Patricia Chance-Duzant: Restore Grand Case bridge to traditional designPOSTED: 12/3/15 5:37 PM
Attorney Patricia Chance-Duzant (center) holds an enlarged image of the traditional Grand Case bridge design during a demonstration in Grand Case with supporters of the bridge’s restoration. Photo contributed
St. Maarten – The traditional period design of the Grand Case bridge should be restored to its original state so it will resemble the style that fits to this once so traditional and historical village that was mainly focused on fishing, said attorney at law Patricia Chance-Duzant.
The current design of the bridge, completed not too long ago, is “soulless” and not fitting in with the “heritage and culture” of Grand Case, the attorney stated.
Chance-Duzant is particularly referring to the design of the balusters, railings, and barriers of the 1922 construction of the bridge, which lasted until the bridge was severely damaged by a hurricane somewhere in the late 1970s. The signature design of the old bridge had become a Grand Case landmark, which was powerfully and gracefully captured in a mid-1970s engraving by leading painter Roland Richardson.
The subsequent repairs and construction authorized by the government in Marigot, especially those involving the railings and balusters, have been met with several objections from people in Grand Case, said Chance-Duzant. “Although the old bridge lasted for over 60 years, the new modern bridge built after the hurricane damage did not even withstood 30 years,” Chance-Duzant added.
In 2007, following the establishment of the Council for Quartier II, which included Grand Case, a more organized call was issued about how the bridge design should reflect the village’s unique identity. By this time, Grand Case had become popularly known in St. Martin and abroad as the “Restaurant City of the Caribbean” because of the wide array and quality of international restaurants and eateries along both sides of its entire main street.
In 2012, Chance-Duzant wrote to the Collectivité’s president, championing her native village demand that the work on the historical bridge, even while undertaking the objective of preventing flooding in Grand-Case, be conducted in accordance with safety requirements but loyal to the aesthetic, architectural and historical structure, in accordance with the Collectivity’s engagement as well of those of the cultural sections of the Council for Quartier II.
“Meetings and conversations with the government and Semsamar officials and the contractor of the current construction often came down to the cost of the bridge project and those who would be responsible for the design of the balusters.” Chance-Duzant told.
“I am willing to work with others to raise funds toward the restoration of the traditional design of Grand Case Bridge, which is a patrimony of the people of Grand Case and the Collectivity, and of the whole island of St. Martin,” Chance-Duzant added.