The look of a replacement pedestrian bridge in Arlington Park has become a subject of controversy around the neighborhood, and the city is attempting to work with residents before moving ahead with the project.
Todd Kucharski, general manager of the city’s public works department, appeared at an Arlington Park Neighborhood Association meeting Tuesday after hearing concerns about the design of the bridge. Residents have expressed some dissatisfaction with the proposed aluminum bridge, saying that the aesthetics wouldn’t mesh with the surrounding park and trail.
Kucharski said he understood the calls for a more rustic design, but emphasized the need to install a sustainable and cost-effective bridge considering the city’s budgetary constraints. He suggested that, if the neighborhood was impassioned about the issue, residents could raise money to help pay for a bridge made of a different material.
Arlington Park resident Terry Langlois, a critic of the proposed aluminum bridge, said he was interested in polling the neighborhood to better gauge opinions on the design.
“I'd like, if we have the funding, to put together a survey of the members of Arlington Park to see if they’re willing to do a fundraiser and contribute to something that is much more aesthetically pleasing,” Langlois said. “Aluminum, to me, is repugnant — but that's just me personally.“
The neighborhood association invited Kucharski to return for next month’s meeting to further discuss the design of the bridge. Kucharski said he was interested in moving quickly on the project, which was supposed to be completed in the summer, because of the structural issues affecting the current wooden bridge.
“If we inspect it and there are concerns, we're going to have to close the bridge for safety reasons,” Kucharski said.
Contact David Conway at [email protected].