editorial

A bend in the road

By LAURIE STUART
Posted 4/28/21

As soon you cross the bridge between Skinners Falls and Milanville, you come to a bend in the road. On your right is a historic barn and, on your left, is a stone wall with steps and a walkway that …

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editorial

A bend in the road

Posted

As soon you cross the bridge between Skinners Falls and Milanville, you come to a bend in the road. On your right is a historic barn and, on your left, is a stone wall with steps and a walkway that leads to the iconic Milton Skinner House. In my mind’s eye, I can imagine Skinner himself sitting on his porch after having his supper, watching the wagons and carriages cross his historic structure, which was built in 1901-1902. Skinner appreciated the special nature of the bridge so much so that, when the family sold the bridge to Pennsylvania, they presciently inserted into the deed a clause that states that the existing bridge should stand as it is and be maintained through the years. According to the current owner of the Milton Skinner House, Steven Ircha, there is a right of reversion in the hand-written deed that states that if the existing bridge is no longer used, the property surrounding the bridge would revert back to the owners of the property.

Skinner understood the beauty of his bridge, which is technically unique with its decorative detail and pin-connected Baltimore-truss structure.

Its beauty and significance remain.

The Milanville Bridge is a one-of-a-kind historic structure that was added to the National Registry of Historic Places in 1988. The bridge connects Skinners Falls, where thousands of residents and visitors recreate on a weekly basis, to Milanville, PA, which was named a Historic District in 1993 with 14 historically significant structures including the bridge. It is listed on the 1992 Multiple Property National Register as a historic and architectural resource of the Upper Delaware River Valley. 

The bridge was slated to be rehabilitated by the Pennsylvania Department of Transportation (PennDOT) in 2014 and restored to a 10-ton limit. It was determined then that bringing the bridge up to a 10-ton capacity would allow cars, ambulances, delivery trucks and small fire apparatus to cross, while preserving the rural and historic character of the area.

This plan needs to be followed through on.

Throughout the 1980s, the area wrestled with figuring out how, with the river’s inclusion in the Wild and Scenic River System in 1978 and its designation as the Upper Delaware National and Scenic River, to protect private property rights while preserving the natural and historic significance of this area. During that time, the National Park Service began a presence on the river, a river management plan was created and, through a fair amount of strife, a balance of private property rights and public good was forged through the formation and foundational documents of the Upper Delaware Council. That council, made up of thirteen town and township representatives, as well as a representative from Pennsylvania and New York, unanimously agreed, with one absention,  that the Skinners Falls/Milanville Bridge ought to be preserved and restored to its natural and historic beauty. They codified their agreement with an eight-point position paper outlining their reasoning that they submitted to PennDOT as part of the 30-day public comment process.

PennDOT needs to decide that this directive, to preserve and protect the assets of this river valley, forged as a community of communities and upheld for 40 years, should be implemented and the bridge be fully rehabilitated.

It has the power to do it, it is being encouraged to do it and to not do so destroys the intent of the River Management Plan, the National Registry of Historic Places and the many years of collaboration. Surrounded by small narrow roads with 10-ton weight limits on both sides of the bridge, it is not feasible or necessary to build a 40-ton bridge. Those crossings are available at Narrowsburg and at Cochecton/Damascus.

PennDOT needs to dust off its 2014 plan to completely rehabilitate the Skinner’s Falls/Milanville Bridge.

It needs to preserve the bend in the road that is at the threshold of this historically significant bridge. The bridge tells the story of a vibrant past and leads to a meaningful future of preservation of this historically signicant area.

The Skinners Falls/Milanville Bridge must be preserved.

Read about the UDC's and the Upper Delaware Scenic Byway, Inc. endorsement of the rehabilitation of Skinners Falls Bridge. 

Comments

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Steven Ircha

You are spot on!!!!!

In addition, some of the biggest beneficiaries of this quaint area aside from current residents are campers near the Skinners Falls Bridge.

A bigger bridge or extra tonnage bridge would bring more traffic and larger vehicles to the area. This would directly add more harmful emissions and pollution to the atmosphere and be unhealthy for the campers trying to get away from the congested cities at an affordable price. Many of the campers of recent years have been recent immigrants into the country. I guess the powers that be are not that caring about the need for these immigrants to get some clean fresh air up in the country. You bet your bottom dollar that if this bridge were located near a private golf club or country club, this conversation would end. The bridge would be rehabilitated to its former historic glory. Systemic racism is a reality when it comes to these issues.

Saturday, May 1
Steven Ircha

Save our Children and Stop Being Elitist!!!

The Skinners Falls bridge should remain a low weight low-density use bridge. From Memorial Day to Labor Day of each year,

tens of thousands of campers camp on the New York upstream side of the Skinners Falls bridge. These campers are families that bring

with them an army of children. These children wander around the campground, buy ice cream in the store, walk across the bridge to the Milanville General Store for snacks and then walk across the road going to the Skinners Falls Bridge to get to the other side of the bridge to swim on the downstream side of the bridge by the big rock or further down by the rapids. Do we really need more traffic and larger trucks to potentially run one of our children over? Of course not.

Anyone who advocates for a higher weight limit bridge bringing in more and heavier and more dangerous vehicles is simply not familiar with all the children who will be at risk crossing the road and walking across the bridge. Some people say we need a higher capacity bridge for emergency vehicles. I think this is nonsense. Pa emergencies are generally handled by emergency service workers on the Pa. side. New York emergencies are generally handled by emergency service workers on the NY side. In the 55 years, I've been in this area, I don't recall ever seeing emergency service vehicles crossing the bridge. However, if you make a higher weight limit higher density use bridge, I can guarantee that there will be injuries and fatalities caused by the new traffic coming in and striking our young children campers. This is not conscionable. It is also elitist. The powers that be would not be suggesting a higher weight limit, high use bridge if this bridge was located near a fancy private golf club or country club. This is simply elitist and a display of privilege. After all, most of the campers are from the newest set of immigrants coming into the country. They can't afford private country clubs or private golf clubs. Let us make a safe place for these immigrant families too. We need to be a little more woke on this issue.

Monday, May 3
Steven Ircha

Save our Children and Stop Being Elitist!!!

The Skinners Falls bridge should remain a low weight low-density use bridge. From Memorial Day to Labor Day of each year,

tens of thousands of campers camp on the New York upstream side of the Skinners Falls bridge. These campers are families that bring

with them an army of children. These children wander around the campground, buy ice cream in the store, walk across the bridge to the Milanville General Store for snacks and then walk across the road going to the Skinners Falls Bridge to get to the other side of the bridge to swim on the downstream side of the bridge by the big rock or further down by the rapids. Do we really need more traffic and larger trucks to potentially run one of our children over? Of course not.

Anyone who advocates for a higher weight limit bridge bringing in more and heavier and more dangerous vehicles is simply not familiar with all the children who will be at risk crossing the road and walking across the bridge. Some people say we need a higher capacity bridge for emergency vehicles. I think this is nonsense. Pa emergencies are generally handled by emergency service workers on the Pa. side. New York emergencies are generally handled by emergency service workers on the NY side. In the 55 years, I've been in this area, I don't recall ever seeing emergency service vehicles crossing the bridge. However, if you make a higher weight limit higher density use bridge, I can guarantee that there will be injuries and fatalities caused by the new traffic coming in and striking our young children campers. This is not conscionable. It is also elitist. The powers that be would not be suggesting a higher weight limit, high use bridge if this bridge was located near a fancy private golf club or country club. This is simply elitist and a display of privilege. After all, most of the campers are from the newest set of immigrants coming into the country. They can't afford private country clubs or private golf clubs. Let us make a safe place for these immigrant families too. We need to be a little more woke on this issue.

Monday, May 3
Steven Ircha

Save our Children and Stop Being Elitist!!!

The Skinners Falls bridge should remain a low weight low-density use bridge. From Memorial Day to Labor Day of each year,

tens of thousands of campers camp on the New York upstream side of the Skinners Falls bridge. These campers are families that bring

with them an army of children. These children wander around the campground, buy ice cream in the store, walk across the bridge to the Milanville General Store for snacks and then walk across the road going to the Skinners Falls Bridge to get to the other side of the bridge to swim on the downstream side of the bridge by the big rock or further down by the rapids. Do we really need more traffic and larger trucks to potentially run one of our children over? Of course not.

Anyone who advocates for a higher weight limit bridge bringing in more and heavier and more dangerous vehicles is simply not familiar with all the children who will be at risk crossing the road and walking across the bridge. Some people say we need a higher capacity bridge for emergency vehicles. I think this is nonsense. Pa emergencies are generally handled by emergency service workers on the Pa. side. New York emergencies are generally handled by emergency service workers on the NY side. In the 55 years, I've been in this area, I don't recall ever seeing emergency service vehicles crossing the bridge. However, if you make a higher weight limit higher density use bridge, I can guarantee that there will be injuries and fatalities caused by the new traffic coming in and striking our young children campers. This is not conscionable. It is also elitist. The powers that be would not be suggesting a higher weight limit, high use bridge if this bridge was located near a fancy private golf club or country club. This is simply elitist and a display of privilege. After all, most of the campers are from the newest set of immigrants coming into the country. They can't afford private country clubs or private golf clubs. Let us make a safe place for these immigrant families too. We need to be a little more woke on this issue.

Monday, May 3
Steven Ircha

Save our Children and Stop Being Elitist!!!

The Skinners Falls bridge should remain a low weight low-density use bridge. From Memorial Day to Labor Day of each year,

tens of thousands of campers camp on the New York upstream side of the Skinners Falls bridge. These campers are families that bring

with them an army of children. These children wander around the campground, buy ice cream in the store, walk across the bridge to the Milanville General Store for snacks and then walk across the road going to the Skinners Falls Bridge to get to the other side of the bridge to swim on the downstream side of the bridge by the big rock or further down by the rapids. Do we really need more traffic and larger trucks to potentially run one of our children over? Of course not.

Anyone who advocates for a higher weight limit bridge bringing in more and heavier and more dangerous vehicles is simply not familiar with all the children who will be at risk crossing the road and walking across the bridge. Some people say we need a higher capacity bridge for emergency vehicles. I think this is nonsense. Pa emergencies are generally handled by emergency service workers on the Pa. side. New York emergencies are generally handled by emergency service workers on the NY side. In the 55 years, I've been in this area, I don't recall ever seeing emergency service vehicles crossing the bridge. However, if you make a higher weight limit higher density use bridge, I can guarantee that there will be injuries and fatalities caused by the new traffic coming in and striking our young children campers. This is not conscionable. It is also elitist. The powers that be would not be suggesting a higher weight limit, high use bridge if this bridge was located near a fancy private golf club or country club. This is simply elitist and a display of privilege. After all, most of the campers are from the newest set of immigrants coming into the country. They can't afford private country clubs or private golf clubs. Let us make a safe place for these immigrant families too. We need to be a little more woke on this issue.

Monday, May 3