Amish lend aid in bridge restoration
KALONA — The Friends of Bunker Mill Bridge (FBMB), formed in the Kalona community in early September 2013 to halt the demolition and foster the restoration of the historic 126 year old bridge at the English River, took another step closer in reaching its goals.
FBMB Executive Director, Julie Bowers and Managing Director, Suzanne Micheau were on hand at the bridge to welcome a group of volunteers from the Kalona Amish community who gathered Saturday, Nov. 30, to remove all of the burnt planking from the bridge. The bridge was seriously damaged last August as a result of suspected arson.
“The spirit of the Kalona community in coming together for a common cause was truly exemplified today,” Micheau said. According to the group, volunteer labor has been essential in keeping restoration costs down.
In the next few days masons will work to restore damaged portions of the bridge abutments followed by the arrival of heavy equipment and work crews for structural repairs.
Bowers now reports that the restoration costs are estimated at $270,000. Of that amount, the group has made application to the Washington County River Boat Foundation (WCRF) for grant funds in the amount of $154,048 with FBMB providing matching funds of $112,000. WCRF announces it grant awards in December of this year. Local fundraising efforts continue to be successful for the organization.
Donations can be mailed to FBMB, POB 962, Kalona, IA 52247. FBMB is partnered with NSRGA, a 501C3 non-profit organization to oversee restoration of the historic Bunker Mill Bridge. For more information contact FBMB Managing Director, Suzanne Micheau at (319) 936-6339.