May 18, 2018 06:46 PM
City and state leaders made a last-second push Friday to secure funding for repairs to the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis.
Gov. Mark Dayton has requested $13 million for the project. The money would go towards replacing 20 percent of the bridge's stone blocks and repointing 100 percent of the mortar, according to the Minnesota Department of Transportation, the agency in charge of the bridge.
"It's a statewide treasure, and we can't afford to shut it down," Minneapolis Park & Recreation Board Commissioner Jono Cowgill said at the press conference, flanked by dozens of Minnesotans who attended to show their support Friday.
"People who come here for University of Minnesota graduations, where do they come for their photo shoots? It's here," added Cordelia Pierson, a vice chair and regional commissioner with the Mississippi River Parkway Commission.
In an interview Monday, MnDOT Planning and Hydraulics Engineer Amber Blanchard said they need at least $1 million to keep the bridge open. The money would go towards regular inspections.
But lawmakers may not play ball.
Funding for the bridge is not included in either the Senate or House's bonding bill proposals. In a statement, a spokesperson for Senate Republicans said the city of Minneapolis should pay for repairs, adding "about 20 percent of the Senate's bonding bill is focused on fixing roads and bridges that are impeding travel and creating unsafe driving conditions. The Stone Arch Bridge is a pedestrian bridge, and falls further down on the priority list."
Meanwhile, a House Republican spokesperson said Friday that Stone Arch Bridge funding is still very much a part of the discussion.
The deadline to decide is Sunday night.
Updated: May 18, 2018 06:46 PM
Created: May 18, 2018 02:43 PM
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