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Grants fall through- New sources need to be sought to restore Lincoln Highway Bridge

August 21, 2017
By John Speer - Editor ( , Toledo Chronicle, Tama News-Herald

"It will be a shame to have a new, wide street and be unable to use it," Tama resident Anne Michael told the Tama City Council at a past meeting. Michael was referring to the $1.9 million East 5th Street reconstruction project currently underway.

She retold that statement to The News-Herald on Tuesday and said total renovation of the bridge must occur.

On the National Register of Historic Places, the 1915 bridge is part of the 5th Street truck route but funding sources for restoration have fallen through. It has been learned the city will not be a recipient of a $50,000 matching grant Iowa Historic Places nor a $20,000 John Ruan roadway grant.

Article Photos

Abraham Lincoln, portrayed by Lance V. Mack, Marion, on the Lincoln Highway Bridge in Tama on May 16, 2015, with Tama Legionaries Lloyd Chyma and Dan Anderson and their wives, are shown in this News-Herald file photo following a flag dedication ceremony in the adjacent park.

This leaves a Mansfield Foundation grant totaling $25,000, a Tama County foundation grant of $2,000 and a $3,000 Lincoln Highway Association grant to pay for an estimated $92,000 in work according to City Clerk Judy Welch.

Tama Mayor Mike Carnahan told The News-Herald on Tuesday, "We are actively searching for more grants and alternative funding to do it right."

Inspections of the bridge by a Des Moines engineering firm specializing in bridges and the Iowa Department of Transportation over the past few years have revealed structural and surface problems.

Michael, who recently stepped down as the chair of the Tama County Historic Preservation Commission, spearheaded a petition drive last year calling for maintaining the bridge. Papers bearing more than 400 signatures were presented to the city council supporting the effort.

The reconstruction of East 5th Street as the gateway to Tama from the U.S., 30 Expressway and Business Highway 30 and U.S. Highway 63 is expected to be completed this year city officials have indicated.



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