Just days after a couple complained about the safety of the upper bridge on Williams Avenue, that bridge collapsed.

Just days after a couple complained about the safety of the upper bridge on Williams Avenue, that bridge collapsed.

Ron Ross and his wife, who reside on Williams Avenue, addressed City Council members during the public comment portion of their meeting on Monday night, May 20.

Mr. Ross said he and his wife were concerned about the ability of the city's fire vehicles to have enough room to get over the upper bridge and make the turn there in case of an emergency on the street, and he asked if funding was available for the bridge.

Mayor Justin Taylor responded that the city has been approved for $1.6 million from the state to stabilize the stream bank along Williams Avenue. He said a portion of that money has been allocated for the lower bridge, known as the Spring Street Bridge, but the funding is tied up in Harrisburg as part of the capital budget legislation.

Taylor noted that those funds are dispensed at the discretion of state officials. So he said the $1.6 million for the Williams Ave. project may be issued sometime in 2013, or the city may not see it for years to come.

At the same time, he said the amount of funding awarded only allows the city to include one of the bridges in the project, that being the lower bridge.

"Our main goal is to preserve access one way to Williams Avenue, but there's no way we can do two [bridges]," Taylor explained.

However, he assured Mr. and Mrs. Ross that the city has "a small fire truck for small areas," so he stated: "You're not in any jeopardy."

Councilman Francis Lagana, whose business is located on Williams Avenue, offered assurances of his own, telling the couple that he would continue pressing the issue.

"I'll be on it because I'm over there, too," he related.

In the days that followed, though, Taylor was notified that the upper bridge had suddenly collapsed. He drove to the scene and inspected the damage along with Department of Public Works director Frank Galko last Thursday morning.

"Now we have that to contend with, too," he told the NEWS that same day.

At last week's council meeting, Mr. and Mrs. Ross also informed council that they and their neighbors on Williams Avenue are experiencing a great deal of vandalism of late.

"We have a lot of dirtbags coming from the back of Canaan Street, and they're hitting all of the houses and vehicles from the top of the street all of the way down," Mr. Ross related.

"In the past two weeks, I've complained [to police and city officials] more than I have in my whole life," he added.

"They're not using keys to do the damage, they're not using knives, they're using box-cutters," Mrs. Ross noted. "These kids are not scared."

Mr. Ross said he is looking at buying a $400 video surveillance camera security system for his property.

"I don't want to do it, but I'm afraid I'm going to have to," he offered.