Bill S2694-2013

Directs the office of parks, recreation and historic preservation to accept title to the Portageville railroad bridge

Directs the office of parks, recreation and historic preservation to accept title to the Portageville railroad bridge and convert such bridge into a pedestrian bridge.

Details

Actions

  • Jan 8, 2014: REFERRED TO CULTURAL AFFAIRS, TOURISM, PARKS AND RECREATION
  • Jan 23, 2013: REFERRED TO CULTURAL AFFAIRS, TOURISM, PARKS AND RECREATION

Memo

BILL NUMBER:S2694

TITLE OF BILL: An act to amend the parks, recreation and historic preservation law, in relation to directing the office of parks, recreation and historic preservation to accept title to and ownership of the Portageville pedestrian bridge within the Letchworth state park

PURPOSE OR GENERAL IDEA OF BILL: Directs the office of parks, recreation, and historic preservation to accept title to the Portageville railroad bridge.

SUMMARY OF SPECIFIC PROVISIONS:

Section 1 details legislative findings that the Portageville bridge is an historic state and national treasure. It also finds that preservation of the Portageville pedestrian bridge will contribute substantially to the quality of lives of the citizens of New York, as it will provide a natural, ecological, historic, cultural and recreational resource. Additionally, it will serve as an alternative route for emergency vehicles in the event of closure or blockage of the new railroad bridge.

Section 2 adds a new section to the parks, recreation and historic preservation law that establishes the boundaries of the Portageville pedestrian bridge and charges the office to accept ownership of the bridge in the name of New York State when a new freight railroad bridge is completed over the Genesee River within Letchworth state park.

Section 3 provides that the effective date shall be immediately.

JUSTIFICATION: The Portageville bridge is located in Letchworth State Park in Livingston and Wyoming counties. At 133 years old, this bridge plays a significant historical role in New York State and is listed on the National Register of Historic places.

As it can no longer support the current industry standard rail loads, the Norfolk Southern Corporation has been working with state and federal officials to build a new bridge. The best plan for the future of the original Portageville bridge would be to maintain it as a pedestrian bridge, similar to the Walkway Over the Hudson.

Preserving the Portageville bridge through the Office of Parks, Recreation, and Historic Preservation would ensure that this gem of the Northeast is maintained as the cultural and historic landmark that it is. It would also allow the pedestrian bridge to be used as a popular tourist destination, thereby enhancing the economy of not only Western New York, but the entire state.

PRIOR LEGISLATIVE HISTORY: S.7699 of 2012

FISCAL IMPLICATIONS: Undetermined.

EFFECTIVE DATE: This act shall take effect immediately.


Text

STATE OF NEW YORK ________________________________________________________________________ 2694 2013-2014 Regular Sessions IN SENATE January 23, 2013 ___________
Introduced by Sens. GALLIVAN, YOUNG -- read twice and ordered printed, and when printed to be committed to the Committee on Cultural Affairs, Tourism, Parks and Recreation AN ACT to amend the parks, recreation and historic preservation law, in relation to directing the office of parks, recreation and historic preservation to accept title to and ownership of the Portageville pedestrian bridge within the Letchworth state park THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF NEW YORK, REPRESENTED IN SENATE AND ASSEM- BLY, DO ENACT AS FOLLOWS: Section 1. Legislative findings. The legislature hereby finds that the Portageville bridge, within the Letchworth state park, which has been in operation as a freight railroad bridge since it first opened in the year 1875, has played an important role in the cultural and economic develop- ment of the state; the bridge was superbly designed and constructed; the bridge is an historic state and national treasure; that the continued integrity of the superstructure is necessary to protect public safety; that the bridge serves as the only point of unparalleled beauty and scenic view of the Genesee River gorge; and that the bridge should be available to be accessed and enjoyed by the citizens of the state. That preservation of the Portageville pedestrian bridge will contrib- ute substantially to the quality of the lives of each citizen of the state by preserving it as a natural, ecological, historic, cultural and recreational resource within the state park which is an integral compo- nent of the state's environment. That the deck of the bridge should serve as a recreational asset to the people of the state and provide a connection to existing and future Letchworth state park trails; that the preservation of the bridge will provide an alternative route for emergency vehicles in the event of closure or blockage of the new railroad bridge; that the preservation of the bridge will contribute to tourism and economic development within the region; and that the preservation of the bridge to be known as the
"Portageville pedestrian bridge" should be established for the use and enjoyment of future New York citizens. Therefore, the legislature declares the acquisition and preservation of the Portageville bridge by the state, which will be known as the "Portageville pedestrian bridge" to be a public purpose. S 2. The parks, recreation and historic preservation law is amended by adding a new section 19.31 to read as follows: S 19.31 ACQUISITION OF PORTAGEVILLE PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE. 1. FOR THE PURPOSES OF THIS SECTION, "PORTAGEVILLE PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE" MEANS THE PORTAGEVILLE RAILROAD BRIDGE ACROSS THE GENESEE RIVER AT MILEPOST 361.66 OF THE SOUTHERN TIER ROUTE OF NORFOLK SOUTHERN'S MAINLINE ROUTE BETWEEN BUFFALO AND BINGHAMTON, AND WITHIN LETCHWORTH STATE PARK IN THE COUNTIES OF LIVINGSTON AND WYOMING. 2. THE OFFICE SHALL ACCEPT OWNERSHIP OF THE PORTAGEVILLE PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE IN THE NAME OF THE STATE AT SUCH TIME AS A NEW FREIGHT RAILROAD BRIDGE IS CONSTRUCTED AND COMPLETED OVER THE GENESEE RIVER WITHIN LETCH- WORTH STATE PARK. UPON ACCEPTING OWNERSHIP OF THE PORTAGEVILLE PEDESTRI- AN BRIDGE, THE OFFICE SHALL ALSO ACQUIRE SUCH INCIDENTAL ROADS, APPROACHES, STRUCTURES AND FACILITIES AS MAY BE NECESSARY FOR THE CONSTRUCTION, OPERATION, MAINTENANCE, REPLACEMENT AND MANAGEMENT OF THE DECK AND APPROACHES AND STRUCTURES OF THE PORTAGEVILLE PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE THAT PROVIDE PUBLIC ACCESS FROM SUCH STATE PARK, AND SHALL BE RESPONSI- BLE FOR MAINTAINING THE SUPERSTRUCTURE OF THE PORTAGEVILLE PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE. 3. THE OFFICE IS AUTHORIZED TO INSTALL AND MAINTAIN PERSONAL PROPERTY AND EQUIPMENT USED IN CONNECTION WITH THE PORTAGEVILLE PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE. 4. THE OFFICE SHALL INCLUDE IN ITS ANNUAL BUDGET REQUEST AN AMOUNT FOR ALL COSTS AND OBLIGATIONS OF MAINTAINING THE PORTAGEVILLE PEDESTRIAN BRIDGE FOR PUBLIC ACCESS. S 3. This act shall take effect immediately.

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