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Fate of Fox Point footbridge could be decided Tuesday

Friends group wants more time to raise money

Locals cross the decades-old span that connects Bridge Lane and Barnett Lane in this 2010 photo. The footbridge has since been deemed unsafe and has been the subject of a years-long debate.

Locals cross the decades-old span that connects Bridge Lane and Barnett Lane in this 2010 photo. The footbridge has since been deemed unsafe and has been the subject of a years-long debate. Photo By Michael Sears

Feb. 8, 2013

Fox Point - Though Footbridge Friends President Barbara Schwartz won't yet reveal how much money the group has raised for the replacement of the Bridge Lane Ravine footbridge, she has acknowledged the group needs more time to meets its $625,000 goal.

"We're very pleased to give our update to the board. We think we're off to a good start, and look forward to continuing as the year progresses," Schwartz said. "I see this going on for a few months."

Get a bird's-eye view of the controversial footbridge (center-right) and the surrounding area with this interactive map:

View Larger Map

 

But the public won't need to wait long to learn the specifics, as the local nonprofit is set to update the Village Board on its success Tuesday, before trustees consider whether to end the effort or grant the request for more time.

In April, the board decided that, if the bridge is to be replaced, at least $625,000 of the estimated $1.25 million cost needs to be funded through private donations. The village lent Footbridge Friends $30,000 in August to get the fundraising effort off the ground, with a requirement that Footbridge Friends reimburse the village. The resolution passed that night states the board reserved the right to reconsider the bridge reconstruction if fundraisers failed to meet their goal by Jan. 31.

Larry Booth, long-time opponent of the footbridge project, takes issue with the fact that the Footbridge Friends group hasn't yet announced the results of its campaign.

"Because they took public money and because there was a deadline, they do not have the option of refusing to immediately disclose the results of their campaign," Booth wrote in an email to NOW. "The public has a right to know immediately; otherwise, how do we verify the goal was met by the deadline?"

Village President Michael West said the agreements between Fox Point and Footbridge Friends do not constitute a fundraising deadline, but only created the loan itself and the requirement that the group pay the village back.

"We didn't make any decisions beyond that," West said. "What happens next is going to be up to the trustees."

He added that the trustees have options. They could choose to give Footbridge Friends more time to raise money or "stand pat" and put an end to the fundraising, thereby extinguishing the possibility of a bridge reconstruction.

In either case, he said, trustees will look for feedback.

"Our decision is going to be affected by citizen input," he said.

IF YOU GO

WHAT: update on footbridge fundraising; Village Board discussion about reconstruction

WHERE: Fox Point Village Hall, 7200 N. Santa Monica Blvd.

WHEN: 7 p.m. Tuesday

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