Political networking topped the agenda during a Saturday meeting at Salisbury Point, where co-op apartment owners are living in fear -- and rage -- over upcoming construction for a new Tappan Zee Bridge.
About two dozen residents at the 120-unit, South Nyack complex at the foot of the Tappan Zee showed up to host an hourlong visit from Democratic U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey and Jen White, mayor of the neighboring village of Nyack.
"We are collateral damage," said Salisbury resident Judy Hirshhorn of the Tappan Zee project. "The governor wants to put this on his checklist of things that he has accomplished ... he thinks nothing of us."
Lowey, who is up for re-election in November, was visiting for the first time with potential voters who will become her constituents under a redistricting of her congressional turf.
"I'm very concerned about the impact on this beautiful place," she told them.
She told residents she might be able to access $1 million in government funds for mitigation measures -- money left over from a completed project for which she had secured funding.
White said she had come to the meeting as part of her own goal of rallying Rockland County residents around shared bridge issues such as the prospect of increased tolls and hopes for eventual mass transit options.
"This is going to be a very difficult period," White said of the upcoming construction work. "[But] we're trying to encourage economic development."
Salisbury Point residents have hired two engineering consultants in hopes of negotiating a mitigation wish list. While they have had a few meetings with state officials, so far they say they have been ignored.
The coop owners want state bridge project officials to conduct a supplemental noise analysis, a break on tax payments during construction due to their diminished property values and appointment of a state bridge project mediator or ombudsman to filed complaints.
They also have specific construction mitigation requests: replacement of their windows with triple-paned soundproof glass windows, soundproof doors; rodent control; sound drapes on every floor (except the ground floor) of their four, six-story buildings and Plexiglas sound barriers around their swimming pool. They also want the Thruway Authority to tidy up the fenced-in property it owns just south of the Salisbury complex.
"We got from it the best that we could," said Salisbury board president Cathy McCue after the one-hour meeting ended in the lobby of one the co-op's four buildings. "We brought two more politicians up to date to how they can be helpful to us."
Brian Conybeare, special advisor to Gov. Andrew Cuomo for the bridge project, said Cuomo's office has an ongoing dialogue with the residents of Salisbury Point.
"We are working toward extra 'Good Neighbor Policies' and mitigation measures to address specific issues and will continue to work with them as the process and project move forward."