The marketing of Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo's new $3.1 billion Tappan Zee Bridge reached the next level Wednesday as the builder launched an intensive meet-and-greet campaign of public and private gatherings with area residents.
Armed with revised PowerPoint presentations, a team of experts and a spokeswoman from Tappan Zee Constructors, the State Thruway Authority will begin conducting informational community meetings next week that will showcase the designer-builder.
At 7 p.m. Monday, state officials and the design-builder's representatives will jointly host a session at the Westchester Marriott Tarrytown hotel at 670 White Plains Rd. The following night at 7 p.m., an identical talk is scheduled at Nyack High School at 360 Christian Herald Rd. in Upper Nyack.
The new faces among the bridge project's ever-expanding retinue of press officials will be Carla Julian of Granite Construction, who describes herself in her LinkedIn profile as a senior public relations/business development manager for Granite Construction of Washington, one of the companies in the consortium of companies that won the bid to build the new bridge.
Julian has been a Granite employee since 2008. Her profile states that the University of Alabama graduate speaks Spanish and Arabic and will be "managing all PR/community outreach efforts with the New York State Thruway Authority for 'The New New York Bridge Project.' "
Although the Thruway Authority did not have additional comment on its Wednesday night announcement on the community meetings, Tappan Zee Bridge watchers see Julian as the builder's counterpart to state project spokesman Brian Conybeare. In 2012, Cuomo hired the former News12 anchor as the governor office's community liaison on one of the largest public works infrastructure projects in the country.
Julian's on-the-job training began Wednesday morning in Tarrytown during a private sit-down with three board members at The Quay, the 89-unit waterfront condominium complex that is seeking environmental and financial mitigation over construction issues that will basically put the new bridge in their backyard.
"It was partially a meet-and-greet and partially a discussion of the mitigation issues that we have discussed ad nauseam before," said board president Alice Goldberg. But she said she was "pleased" with the tone of the gathering, which also included Conybeare and two additional representatives from the design-build team.
Goldberg said she used the encounter to schedule a Feb. 20 private presentation of the new bridge's project, which will take place at The Quay for its 145 residents.