Tuesday, September 11, 2018

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Rebuilt bridge in southern Ulster dedicated to Wallkill hamlet leader

WALLKILL – Several dozen residents from the Town of Shawangunk gathered beneath a tent Monday morning, just outside the hamlet of Wallkill, taking shelter from the rain. Ulster County Executive Michael Hein was on hand, to formally dedicate the Bruyn Turnpike Bridge in memory of community leader Stewart Addison Crowell.


County Executive Michael Hein and widow Carolyn Cromwell,
unveiled the sign on the Stewart Crowell Bridge

Hein was joined by County Legislature Chairman Ken Ronk, who represents the district. Lawmakers voted unanimously to name the bridge after Crowell in November 2017. The previously unnamed bridge was rebuilt over the summer of 2017, and re-opened to traffic last December, as part of the “Building A Better Ulster County” infrastructure program.

The scenic Wallkill River span last saw a major overhaul over a century ago, officials said.

Hein noted that it would have been easier to build an entirely new infrastructure, but his administration listened to community feedback, concerning detours, history, and local businesses.

Ronk’s recollection of namesake Stewart Crowell, who passed in 2014, at age 72, brought a tear to Hein’s eye. His widow Carolyn helped unveil the new road sign.

Ronk said Crowell was a role model to him.

“Stewart tried harder than anybody I’ve ever met, to bring community to our hamlet and our town,” Ronk said, calling him an inspiration, friend, and role model. “What more fitting than to honor him, and his lifetime of service, naming the bridge that he drove across every day.”

Crowell, a retired teacher, founded the community garden, and volunteered for various historical and civic organizations. His grandfather was the first person to cross the bridge when it opened generations ago.


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