JAY Theres plenty to celebrate in the town of Jay as three dedication ceremonies will mark the end of two decades of controversy.
On Sunday, Oct. 14, the town of Jay will host ribbon-cutting dedications of the Essex County Emergency Services Volunteer Memorial Bridge, the Cov- ered Bridge, and Douglas Memorial Park. The event is sponsored by Barton & Loguidice, the engineers and architects of the project.
It took over two decades to complete the $4.3 million project to replace the old covered bridge, a project that sparked controversy within the community about where the new bridge should be located.
We hear no complaints about the end results. People may differ with their opinions of where the new bridge should have gone, but at this point I think the community has come together, said Jay Supervisor Randall Douglas.
The current town of Jay board and Jay DPW Director Chris Garrow will perform the ribbon cutting for the new covered bridge, marking its opening to pedestrians and cyclists. The original covered bridge, built in 1857, was the oldest covered bridge in New York State.
Au Sable Forks Fire Chief Chris Thwaits, Jay Fire Chief Glenn Williams, Upper Jay Fire Chief John Devlin, Au Sable Forks Volunteer Ambulance Chief Lee Torrance and Essex County Emergency Services Director Raymond Thatcher will cut the ribbon dedicating the Essex County Emergency Services Volunteer Memorial Bridge. The bridge was named in honor of all volunteer emergency service personnel who have served and continue to serve the town of Jay and Essex County. Representatives from every Essex County volunteer fire and ambulance corps have been invited.
Douglas Memorial Park will be dedicated with a ribbon cutting by family members of Arthur J. Douglas and Thomas A. Douglas, commemorating the service of these two past supervisors. The decision to recognize them was made in 2002, before third-generation supervisor Randall Douglas was elected to office.
My dad and my grandfather gave their lives to this community. Its truly an honor that the town board made the decision before the park was built. All members of the Douglas family are very grateful for the decision, said Randall Douglas.
Speeches will be given by elected officials from New York State, Essex County and the town of Jay. Student choruses from Au Sable Forks Elementary School, directed by Aisha Carter, will perform This is America by Teresa Jennings. The national anthem will be sung by Susan Richards, and God Bless America will be sung by Paul Johnson.
Refreshments will be served following the ribbon-cutting ceremony and Champlain Valley Specialty will donate apples.
Parking for the ceremonies will be available at the Jay Firehouse and the Ward Lumber Co. Shuttle service will be provided by the Essex County CHAMP system.
Events have been coordinated by a planning committee, which was comprised of the Jay town board, and volunteers Susan Richards, Carol Hackel, Sharron Hewston, Mitch Dickerson, John Sheldrake, Linda Preston, Mark Peduzzi, Dean Lincoln, Kevin Douglas, Sarah Hall and Fred Balzac.
They were on both sides of the the original issues, and worked well with the planning process, said Douglas. We wanted to do something that brought everyone together to celebrate the bridges.