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New Timber Creek Park footbridge slated

T-R PHOTO BY MIKE DONAHEY Orange fencing stops Timber Creek Park trail users from entering an area where a bridge was washed out some time ago.

A footbridge at the west end of popular Timber Creek Park was washed away during a flood last year, but Parks and Recreation Director Geoff Hubbard and Public Works Director Justin Nickel are working to get it replaced.

The issues are when and at what cost.

The footings and foundation were washed out in the incident preventing a quick and convenient replacement.

While a challenge, it does give Hubbard and Nickel the opportunity to start anew.

“Shortly after I started as Parks and Recreation director here (late January), I talked to Justin about replacing the bridge,” Hubbard said. “He suggested we have a conversation with the Iowa Department of Natural Resources about replacement because the new bridge would be installed in a flood plain.”

However, the DNR told Hubbard the old bridge was not designed correctly when installed approximately 10 years ago.

“DNR said the new bridge will have to be longer,” Hubbard said. “That (10 years ago) was a few Parks and Recreation directors ago and a few Public Works directors ago.”

Hubbard said it is speculative and unofficial, but he would like to get an estimate for the Timber Creek footbridge in tandem with the city’s ongoing efforts with an engineering firm to get repair cost estimates for seven bridges on the Iowa River Trail. Those bridges will need to be repaired to connect the trail as it moves forward from Radio Tower Road and over the Iowa River as it goes north to Albion and Liscomb.

Whatever the cost to rebuild, Hubbard said some money is in reserves.

“We do have funds set aside for a bridge in next (fiscal) year’s Capital Improvement Program, but I do not know if it is going to be enough to pay for all expenses … we may have to look at other outside sources.”

Fourth ward councilor Al Hoop said the park, in the 600 block of West Southridge, is in his ward and he has been following the issue closely.

“I know the park is popular,” he said. “And the design issue must be resolved before the project can move forward.”

Regardless Hubbard said he and Nickel want to have a plan in place this summer so a bridge can be installed in the summer of 2020.

“We know the trail is heavily used by neighbors and city residents,” Hubbard said. “We want the bridge installed so as to get maximum use of the park.”

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Contact Mike Donahey at 641-753-6611

or mdonahey@timesrepublican.com