill.”
Thomas Matthews, of Thomas Matthews Woodworking in Southampton, charged a minimal fee to cut the lumber at his sawmill. “This Saturday, he’s going to cut the last of the logs necessary to complete the bridge. We figure he’s milled over 150 logs to do this,” said Mr. Hartjen.
Matthew Bobek, of M Bobek Construction of East Hampton, volunteered his time to construct the bridge, Mr. Hartjen said. “Also, behind the scenes is Zachary Cohen. He has helped move permits to the D.E.C. and the town trustees, and he’s also helped with the fund-raising.”
“We’re very close to the end of the job,” Mr. Hartjen said on Monday. “We have a few more bits and pieces. The Springs Citizens Advisory Committee has signed up Ashawagh Hall for Jan. 27 at noon, and we’ll be having refreshments and inviting kids, parents, residents, and contributors to come and celebrate. Then we’ll all march over to the bridge and Zachary is going to dedicate it to the youth of Springs.”