Rallying To Save Wanakena's Historic Footbridge

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At the Wanakena General Store, owner Rick Kovacs says it's still painful for the community to see the twisted 112 year old historic footbridge resting on leftover pieces of an ice jam that threatened its existence.

The 171-foot long suspension footbridge was extensively damaged last week when an ice jam let loose on the Oswegatchie River.

Since then, the Wanakena Historical Association has stepped forward to launch a fundraising campaign to defray the cost of either repairing, rebuilding or replacing the span.

"Not only are we going to raise the funds to rebuild the bridge, but I think enough money will be raised to keep the bridge in good repair," said Kovacs.

Kovacs said the association has heard from people not just in the north country, but also from around the world.

An engineer from the Syracuse architectural firm Crawford & Stearns is expected to visit the twisted footbridge on Friday to look at the extent of damage and begin assessing what to do next.

"We're looking at bracing it to see what we can do to make it safe temporarily. Then it's going to be trying to figure out whether we get it removed or we reuse some of it, but at this point we really think it's going to be rebuilding the entire structure," said Mark Hall, town supervisor.

One thing is clear, though, the community icon won't be available to use for at least a year, if not longer.
 

Friday, August 1, 2014
, Watertown, NY

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