The main hurdle to cross at this point for the group is to raise commitment costs for the bridge for five years of operation and rehab costs for planned changes.
After months of deliberation and planning, Green’s Mill Historical Bridge Inc. has received notification from the Missouri Federal Highway Administration that both the Federal Highway Administration and MoDOT agree that preservation is the preferred option for the bridge. The work will now start for the group to build funds and, if this is secured, the bridge will be under their ownership.
The main hurdle to cross at this point for the group is to raise commitment costs for the bridge for five years of operation and rehab costs for planned changes. These costs, $60,000 and $27,000 respectively, would need to be shown as accessible by the group in order for ownership to be completed. Once the financial commitments have been reached, FHWA and MoDOT will transfer the bridge rights alongside the promised amount of $207,000 from refunded demolition costs. These funds would be placed in an escrow or capital account, for the long-term preservation of the bridge.
Project leader Lonetta Bartell says that the group plans to do a number of rehab projects to the bridge, including new paint and making the walkways universally accessible. The group will be doing a yearly membership drive for $20 single and $25 family, alongside a number of other fundraising efforts throughout the year. The group also has a direct donation tab through their social media and website.
Karen Daniels, Lead MoDOT Historian for Road and Bridges, is taking part with the group to help monitor the process. She says that there is a national significance to bridge which is rare throughout Missouri. She says that MoDOT understands the importance of the project and have been following the lifespan of the bridge since construction. She says that, since starting work in preservation, coming across a project like this has been rare.
I will do what I have to do to help them,” Daniels said. “I think this is very important.”
Daniels says she has faith in the plan the group has put together and says the support from the community is there to back it. She thinks they will be able to pull the money together to prove their commitment, but the work ahead will be hard. The group cannot receive any grant funding from the FHWA, but are able to source from land and water conservation or historic preservation grants.
The most important aspect of moving this project forward in Daniels’ mind is spreading the word and showcasing to locals what the bridge brings to the area. Between the sheer beauty of the landmark to the historical significance, this will need to be a selling point to bring more donations in and to get more people on board. Daniels says that all of Missouri should be willing to embrace the project and is working with statewide preservation teams to promote it.
Green’s Mill Historical Bridge Inc. holds monthly meetings at the Camdenton Library on the first Monday of every month. Contact a member of the organization for more information.