Leaders mull reconstruction of Pleasure Beach Bridge

A news conference took place Thursday at the foot of the Pleasure Beach Bridge to address the possibility of rebuilding the structure, which would provide

BRIDGEPORT - A news conference took place Thursday at the foot of the Pleasure Beach Bridge to address the possibility of rebuilding the structure, which would provide direct access to Long Beach West in Stratford.

The bridge was severely damaged by a fire in 1996 and has remained unused since then. Recently, Bridgeport acquired a $150,000 grant to look into revitalizing Pleasure Beach and rebuilding the span.

News 12 Connecticut has reported that Stratford is holding a referendum on whether to sell Long Beach West to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service for $10 million in November.

But according to Stratford Town Councilman Alvin O'Neal, the value of Long Beach West would increase significantly if the bridge is rebuilt.

?I don't know, I'm not an appraiser, but I believe it would be worth more than $10 million,? O?Neal says. ?If it is, why shouldn't the people of Stratford know that??

O?Neal was looking for answers from Bridgeport officials Thursday, including state Rep. Don Clemmons.

?There's been talk of possibly a pedestrian bridge that would access the island from the landlocked east end here that would be big enough to have emergency vehicles if necessary,? Clemmons says.

Clemmons' revitalization committee will meet for the first time on Oct. 1, but he says they will not have time to develop a recommendation before the Stratford referendum in November.

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