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Letters to the Editor

Red Bridge is an opportunity to preserve history

What has happened is not new. Joe Otto has worked his butt off spearheading this project and though many are behind him ,political opposition has been encountered. Joe is also director of the Jasper County Historical Museum.

After much thought, I am reminded of the fate of the 1910 Wagon Wheel Bridge by the Kate Shelley High Bridge. Boone County Engineers & other leaders were no fan of this bridge. In 2015, I caught myself thinking then they were actually hoping the river itself would take the bridge down and end any debate.

Leadership put the vote to the people to save the bridge and the bond vote failed. Soon after, an ice jam came crashing down river smashing into one of the piers causing the bridge to lean and then later to crash into the Des Moines River ... I sadly photo-documented much of this timeline ... and this history is now scrap metal.

IMO-County Engineers are not fans of old historical bridges-Especially one’s which have no present road value. Understandably, it is their job to keep our roads safe, but in Jasper County they have systematically demolished every other historic bridge.

I believe the only way to avoid demolition, get the attention of the supervisors and the engineer’s office is to find donated services for the crane removal of the bridge from it’s piers. Secure the trestle on the shore and move ahead to create a park nearby incorporating the trestle, continue exploring moving the trestle to Quarry Springs Park or secure the property and create a City/County Park there like the bridge recently near Winterset.

Budgets are tight we get that.​ Thanks, Joe Otto for all of your time... I hope this project will end in paying this history forward for our children.

Chris “CJ” Johnson

Des Moines

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