Despite growing pains, neighbors generally pleased with Big Four - WDRB 41 Louisville News

Despite growing pains, neighbors generally pleased with Big Four Bridge

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JEFFERSONVILLE, Ind. (WDRB) -- It's the first big holiday weekend since the Indiana ramp to the Big Four Bridge opened to the public. So far, the bridge's neighbors have mixed reactions to their community becoming a tourist attraction.

Residents say, overall, the bridge has been good for this neighborhood, but they admit there have been a few growing pains.

It's a mild Memorial Day weekend, and that means a steady stream of foot-traffic crossing the Big Four Bridge.

"I like the bridge a lot. It's good for family. It's good to get people out," said Louisville resident Chris Hiser as he finished crossing the bridge with his daughter on his shoulders.

The newly opened ramp spills onto Pearl St. in Jeffersonville, practically into Jerry Griffith's front yard. But so far, she's taking it in stride.

"We've been trying to enjoy all the different people. You can sit on your porch and watch everybody go by," said Griffith.

Mike Burr and Gilbert Valenzuela grew up here.

Though the ramp has been open less than a week, they agree it has transformed the neighborhood.

"Lot more people been walking around since the bridge was opened. A whole lot more," said Burr.

"I think it's good for the community. I really do. Especially these locally-owned businesses," added Valenzuela.

Businesses such as Pearl Street Treats.

Lynn Rhodea opened her frozen yogurt shop right next to the bridge ramp in April.

"It was a struggle," said Rhodea. The delay in the ramp opening almost put her out of business. "And then all the sudden, it opened. And we have been just swamped ever since," she said.

While neighbors give the new bridge a passing grade, there's one part of the project that still rates only an incomplete. The surrounding park is not finished, and construction barriers are blocking the street.

"It looks horrific," laughed Valenzuela.

"I personally would not have opened that until the park was finished," said Griffith.

Until the new parking lot is open, residents say it's tough to find a spot on the street.

"It Makes it harder for me to get up, go to work and then come back and fight for my parking spot to get back in the house," said Burr.

But despite the inconveniences, neighbors agree the Big 4 has been a big boost.

"Thumbs up. I give it a thumbs up," said Valenzuela.

"It's a real good thing," said Burr.

"I think in the long run, it will be good," concluded Griffith.

Neighbors also say there is one other negative.

Until the park is finished, there are temporary porta-potties, but apparently not enough to keep up with demand, which can sometimes result in obvious, unpleasant side effects.

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