Local residents and preservationists look to save an 87 year old bridge in Monroe County
CLARENDON, Ark. (KATV) —
A Pulaski County Circuit judge has given a group supporting the bridge 90 days to come up with a way to salvage this structure.
Porter Briggs says he sees the potential.
"It's something that we can put there that would have a profound economic effect," Briggs said.
He sees it in the old U.S. Highway 79 Bridge, built back in 1931 in eastern Arkansas.
Currently, it's on the way out because when its replacement was built just south of the structure, it came with the agreement to demolish and remove its predecessor.
Now that the time is here, local government and historic preservationists are fighting back.
"Clarendon has very little going for it," Briggs said.
Briggs is one of the people hoping to save the structure by turning it into a pedestrian and bicycling bridge.
But currently, U.S. Fish and Wildlife wants to get rid of the bridge, in part, because of its location.
The bridge extends from Clarendon to the White and Cache River National Reserves. While some Clarendon residents worry that restoring this bridge will come out of the city's pocket but the mayor says that won't happen.
"Not one penny is coming out of the city fund," Jim Stenson III, mayor of Clarendon, said.
Mayor Jim Stenson says even though there's a contractual agreement to tear it down, he's hoping everyone can come to an agreement to keep this for years to come.
"You know, they've always said build it and they will come, this bridge is here! Let's keep it," Stenson said.
We spoke with the Department of Transportation, who's responsible for demolishing the bridge, and they say they're required by Fish and Wildlife to tear it down.